Saturday, August 15, 2009

Moving Right Along

Source: CBC NEWS: Former Child Soldier Loses Fight to Stay in Saskatoon
Source: CBC NEWS: Former Child Soldiers Fights to Stay in Saskatoon

A former child soldier from Burma/Myanmar; lost his fight today to stay in Saskatoon. Nay Myo Hein, who deserted the Burma Army at the age of 14 and came to Canada, was told today that he would be deported back to Burma.

Hein maintains that he risks imprisonment, torture, and even worried for his life if he were to be returned to Burma. Hein came to Canada by working on a container ship, which he abandoned and then came west. Hein had applied for refuge status with the Canadian Government, but the application was rejected because the Immigration Board did not believe Hein's life was in any danger.

Let's do a quick history lesson on Burma:

It democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi in 1993, only to have her shut out and placed under house arrest by the ruling military junta. Suu Kyi has often been released from her house arrest, only to have new charges brought against her to keep her confined.

Burma is also a country that was hit hard by a cyclone in 2008, and the ruling military government dragged it heels to allow UN workers to distribute food and medicine and other supplies throughout the country.

The reigme is also often referred to as one of the worst offenders for human rights violations in the world.

Yet, given all this information that can be found quite easily, the Immigration Board does not believe that a child soldier who deserted the army is in any danger when he is returned to the country.

After all, desertion is a pretty serious charge. In the United States, a desertion charge can lead up to a treason charge against the person; a charge that can result in prison, or in that person's execution. And the United States is a modernized country; just imagine what a military junta is going to do to a deserter.

The fact of the matter is, the Conservatives opened a can of worms with their visa restrictions on Mexico and Czech Republic citizens. The minister responsible, and even the Prime Minister, have said that these restrictions were to ensure that CREDIBLE asylum seekers weren't thrown to the wayside in a myriad of worthless claims.

Yet, here is a man with a reasonable case to make against being returned to Burma; a CREDIBLE asylum seeker, and the government is failing him.

The only recourse left for Mr. Hein is receive a 'reprieve' from Peter Van Loan, and hopefully the Conservatives will show that they do actually care about 'credible asylum seekers' and at least give Mr. Hein's case a closer look and learn that the right thing to do is to keep him out of Burma.

2 comments:

Scott said...

Good news;
Source: CBC News: Child Soldier Allowed to Stay in Canada.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2009/08/16/sask-child-soldier-stay.html

It's a good thing that Hein can stay in Canada and not have to risk the punishments he could have faced in Burma.

It's nice to see the government take action on this issue, and prompt action at that, given that a man's life was indeed at stake.

I guess sometimes these stories can have a happy ending, and I'm glad that it was indeed the case here.

Mr Kilroi said...

Well done Scotty...