Rwandan Woman Pleads Not To Be Deported From Canada
Kigali: The French-Canadian Association of Alberta is urging the Canadian federal immigration minister not to deport a woman living in the same province (Edmonton area) who says she will be killed if she returns to Rwanda.
Charlotte Umutesi, 35, fled Rwanda five years ago. She said she left after testifying against the man who killed her family during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
She claims that in the days after her testimony, the man beat and raped her, and threatened to kill her if she testified again. Few details about the man are available and the case is just becoming public.
Her request for asylum was rejected by Canadian immigration officials in March 2007.
In January, the Canadian federal government lifted a moratorium on deporting people to countries formerly considered insecure — such as Rwanda.
Two weeks ago, an immigration officer told Umutesi she would be sent back to Rwanda.
“I tell her, I say I’m working … I live in Canada [for] five years,” Umutesi told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News (CBC).
“Now you tell me to [go to] Africa. I’m scared to go there because the group who killed my husband, my family … it’s dangerous.”
Only hope is ministerial review
Umutesi has been living in Edmonton for two years, working as a caregiver for Alberta Health Services. Her only hope to stay in Canada is a ministerial review.
The French-Canadian Association says there is new evidence and is urging a review of her case. Members of the association met with ministerial officials in Ottawa on Tuesday.
“The people she testified against after the genocide in 2005 are still looking for her,” said Denis Perreaux, executive director of the Alberta chapter of the association.
“It’s published in news reports in Rwanda that they are looking for her specifically.”
Perreaux said the political situation in Rwanda is very volatile because of a fall election, so the decision to lift the deportation moratorium doesn’t make sense.
“I don’t understand why we’re sending people back into this cauldron of conflict,” he said.
A spokesman for the immigration minister told CBC News officials cannot comment on individual cases.