Tamil migrant admits working for terrorist group

By Christine Duhaime | February 13th, 2011

According to this article in the Vancouver Sun, one of the Tamil migrants who arrived in Canada last August aboard the MV Sun Sea, has admitted that he worked for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a mechanic and  helped them dig bunkers in Sri Lanka. The LTTE is a designated terrorist group in several countries, including Canada and the U.S. The MV Sun Sea was used to smuggle 492 Tamil migrants to Canada.

The Tamil migrant in this case has claimed refugee protection in Canada under the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.  At a hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board, the Canada Border Services Agency argued that the foreign national’s ties to the LTTE rendered him inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The Tamil migrant argued that although he worked for the LTTE, he was not a member of that organization, and has no ties to terrorism.

A refugee with close ties to the LTTE may be inadmissible to Canada under any of the following categories:

Inadmissibility – Security Threat

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a foreign national is inadmissible to Canada for security grounds if, among other things, he or she engaged in terrorism or is or was a member of a terrorist group. Terrorism includes a range of activities such as providing financing for terrorist activities, providing services or expertise to a terrorist group, making property available to a terrorist group or facilitating terrorist activities. Building bunkers for the LTTE and providing mechanical services to the LTTE, even indirectly through a garage owned by the LTTE in Sri Lanka, may be sufficient to establish that the foreign national is a security threat to Canada and is inadmissible to remain here.

Inadmissibility – Human Rights Violations

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a foreign national is inadmissible to Canada for human rights violations if, among other things, he or she violated human or international rights by committing an act outside of Canada that constitutes an offence under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Several immigration decisions have determined that a foreign national can be liable for such crimes as an accomplice, even though the foreign national did not personally do any act that amounted to a war crime or a crime against humanity. In the past, members of the LTTE have been denied refugee protection in Canada under Section 1(f) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. That section stipulates that the Convention does not protect foreign nationals who are suspected of having committed crimes against humanity or war crimes.

Inadmissibility – Serious Criminalty

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a foreign national is inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality if he or she committed an act outside Canada that is an offence in the place where is was committed and that, if committed in Canada, would be an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of ten years. By providing mechanical and other services to the LTTE, and presumably participating in or contributing to the activities of the LTTE, the Tamil migrant may be inadmissible for serious criminality even though the offences were committed outside of Canada if Sri Lanka has similar terrorism laws in force.

The Immigration and Refugee Board is expected to render a decision with 30 to 60 days on the case.

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