Pleas for Canada to grant Afghan widow, baby, asylum after father shot and killed
Winnipeg couple believes son was killed for being part of ethnic minority, allowing girls to study abroad
A Winnipeg couple, who say their son was executed after his family allowed his sisters to go to school abroad, is begging the Canadian government to help bring their daughter-in-law and grandson out of hiding in Afghanistan to Canada.
CBC has agreed to conceal the identity of the family out of concerns it could draw attention to their loved ones in hiding.
"I'm the unluckiest mother who never got to see her son … I came here with the hope that I will be saving them," said the mother of the slain man while fighting back tears speaking through a translator. "I'm living with that hope and this life otherwise doesn't mean anything to me."
The woman said she last saw her son three years ago in Afghanistan. He was shot and executed in the Afghan capital, Kabul, last September and his family believes the Taliban is behind the killing.
She and her husband are asking Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for an emergency intervention and have written to MP and federal cabinet minister Jim Carr, asking for help.
'We don't know what's going to happen to them'
"Right now I'm sitting here I'm not knowing what kind of situation they are (in), wondering whether they are alive."
The widowed mother in Afghanistan wrote to an IRCC case processing agent in February explaining how hard life has been for her and her son since her husband's killing.
"Due to the inequality and discrimination against women, a child without a father in Afghanistan, even with a mother, is like with no parent," she wrote.
Parents granted asylum in 2015
Her father-in-law and his wife came to Winnipeg as refugees in 2015 and provided CBC with documentation of the Immigration and Refugee Board member's decision to grant them asylum.
In the decision, the board member found the family was at risk due to their Hazara ethnicity and Shia faith. The board member wrote that after one of the couple's daughters returned to Afghanistan from going to school abroad in the U.S. and Europe, the family started getting threatening phone calls.
"The conduct in question was allowing his daughters to go to the USA to study," the IRB decision says.
Applied for help in India
While the couple's son was alive, he took his family to India where the family made an application for refugee status to the High Commissioner for Refugees in New Delhi. The family went back to Afghanistan to attend a funeral and the son was killed less than a month later.
"They don't have any form of rights," said the 58-year-old woman. She said she never felt she had rights throughout her life in Afghanistan.
A recent BBC study found Taliban fighters are now openly active in 70 per cent of Afghanistan and a Human Rights Watch Report released late last year found an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school.
"Nobody knows what's going to happen once they are stepping up out of their homes whether or not they are going to be blown up by a bomb explosion," the 58-year-old woman said.
Canada could step in: lawyer
Winnipeg human rights lawyer David Matas said Canada could give a visa to the mother and her baby in Kabul but under regular circumstances, to get refugee status, the two would have to leave Afghanistan to apply for asylum.
"Mechanically it could happen, it's just a matter of whether the right steps are taken and the right decisions are made," Matas said.
The father said he and his wife are grateful to Canada for granting them refuge and hope the government will step in and do the same for his grandchild and daughter-in-law before it's too late.
"If they don't these two lives will be at risk and I may have to see what I can do even if it may be putting my own life at risk of doing something about the situation."
A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Carr's press secretary declined to comment on the case citing privacy laws.