"I am concerned by the decision of the governments of Burundi and Rwanda to label asylum seekers in both countries as 'illegal immigrants' without due process to determine their status as required under international law. I am also worried by the decision to return several thousand Rwandan asylum seekers this past weekend to their country of origin, and to restrict the access of United Nations officials, in particular the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to these individuals.
"Canada attaches the highest importance to the effective application of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, to which both Burundi and Rwanda are parties. We strongly encourage both governments to fulfill their international obligations, including ensuring that no asylum seeker is forcibly returned.
"Canada encourages the governments of Burundi and Rwanda to maintain an open dialogue with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and to facilitate the access of United Nations personnel to asylum seekers and returnees."
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