Conference on AIDS in Montreal | More than 200 participants applied for refugee status

(OTTAWA) Nearly one in six people who attended a major AIDS conference in Montreal last year have applied for refugee status, according to internal documents obtained by The Canadian Press.

The 24e International AIDS Conference took place in July 2022 in Montreal, but without the presence of several hundred delegates from Africa and Asia to whom the Canadian authorities had not issued a visa.

Accusations of racism were then launched against the Canadian authorities. Some had even launched the idea of ​​a boycott of all conventions taking place in Canada.

The documents indicate that the organizers of the conference had late submitted incomplete information to the Department of Immigration. According to the government, this explains why a third of visa applications have been rejected. The authorities had also not had time to examine 10% of the requests.

The documents point out that 15% of the 1,600 people who obtained an entry visa applied for refugee status after arriving in the country.

Half of the applications were made by people from Uganda, a country that has passed tough laws criminalizing homosexual activity.

Robert Blamshay, a Toronto immigration lawyer, says conventions or sporting events are one of the few opportunities for persecuted people to come to Canada safely. The idea of ​​applying for refugee status germinates in their heads only after their arrival in the country.

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