Solidarity with the Awan Family – A Call for Donations

101_0137For more than one year, the Awan family has been courageously fighting for status, justice, and dignity. After many months in sanctuary, Mrs. Awan presented herself to the CBSA on August 5, 2014 to obtain her Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) application. Since then, she has been awaiting the processing of this request, which constitutes a recourse that could potentially enable her to regularize her status and remain with her daughter and grandson in Montreal.

Last week, Mrs. Awan received news that she must complete a medical examination for Citizenship and Immigration Canada in the next two months as part of the processing of her file. Unfortunately, the exam will cost the family $230, as it is not covered under the Interim Federal Health Program. The family is currently struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford the fees.

The Awan Family Support Committee is calling for donations from allies to raise the $230 required for the exam.

Any contribution- be it $10, $20, or more- would be welcome! Below are some ways to donate:

By cheque:
Please write your cheque out to “Solidarité sans frontiéres”, specifying “Awan Family support” in the memo line. You can send your cheque by mail, or drop it off in person, at the following address:

Solidarité sans frontières / Awan Family Support
1500 de Maisonneuve West, #204
Montréal, QC H3G 1N1

By paypal:
A paypal payment can be made through our website at http://www.soutienfamilleawan.org/. Please send us an e-mail at soutien.famille.awan@gmail.com to inform us of your donation.

By cash:
To arrange a cash contribution, please contact us at soutien.famille.awan@gmail.com.

(Press Release) “Never could we have imagined the circumstances we have found ourselves in.”

T-Sept22-PC

Media coverage:

(Montreal Gazette) Montreal family asks for reprieve from deportation for ill relative:   http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Montreal+family+asks+reprieve+from+deportation+relative/10225489/story.html

(Le Devoir) Kurshid Begum Awan est sortie de son église en août dernier:     http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/actualites-en-societe/419032/kurshid-begum-awan-est-sortie-de-son-eglise-en-aout-dernier

(Global News) Khurshid Begum Awan leaves Montreal Anglican church refuge for medical care:    http://globalnews.ca/news/1576519/khurshid-begum-awan-leaves-montreal-anglican-church-refuge-for-medical-care/

(CJAD) Ailing Pakistani grandmother forced to leave church sanctuary:    http://www.cjad.com/cjad-news/2014/09/22/ailing-pakistani-grandmother-forced-to-leave-church-sanctuary

(CTV News) Daughter pleads to keep sick mother in Canada:   http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/daughter-pleads-to-keep-sick-mother-in-canada-1.2019396

“Never could we have imagined the circumstances we have found ourselves in.”

After one year, Mrs. Awan leaves sanctuary but remains without status

Montreal, September 22 – After nearly one year in sanctuary, the Awan family is no longer living behind church walls. On August 5, 2014, Khurshid Begum Awan presented herself to Citizenship and Immigration Canada in order to obtain her Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) application, a recourse that could potentially allow her to regularize her status.

The family’s decision was taken under considerable duress.  Mrs. Awan’s Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage had expired, leaving her without any access to medication or health services at a time when her health has been steadily deteriorating.

“More than ever my mother has been suffering psychologically,” said Mrs. Awan’s daughter Tahira Malik, who lost her job because of the demands of caring for her mother. “We could have never imagined the kind of circumstances she has found herself in. She came here to join me and Ali, and to live in safety with us. Only with some kind of stability will she be able to make a full recovery.”

In many respects, the family’s experience highlights the precariousness, isolation and fear that Canada’s racist and exclusionary immigration laws portend for migrants living without status.

In the coming weeks, Mrs Awan will be submitting a PRRA application, while still awaiting a decision on her request for permanent residency on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds which was submitted last fall.

“It is imperative that the PRRA and H&C applications be studied with expedience,” says Stewart Istvaffy the family’s lawyer. “Both the general situation of targeted violence of religious minorities in Pakistan and the personal dangers that Mrs Awan and her husband face have as of yet to be properly taken into consideration.”

Mrs. Awan is also benefitting from this brief reprieve, and from the temporary renewal of her IFHP coverage, to seek much-needed health services.

“There is no doubt in our mind that full access to health services, both urgent care and regular follow-up is essential to Mrs. Awan.” Said Dr. Marie-Jo Ouimet, of Médecins du Monde, one of Mrs. Awan’s treating doctors while she was in sanctuary.”We believe that the four hospitalizations that occurred these past months would have been prevented had she had access to these services this past year.”

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(September 22) Press conference for the Awan family – Call for supporters

Justice for the Awan family! Status for Khurshid Begum Awan!

PRESS CONFERENCE

Monday September 22, at 10am
Anglican Diocese of Montreal, 1444 Union St., 2nd floor

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In 2011 Khurshid Begum Awan and her husband Mohammad Khalil Awan came to Montreal from Pakistan fleeing targeted violence, and to join their daughter and grandson who are Canadian citizens.

