• BIPOC.USHR

Please don't deport Mehdi for seeking mental health supports

We're still working hard trying to keep our dear friend Mehdi Belhadj safely in Canada and on PEI, so we still need your help!


First, we'd like to once again thank MP Sean Casey for his very clear, concise, and genuinely compassionate letter of support for Mehdi. It was truly heartening to see someone in a position of power demonstrate such empathy for a vulnerable member of our community. Thank you, Mr. Casey.


Now, we'd like to see similar compassion and empathy from our federal ministers. To that end, here's our next action for you: Please write letters to our federal Minister of Immigration Honourable Marco Mendicino and federal Minister of Public Safety Honourable Bill Blair, as well as the Prime Minister Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, asking them to take consideration of the injustice of issuing a deportation order against Mehdi for simply seeking out mental health supports. Please also cc MP Sean Casey and MP Lawrence MacAulay.


We have included a template below.


Please write letters and encourage everyone you know to write letters! Let's fill their inboxes with our love and support for Mehdi!! Emails:

Honourable Marco Mendicino: marco.mendicino@parl.gc.ca

Honourable Bill Blair: Bill.Blair@parl.gc.ca

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca


cc:

MP Sean Casey: sean.casey@parl.gc.ca

MP Lawrence MacAulay: lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca

Template:

Dear Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Honourable Marco Mendicino, & Honourable Bill Blair,


I am writing to you today to from Prince Edward Island to express my serious concerns about the situation our fellow Islander, Mehdi Belhadj, is facing and ask for your prompt action to prevent any deportation order against him.


Former University of Prince Edward Island international student, Mehdi Belhadj, is facing possible deportation to a country in which he has never lived, in which he has virtually no family, and which has no accessible mental health supports he needs. Belhadj has lived in Prince Edward Island for ten years, and this situation arose when he sought help for his mental health struggles.


On August 13, 2021, Belhadj was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) after spending weeks in a Charlottetown psychiatric hospital. After his student visa expired last year, Belhadj applied for his post-graduate work permit, following all the rules outlined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); he’s been waiting for a decision since then. However, due to COVID-19, the IRCC has been experiencing a backlog, and a decision still has not been reached.


While waiting for his work permit Belhadj experienced a mental health crisis for which he needed hospitalization. Due to being in-between statuses, he did not have healthcare coverage. However, mental health issues do not wait for work permits to be issued before they show up.


Belhadj’s personal friends, of whom he has many, and community advocates were not provided an opportunity to pay his medical bills. Instead, the CBSA unilaterally arrested, detained and charged Mehdi for being an excessive health expense seeking to deport from Canada a young man who has lived in Canada for almost a decade, who has people here who love him, and where he has built a life. All because he did what we are told to do when experiencing a mental health crisis: seek professional help.


To issue a deportation order against Mehdi would be a violation of his rights under international human rights laws, specifically Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a United Nations Committee, which states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” Sending Mehdi to a country in which he has never lived and in which he has no supports all because of his mental health can easily be considered cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.


We are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau, Immigration Minister Mendicino, and Public Safety Minister Blair to:


(1) Take appropriate action to prevent any deportation order from being issued against Mehdi Belhadj


(2) Issue Mehdi his Post Graduate Work Permit so that he may be able to work and support himself


Please show compassion to someone who is working with the system but who became a victim of bureaucratic delays. Please remove his stress of possible deportation and help him heal.


Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.


Signed,








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