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


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.”