Postponed: PBI-Canada to host visit by Saltillo Migrant Shelter lawyer and PBI-Mexico advocacy coordinator

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Due to the current public health emergency related to coronavirus, we have opted to postpone this speaking tour. For more on our reasoning and concerns, please click here.

Peace Brigades International-Canada will be hosting Javier Martinez Hernandez, the legal coordinator for the Saltillo Migrant Shelter in Coahuila, Mexico, and Lena Weber, the advocacy coordinator for the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project for meetings in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal on March 14-18.

Those meetings will include discussions with:

– the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC), the largest coalition in this country of self-organized groups of migrant workers;

– the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), a union that represents 200,000 workers with a strong commitment to human rights and international solidarity;

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC);

Solidarity Across Borders, a migrant justice network based in Montreal who engage in popular education, support work and political mobilizations;

Paul Manly, the Member of Parliament for Ladysmith-Nanaimo and the Green Party caucus critic for Citizenship and Immigration;

Mitchell J. Goldberg, the co-founder of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) and a former PBI-Guatemala field volunteer.

These meetings will happen in the context of the Canadian government’s announcement to “modernize” the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement.

The American Civil Liberties Union has commented, “Currently, Canada prevents many immigrants from applying for asylum after being in the U.S., but an expanded agreement would bar those who enter by land between official crossing points.”

Related to this, CNN reported this week, “The Supreme Court said on Wednesday [March 11] that the controversial Trump administration ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum policy can stay in effect while legal challenges play out.”

That article adds, “The policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols, mandates that non-Mexican asylum return to Mexico as they await hearings in the United States. It has resulted in the creation of makeshift camps where hundreds of migrants have waited for weeks, if not months, in squalid and unsafe conditions. In some cases, migrant families have opted to send children across the US-Mexico border alone.”

The support provided by donors to PBI-Canada helped to enable this tour that will focus on the issues of migrant rights, Canadian border policies, the causes of displacement (that can include trade agreements and climate change), the risks faced by human rights defenders who support migrants, and collective human rights obligations.

Peace Brigades International has provided protective accompaniment to the staff at the Casa del Migrante Saltillo since 2014.

We will provide updates on this tour via social media and in next week’s e-newsletter.

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