May 8, 2019 4:06 pm
Updated: May 8, 2019 4:13 pm

Refugee law changes will hurt victims of domestic violence, advocates say

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OTTAWA — A group of Canadian women’s organizations is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to withdraw controversial changes to asylum laws included in an omnibus budget bill, saying they will harm women who have been targeted by harsh U.S. immigration policies.

READ MORE: Trudeau says government wants to ensure fairness in refugee system

Last year, the United States changed its refugee policy to say domestic violence is no longer grounds for asylum claims there.

Canada has since moved to change its laws to prevent asylum-seekers from making refugee claims in Canada if they have made similar claims in certain other countries, including the United States.

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Canadian organizations that help vulnerable women say this change will mean any woman who has made an asylum claim in the U.S. but turned to Canada to seek protection from violence will now be denied a full hearing.

READ MORE: Advocates decry changes to law for refugees with claims in other countries

Forty-six groups, many of which support battered women and victims of sexual abuse, are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to scrap the proposed restrictions, which they call “deeply harmful” to female refugees.

They say the changes would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by denying women in these situations their right to due process.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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