June 6, 2019 10:14 pm

‘We need our sister’: Syrian refugee family pleads with government to be reunited

WATCH: A Syrian refugee family is pleading with the Canadian government to let the daughter they left behind join them in Quebec.


A Syrian refugee family living in Saint-Hyacinthe is pleading with the Canadian government to let the daughter they left behind in Libya to join them in Quebec.

The Mohammad family says they are grateful that Canada has taken them in as refugees, but the government that gave them so much, they say, is also taking from them: the chance to be reunited with their eldest daughter, 22 year-old Nour Mohammad.

“We need our sister, she’s all alone over there,” said Malak Mohammad during a press conference in Ottawa Thursday afternoon.

When the family came to Canada in 2016, Nour and her husband couldn’t follow. They were living in Libya as refugees and they couldn’t apply with the family due to legal restrictions.

WATCH: After three years in Canada, Syrian refugees still adjusting

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Under Canadian immigration law, only unmarried children under 21 years old are eligible for the “family class” immigration application.

Although Nour was under 21, she was married.

Nour’s family reunification became urgent in February, when her husband was electrocuted during a work accident and died.

“She is there in Libya by herself; she is not feeling well; she is emotionally distraught and she is at risk,” explained Jenny Kwan, the NDP critic for immigration, refugee and citizenship.

“If this young girl leaves her home, she could be assaulted, she could be killed. That’s why her family is freaking out,” added Brigitte Sansoucy, the member of parliament for Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, the area where the family lives.

Nour could potentially leave Libya, but the family says she has nowhere else to go. She cannot return to Syria and all her family now lives in Saint-Hyacinthe.

READ MORE: Obstacles remain for Syrian refugees to gain Canadian citizenship

With Sansoucy’s help, the family filed an application under humanitarian grounds to bring Nour to Quebec.

But Canada rejected it because Nour was not in Canada and therefore cannot file an application on humanitarian grounds with the country.

“Of course that doesn’t really make any sense,” Kwan reacted. “This young woman is the one that’s left behind and the exercising of the humanitarian action is exactly that, to bring her here to Canada.”

“I urge the minister to look deep inside him and to stand proud in Canada’s history and Canada’s record of humanitarian and compassionate actions and use his authority to exercise that right and to bring their daughter.”

READ MORE: Is Canada’s reputation as a safe haven for refugees deserved?

Sansoucy says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked for compassion during the Syrian refugee crisis, now she’s asking his government to do the same for Nour.

WATCH: Will Syrian refugees ever return home?

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