Detention hearings begin today for the nearly 500 Tamils seeking asylum in British Columbia, Canada. The refugees are currently in detention in Vancouver while it is determined whether they are truly refugees and not ‘undesirables’ of another sort.
One of the largest problems in determining this will be trying to track down the identities of nearly 500 people. ”The challenge is for [the migrants] to prove their identities — that they are from Sri Lanka — with some kind of documentation, and that they are not tied to any illegal activity,” said spokesman for the Tamil congress, David Poopalapilla.
Furthermore, the legal counsel for the Tamil congress, Gary Anandasangaree, asks us to consider this collection of migrants as a group of human beings, rather than as a group which is either a threat or not a threat to the country. “Let’s not paint everybody as a human-smuggler or a terrorist. There’s a five-year-old here. There are two unborn children,” he said.
Adding to the difficulty of determining the refugees’ identities, is the potential strain on mental health caused by, among other things, the more recent journey to Canada and subsequent detention. “These people have gone through a lot in their lives, they just went through a gruelling journey and now they’re being detained. All these factors might have affected their mental health, especially the kids and women,” said Poopalapilla. (Source : Execte News)