SCC says Tamil refugee claimant deserves second chance

OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada says a Tamil teenager who fled the violent aftermath of Sri Lanka's 27-year civil war should have his refugee application reconsidered on humanitarian grounds.

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By a 5-2 margin, the high court has reversed a decision by the Federal Court of Appeal that upheld the rejection of Jeyakannan Kanthasamy's claim that he would suffer serious hardship if he returned to his homeland.

Kanthasamy was 16 years old in 2010 when his family sent him to Canada after the Sri Lankan army and police detained and threatened him on separate occasions.

It was one year after Sri Lanka's long civil war ended with a massive offensive by government forces on Tamil-held areas of the country that has since sparked a United Nations investigation of allegations of war crimes by both sides in the conflict.

Justice Rosalie Abella says the immigration officer who rejected Kanthasamy's claim took an "anemic" view of the case and she has ordered that the matter be reheard.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Michael Moldaver says the immigration officer made a reasonable analysis of the application.


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