With no clear path to Canada, Afghan lawyers seeking refuge say they’re forced to live in secrecy

With no clear path to Canada, Afghan lawyers seeking refuge say they’re forced to live in secrecy
With no clear path to Canada, Afghan lawyers seeking refuge say they’re forced to live in secrecy

Saeeq Shajjan, an Afghan refugee who designed it to Canada and whose regulation agency labored for the Canadian embassy in Kabul for just about nine yrs at his residence in Toronto, on Dec. 14. 2021.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

When Saeeq Shajjan, the founder and running partner of the Kabul legislation company Shajjan & Associates, fled Afghanistan and created it securely to Toronto in early September, he assumed his colleagues would not be far powering.

Pretty much nine months afterwards, Mr. Shajjan says his previous co-personnel are starting to be progressively nervous at the prospect of becoming abandoned, with no apparent path to Canada.

There are 28 legal professionals and personnel who worked for Shajjan & Associates, a firm hired in 2013 by the Canadian embassy in Kabul and Global Affairs Canada, who are searching for refuge in Canada. They have not heard nearly anything right after speaking to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and World-wide Affairs Canada.

A youthful law firm who worked at the firm explained to The World and Mail above Zoom that she lives in fear, wanting to know if the Taliban will capture her. She mentioned it is disappointing that the Canadian federal government gave them hope – but has not performed anything at all to assist them.

A colleague, also on the call, puzzled who Ottawa is assisting if not them. He stated they have the extended and enduring connection that would qualify their group for resettlement less than the government’s special immigration plan. He is dropping hope, he mentioned, and improvements his location frequently.

The Globe is not identifying the two attorneys since they are fearful of Taliban reprisals.

The youthful female at the firm stated she utilized for resettlement in August and that IRCC has not responded to her e-mails. She stated when Canada announced that it would welcome 40,000 Afghans, including individuals who labored for the federal government, Ottawa gave the “expectation of becoming rescued.” She reported that through their operate at the business, they represented Canadians, specially the embassy, and so they are regarded.

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The two attorneys explained dwelling in secrecy and explained they can’t apply for employment in Afghanistan because they are not able to disclose their former perform. They deal with supplemental risk because they are from the Hazara ethnic minority.

Mr. Shajjan claimed he has dedicated his time to striving to bring his colleagues to safety. “Every morning that I get up, I’m looking at my WhatsApp and hoping that I do not get any destructive information from Kabul.”

For months, he’s advocated at the “highest feasible level” but nothing at all has adjusted. He explained he’s met with IRCC officers and has viewed opposition users of Parliament increase his colleagues’ scenario at parliamentary committees and in the House of Commons. Even now, there is been no improve.

Mr. Shajjan mentioned he believed that if he was accepted to Canada, it meant his colleagues were being also qualified. In accordance to an e-mail that Worldwide Affairs Canada sent to Mr. Shajjan in January, GAC had referred the names of his colleagues to IRCC. But they nevertheless haven’t read nearly anything.

Julie Lafortune, a spokesperson for IRCC, claimed that for privateness causes, the division is not able to provide precise facts on instances.

“The Authorities of Canada has obtained hundreds of hundreds of communications from these expressing interest in coming to Canada due to the fact the fall of Kabul. Regrettably, this is a considerably bigger quantity than we can convey to Canada. The regrettable actuality is that not all people who expressed fascination in coming to Canada will be suitable below our plan,” she stated.

The federal govt has promised to welcome 40,000 Afghan refugees to Canada. So much, a lot more than 13,000 have arrived and about 6,225 have appear below the distinctive method for Afghans who assisted the Canadian governing administration. Canada has also promised refuge to susceptible Afghans which include activists, journalists and LGBTQ Afghans underneath a particular humanitarian application.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said at a parliamentary committee a short while ago that he expects absolutely everyone who will be brought to Canada, or who reached out and will not be acknowledged, to have an remedy within the upcoming couple of months.

Attorneys at Toronto law agency Cassels Brock & Blackwell have also been advocating for the group. Ardy Mohajer and Carla Potter, each associates at the agency, informed The World that for months they have been urging the authorities to assist Mr. Shajjan’s colleagues.

Mr. Mohajer reported the particular immigration application is “a bit of a black box,” and they assumed the team would have been invited to formally apply by now. “We have an obligation as a state to help all those who assisted us,” he added. Ms. Potter explained the system has been very long and striving for people in hiding.

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NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan wrote a letter to Mr. Fraser and International Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly in December, saying that she required to carry their consideration to the legislation-business workers stuck in Kabul and that they are facing “very credible threats” to their life.

She mentioned in an job interview that the situation is “absolutely devastating.” Ms. Kwan claimed the group questioned for assistance from the federal government in August, and the reaction has “been crickets.”

“Why haven’t these folks whose lives are in imminent hazard, who are hiding on a day by day basis from the Taliban, have not read from IRCC? How is this even doable?”

Ms. Kwan stated she is concerned that the governing administration will merely go away them guiding, including that she is drafting an additional letter and is calling on the government to dedicate to convey them to basic safety.

Conservative international affairs critic Michael Chong reported the federal government has promised to admit 40,000 refugees “but most of them are trapped in Afghanistan and are staying hunted by the Taliban, specifically individuals who get the job done carefully with Canadian diplomats and the Canadian navy.”

He claimed the Primary Minister requires to immediate the Immigration Department to “clear the purple tape and make it a priority to process all those Afghans with an enduring important tie to Canada.”

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