A recent decision by a Canadian court could open the door for any Haitian woman believing she might be raped to seek asylum in Canada.
From The Star:
A groundbreaking Federal Court ruling has opened doors to Haitian women who are seeking refugee status in Canada because they are afraid of being raped in their own country, where sexual violence is a growing problem.
“It means a Haitian woman making a refugee claim on that basis should succeed, as long as conditions in Haiti remain as they are now,” said lawyer Raoul Boulakia.
Boulakia represents Elmancia Dezameau, a Haitian-born mother of four who sought refugee protection after arriving in Toronto in 2007, arguing she and her four daughters were at risk of being targeted for rape if she were returned home.
In support of her case, Boulakia filed reports from several international aid agencies, including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, which identified rape as a systemic problem in Haiti, one that has worsened since January’s earthquake.
Does this mean all Haitian women are eligible for refugee status in Canada? It sounds like it to this lawyer.
Lawyers for the federal government argued that if Dezameau won her case, all female refugee claimants from Haiti would automatically be granted refugee protection simply because they are women.
Pinard [a Justice] rejected that argument, saying female refugee claimants from Haiti will still have to prove their risk of being raped is more than a mere possibility.
According to this story from The Star at least, it sounds like she didn’t have to submit anything in court besides general reports that rape in Haiti was widespread. So is the Justice saying she still has to prove she is personally threatened?
Rape as a weapon to terrorize women is used throughout Africa too, so does this mean all women from certain countries would be eligible for refugee status in Canada? It is hard to tell exactly what this ruling does.