The Federal Court of Canada has overturned the refugee status granted to two passengers who arrived in a smuggling ship linked to Tamil rebels. Delivering the verdict, the Federal Court ruled that the Immigration and Refugee Board misinterpreted law simply because the refugees arrived in Canada aboard the MV Sun Sea Cargo ship that brought 492 Sri Lankan Tamils to British Columbia in Aug.2010.
Earlier, the refugee lawyers argued that the basis on which the cargo passengers were granted asylum was because of the Sun Sea's public link to the Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka and the fact that they would face persecution if Canada sent them back to their country.
However, the court this week overturned the asylum claims of both men and said that the standard of proof used to grant the men refugee status was wrong.
The federal court sent the claims for re-evaluation because the two young ethnic Tamils identified in the court rulings as B323 and B472 could not be considered genuine refugees simply because they were on board the Sun Sea.
The ship commenced its voyage from Thailand. And the organizing group charged a hefty amount of as much as $40,000-$50,000 to each migrant on board.
All passengers claimed they were fleeing persecution in Sri Lanka. Justice Sean Harrington of the Federal Court, however, ruled that B472 was found to be liar in the case and B323 was not credible and did not face a real possibility of persecution, when he was in Sri Lanka.
"The Sun Sea passengers had a myriad of motives to come to Canada," National Post reported. Citing Justice Harrington, it added: "Some were human smugglers. Some may well have been terrorists. Some were garden-variety criminals who wanted to escape justice. Some had serious reason to fear persecution in Sri Lanka and some, like Mr. 472, were economic migrants."
Before the recent case, 65 of those who arrived on the Sun Sea were granted asylum, while 72 were rejected. 26 others were ordered deported when they were found to have been former Tamil Tiger rebels and crew members of the ship.
Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that someone could be granted a 'refugee' status, if he had a well-founded fear of persecution "for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion."
"It may well be that B472 faces a serious risk of persecution were he to be returned to Sri Lanka, but not because of his membership in a particular social group," Harrington said.
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