Since November 2003, The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has supported the claim of Einar Maartman and Juan Camacho –a binational gay couple - to live together first in Colombia and then in Canada. We now join with Einar and Juan in expressing our deep disappointment at the Canadian´s goverment refusal to acknowledge Juan Camacho´s right to asylum and to order his deportation. Please read the appeal below, written by Einar and Juan, and write to the Canadian government to stop Juan from being deported to Colombia.
On February 18, 2005 Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Joseph Volpe announced that spouses and common law partners of Canadian citizens or Landed Immigrants – regardless of their status -- will be permitted to remain in Canada pending the outcome of their sponsorship application. This directive from the Minister is being flagrantly disregarded by officials from the Department of Immigration in a case which smacks of homophobia.
Juan Camacho, a citizen of Colombia, and his Canadian partner Einar Maartman, have lived together in a loving relationship since May 2001. The couple lived together in Colombia for two and a half years but were obliged to flee the country for security reasons.
The human rights situation in Colombia is extremely bad and gay people together with other sectors of society are targets of violence both by state and non-state actors. While in Colombia, Juan challenged the legal and social order to win residency for his partner, Einar – something which is unheard of. As a result of this courageous struggle for gay rights in Colombia, Juan and Einar were assaulted, held at gunpoint and suffered continued harassment and death threats.
One year ago, Juan and Einar came to Canada, convinced that the Government of Canada would offer protection and allow the couple to live together. Many prominent and highly credible human rights organizations fully backed Juan’s claim for asylum, highlighting the dangers the couple would face if they were obliged to return to Colombia.
Shockingly, despite the abundance of documentation, Juan’s claim for asylum was rejected on April 19, 2005.
Given the commitment made by Minister Volpe on February 18 of this year, Einar initiated a family-class sponsorship application on behalf of his spouse (Juan and Einar were legally married in Canada on March 19, 2004). The application was received by Immigration Canada on March 14, 2005. Despite the pending application and the Minister’s stated commitment, the Immigration Officer issued a deportation order against Juan effective this May 3, 2005!
Liberal Members of Parliament Mario Silva and Sarmite Bulte both have advised the Immigration Officer of the directives by Minister Volpe. However the Immigration Officer maintains that the deportation order will not be lifted.
We need your help! Please see the opposite side of this page for a sample letter you can send yourself to Minister Volpe. Time is of the essence, so please act today! For further information, you can contact us at 647-998-3650/647-280-6749 anytime. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Honourable Joseph Volpe, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
House of Commons, Ottawa, ON., K1A 0A6
RE: Mr. Juan Fernando Camacho Tamayo, File # 3792-4271-6308; Removal Order-Request for Minister’s Intervention
I am writing in support of Mr. Juan Camacho, a failed refugee claimant from Colombia who has received a deportation order for May 3rd, 2005.
Mr. Camacho’s Canadian partner, Einar Maartman, sponsored Mr. Camacho on March 10, 2005 and the application and received by CPC Vegreville on March 14, 2005. That application preceded the negative decision on PRRA by a few days (which was issued March 17th, 2005).
I am very concerned about the deportation order. Mr. Maartman and Mr. Camacho have been in a long-term relationship and were married on March 19, 2004. They are counting very much on having their sponsorship application duly processed by CPC Vegreville. Mr. Camacho has recently been issued a work permit valid until February 7, 2006.
I am aware of progressive new policy governing sponsorship application announced by you on February 18th, 2005, whereby spouses and common law partners of Canadain citizens or permanent residents, regardless of their status, will be allowed to remain in Canada while their immigration application is being considered.
In the spirit of offsetting the hardships that Mr. Maartman and Mr. Camacho would experience if they had to be separated during the application process and the very real risks they would face if forced to return to Colombia, I respectfully request:
- The immediate stay of the deportation order.
- Review of the sponsorship policy and its application in this case.
- Review of the PRRA Officer’s decision; I am concerned it is informed by a homophobic bias.
Your immediate attention to and assistance with this case would be appreciated.
PLEASE FAX AND E-MAIL:
- Minister of Immigration, The Honourable Joseph Volpe,
Fax- 613-992-9791, Tel- 613-992-6361
Please c.c. Your e-mail and fax to the following:
Published on April 25, 2005 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization