Shirking — not sharing — responsibility
The Safe Third Country Agreement is not safe. It is built on a false premise: that the United States (U.S.) is safe for most refugees.
The Safe Third Country Agreement prevents many people who arrive in Canada — via the U.S. — from making a claim for refugee protection in Canada. Instead, this Agreement requires most asylum seekers to apply for asylum in the U.S. if they arrive there first.
In practice, this means that most asylum seekers arriving in Canada by land are sent back to the U.S. — even though the U.S. is not safe for many of them.
Many asylum seekers turned away by Canada are placed in detention in the U.S., where they experience inadequate or delayed medical care; inadequate or religiously inappropriate food and water; barriers to accessing legal counsel; solitary confinement; and staggering rates of sexual assault.
Worse still, some asylum seekers are sent back from the U.S. to their countries of origin, despite facing persecution there — a clear violation of international law and their basic human rights.
Despite this, the government recently expanded the Agreement to apply across the entire Canada-U.S. land and water border. This expansion is a shameful affront to refugee rights and will push people to dangerous crossings. Simply put, the Safe Third Country Agreement is rights-abusing and harmful. It’s time to bring an end to it — immediately.
End the Safe Third Country Agreement now
The federal government of Canada tries to justify the Safe Third Country Agreement by claiming that the U.S. respects human rights and offers a high degree of protection to refugee claimants.
However, even the Supreme Court of Canada has acknowledged that asylum seekers sent back to the U.S. face serious human rights violations.
At Amnesty International, we believe that Canada should welcome asylum seekers — not close our borders to those seeking safety.
Withdrawing from the Agreement is one of the most impactful steps the federal government can take to end irregular border crossings — thereby allowing people to make refugee claims in a humane, dignified, safe and orderly manner.
Without the Agreement in place, Canada could welcome people fleeing violence and persecution with dignity. It is time for Canada to put human rights at the centre of its immigration and refugee-protection system.
Add your name today
Amnesty International is calling on supporters across Canada to speak out against the Safe Third Country Agreement and to continue to demand that the federal government cancel its agreement with the U.S.
Although the Supreme Court of Canada failed to decisively rule that the Safe Third Country Agreement violates refugees’ rights, it has called on a lower court to rule on the Agreement’s impact on people fleeing gender-based persecution — a silver lining for our continued fight.
Together, we can — and must — call on Canada to uphold its human rights obligations and welcome all asylum seekers, before even more people are put at serious risk.
By joining today, Amnesty International supporters will gain access to resources, campaign updates and other meaningful advocacy actions that will make a difference in the fight to end the Agreement.
Pledge your name — and speak out against the Agreement — to become a part of Canada’s largest human rights movement today.
Yes, I believe Canada must respect the rights of asylum seekers.
The Safe Third Country Agreement is not actually safe. It puts people who are seeking safety and in need of protection in danger. Today, I’m joining Amnesty International in urging the Canadian government to end this unfair agreement.