Rwanda + 1 more

Statement by Minister Pettigrew on the treatment of asylum seekers in Burundi and Rwanda

Source
Posted
Originally published
Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew today expressed concern regarding the treatment of asylum seekers in both Burundi and Rwanda, following the return from Burundi of several thousand Rwandan asylum seekers between June11 and 13, 2005:

"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."

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Sébastien Théberge
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
(613) 995-1851

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs Canada
(613) 995-1874
http://www.international.gc.ca