Summer 2021 Update
Fatmata and her boys continue to live in the church. We are very grateful for those in the community and government who have provided support for her during these past 2 years.
A strong application for permanent residency under humanitarian and compassionate grounds was submitted earlier this year. Wait times for H&C applications were estimated to be 2+ years. However, without providing a reason, her application was quickly rejected this spring. Along with an unprecedented 70% of applications.
- Canada rejected double the number of humanitarian applications for immigration in 2020
- Canada refused more humanitarian applications for immigration in 2020
- Advocacy Group Hints at Unexplained Immigration Policy Shift
We continue to seek ways to support Fatmata, to help her find a safe place to live and raise her boys.
As of April of 2019, Fatmata and her two boys have requested sanctuary to avoid deportation and are living in our church while we help them find a safe and legal resolution to their immigration issues. Immigration authorities are fully aware the family is living in the church and we are doing all we can to ensure their safety and well being.
Fatmata came to Canada with her husband and 2 boys in 2016. Some time after arriving, her husband left her, returned to Sierra Leone and divorced her. The divorce has left her with limited financial resources, making it very challenging for her to access legal, medical and education resources for her and her boys.
Her divorce has also put her into a vulnerable position back home. She is trying to escape from a culture where the Poro Society has power and control. Because of her family lineage, she believes there is a real danger that her boys will be abducted by and initiated into the Poro Society. The initiation rituals result in permanent scars, and there is the possibility of death for those who resist. Therefore, she has decided to seek safety and refuge for her 2 boys here in Canada.
Immigration Canada does not feel her case is strong enough to warrant either refugee status or for her to be allowed to stay on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. We believe that at this time, it is not safe for her to return to Sierra Leone.
As a church we recognize that we are called to obey the government (Romans 13:1), love foreigners as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34) and protect the orphans and widows (James 1:27). We appreciate that the Canadian Border Services Agency mercifully respects the concept of Sanctuary as we work to negotiate a resolution that will give Fatmata and her boys the best chance to live a life safe from fear of physical and mental harm.