Their refugee claim was rejected, and in April 2013 Mr. Awan was detained and deported with just the clothes on his back. Mrs. Awan was ordered deported in August 2013, and courageously defied her deportation order and took sanctuary in a Montreal church.

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Update on the Awan family’s struggle for justice

Dear supporters,DSC_0136

After nearly one year in sanctuary, the Awan family is no longer living behind church walls. On August 5, 2014, Khurshid Begum Awan presented herself to Citizenship and Immigration Canada in order to obtain her Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) application, recourse that could potentially allow her to regularize her status. Arrested and detained overnight at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre, she was released the next day on a cash bond, a curfew, and certain conditions.

(June 15) Picnic Against Borders and in Support of the Awan Family!

Thanks to all who came out on Sunday! Stay tuned for upcoming events.

++ Organized in the context of Anti-Deportation Days, June 1-15 +++

Picnic Against Borders and in Support of the Awan Family

Sunday, June 15
2pm to 5pm
at Jarry park (station de Castelneau or Jarry) *exact location within the park to come!

FREE.
Food, speakers, soccer and fun!
Family friendly. Bring your kids!status4allbutton

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(15 May) Côte des Neiges Solidarity Street Party in support of the Awan family

Côte-des-Neiges Solidarity Street Party in support of the Awan family

MURFood, music, speeches and more!

Thurday May 15th, noon to 2pm.

Corner of Van Horne and Victoria (Plamondon metro, Van Horne exit).

Family friendly! Rain or shine!

In the face of one Côte-des-Neiges family’s struggle to remain together in Montreal, we are holding a metro action in celebration of the vibrant and tenacious people and organizations of Côte-Des-Neiges. Join us May 15th for food, music, speeches and more, connecting the CDN community while affirming support for the Awan family and celebrating their struggle!

Mrs. Khurshid Begum Awan is a Pakistani refugee currently living in sanctuary in a Montreal church in order to fight her deportation order and the serious health risks, targeted violence and separation from her family that retuning to Pakistan would bring. For over 8 months now Mrs. Awan has given up her freedom and lived exclusively behind church walls, under constant threat of being detained and deported. Mrs. Awan, her daughter Tahira and grandson Ali call Côte-des-Neiges home and struggle each day for a dignified life together.

Come out May 15th to meet your neighbors, and the groups working in your neighborhood, and take a stand against exclusionary government policies that seek to divide people from their loved ones and communities!

(Update) Support committee responds to National Post

Update

On April 4th, the National Post’s John Ivison published an article praising the Conservative government’s devastatingly repressive changes to the immigration and refugee system, and blasted the Awan family’s struggle as lacking credibility.

A letter from the Awan Family Support Committee was published yesterday, and can be found here, or see below.

We want to thank everyone who took the time to write letters to the editor.  Until
Khurshid Begum Awan is granted permanent status, is reunited with her husband here, in Montreal, and the family – as well as migrants – can live in dignity, the struggle continues.

in solidarity,

Awan Family Support Committee

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Call for support! Write to the National Post in support of the Awan family

The National Post’s John Ivison, known for his atrocious attacks on refugees (see article “Gay Mexican has better shot than Darfur refugee” for context), is at it again. He has just published an article praising the Conservative government’s devastatingly repressive changes to the immigration and refugee system, and blasting the Awan family’s struggle as lacking credibility.

We are enraged by this harmful misrepresentation of the Awan family. Ivison blatantly disregards the very serious heart condition and other health complications that Khurshid Begum Awan suffers from on a daily basis. Furthermore, he ignores the strong humanitarian reasons for which she should be granted status immediately, including that her life is here alongside her young grandson Ali and her daughter Tahira, who both live in Montreal.

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In refuge on Refugee Rights Day: The Awan family story

http://rabble.ca/news/2014/04/refuge-on-refugee-rights-day-awan-family-story

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K&T,interviewcropSince August 2013, Khurshid Begum Awan has been living in sanctuary in a Montreal church. She had courageously opted to defy a deportation order which would have disrupted her access to care, divided her family and put her safety at risk.

Widely observed as Refugee Rights Day, April 4 marks the anniversary of the Singh Decision. On a day where we remember migrant and refugee struggles for freedom, dignity and security and recommit to fighting ongoing injustice, we highlight the struggle of the Awan family.

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(Press Release) From Behind Church Walls: Montrealers rally in solidarity with Khurshid Begum Awan and others living in sanctuary across Canada

Press Release

From Behind Church Walls: Montrealers rally in solidarity with Khurshid Begum Awan and others living in sanctuary across Canada

CAM01668Montreal, February 27, 2014 – Today at noon, and linked with actions in Toronto, Vancouver, and Hamilton to mobilize against the violence of detentions and deportations, Montrealers will gather in front of Immigration offices to denounce the injustices that the Awan family is facing at the hands of the Canadian immigration system, and to demand that Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, use his discretionary power to regularize Khurshid Begum Awan’s status immediately.

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