MONTREAL, February 14th, 2014 – This noon hour, Khurshid Begum Awan was visited by Thomas Mulcair, the Member of Parliament representing her former residence in Côte-des-Neiges, where she lived before she was forced to take sanctuary in a Montreal church on August 21st, 2013.
By taking sanctuary, she courageously defied her deportation order which would have seen her returned to Pakistan where she faces targeted violence, lack of access to appropriate medical care, and indefinite separation from her daughter Tahira and grandson Ali.
The Right Reverend Bishop Barry Clarke of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal was present to welcome Mr. Mulcair. “The Anglican Church welcomes the presence of Mr. Mulcair and invites all political parties, institutions and community members to act in support of Mrs. Awan. We appeal to Minister Chris Alexander to recognize the urgency of Mrs. Awan’s situation and that of her family and to expedite Mrs Awan’s stay in Canada by any means available to him.”
Khurshid Begum Awan has been living in sanctuary for almost six months, during which time she has been unable to access the adequate medical care that is required by her serious health conditions, including a deteriorating heart condition. “I am constantly worried. I need to be able to go to the hospital, but I can’t, ” stated Mrs. Awan.
This ongoing trauma has placed other family members, including a 15 year old, under duress. “We are fed up,” sates Tahira Malik, Mrs. Awan’s daughter.
“The Canadian Immigration system is fraught with injustice, pushing individuals and families to the brink of death, and all too often directly resulting in death itself» stated Farha Najah Hussain, member of the Awan Family Support Committee. “For close to six months, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has actively ignored widespread appeals to address Mrs. Awan’s urgent situation. We call on all politicians and political parties to be accountable for the injustices that the immigration system is inciting on the Awan family and to demand that Mrs. Awan’s status be regularized immediately.”
The Awan family and their supporters demand that Mrs. Khurshid Begum Awan be granted status immediately; that her husband Mohammad Kahlil Awan be permitted to return to Canada and that the entire family including Tahira and Ali be able a life of justice and dignity.