Safe Third Country Agreement Meaning

Conventions on safe third-country nationals are not explicitly mentioned in the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees. Rather, their legitimacy derives from Article 31 of the 1951 Convention, which states that a refugee should not be punished for illegal entry into a country if he arrives directly from a country where he is threatened. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has itself warned against over-interpreting safe third country agreements, although it acknowledges that they may be acceptable in certain circumstances. [22] Such ambiguities have prompted some Canadian legal experts to question the legality of the Canada-U.S. safe third country agreement. [23] The agreement allowing any country to reject asylum seekers attempting to apply for refugees at official border crossings was declared unconstitutional by the Federal Court of Justice in July. For all other countries that could be classified as safe third countries in the future: on January 30, 2017, the critic of Immigration, Refugees and Citizens Canada (IRCC), Jenny Kwan of the New Democratic Party (PND), proposed an emergency debate on „President Trump`s immigration and travel ban from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa.“ [17] During the debate, the NDP called on the government to immediately suspend the agreement on the security of third-country nationals, citing the fact that „Canada can no longer trust that the U.S. refugee system provides refuge for those at risk of persecution.“ [18] The official Conservative Party of Canada has stated that it will not oppose the suspension of the agreement,[19] while the Green Party of Canada has expressed support for the suspension of the agreement. [20] Under the agreement, refugee claimants must apply for refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they are entitled to a waiver from the agreement. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requires ongoing review of all countries designated as safe third countries. The purpose of the review procedure is to ensure that the conditions that led to deportation as a safe third country remain met. Under the agreement, refugee claimants must apply in the first country they arrive between the United States or Canada, unless they are entitled to a waiver.

For example, asylum seekers who are citizens of a country other than the United States and who arrive from the United States at the land border between Canada and the United States can only assert their rights to refugees in Canada if they fulfill an exception under the Safe Third Country Agreement. The RAC continues to call on the Canadian government to withdraw from the safe third country agreement. Shortly after its entry into force, the CCR participated in legal action against the designation of the United States as a safe third country. The Federal Court of Justice ruled that the United States is not a safe third country, but the decision was overturned on appeal for technical reasons (for more information, click here).