U.S. and Canada Meet to Establish Safe Third Country Agreement

The Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Department of State have started formal negotiations with Canadian officials in order to establish an agreement to limit access of asylum seekers to only one of the two countries. A draft agreement of this safe third country agreement was published June 25, 2002 and is available online at http://www.ins.gov/graphics/lawsregs/US_Canada_Draft.htm.

Both Canada and the United States are party to the 1951 Geneva Convention regarding the status of refugees in which they affirmed obligation to protect refugees in a burden-sharing manner. In the recently published draft agreement between the two nations, it is stated in particular that both nations reaffirm their “mutual obligations to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.” However, in order to ensure the safest and most orderly processes, both countries are dedicated to clarifying their obligations and ensuring that asylum seekers, under appropriate conditions, are limited to only one of the two nations.

The U.S. Government will solicit public views on this proposed safe third country agreement Thursday, August 1, 2002, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Immigration and Naturalization Service Headquarters, 425 I Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20536, Shaughnessy Conference Room, Sixth Floor

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