Citizen one day, stateless the next

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The Canadian government is attempting to deport a young man who was born in Canada.

UNIFOR National

Deepan Budlakoti was born on October 17, 1989 in Ottawa and issued an Ontario birth certificate. His parents had moved to Canada in 1985 to work for the Indian Ambassador. A few years later his parents became Canadian citizens. When Deepan was issued a Canadian passport, it listed his nationality as Canadian.

Then, suddenly, in 2010 government officials informed Deepan that he was not a Canadian citizen, and that he never had been. Their argument is that Deepan is not automatically Canadian even though he was born here because his parents were employed by a foreign diplomat when he was born (which they were not – they had both left their work at the embassy before his birth).

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Dec. 10: A call for political action. / Le 10 décembre 2014: un appel pour une action politique

imagesFrançais ci-dessous

Statement by Justice for Deepan Committee

Dec 10 Justice for Deepan Support Committee: A call for political action.

More than 65 years ago, John Humphrey, a Canadian, authored what was to become the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Around the world people rightfully applauded their governments for unanimously supporting the 30 articles, detailing Human Rights protections that everyone is entitled to and which governments are obligated to uphold.

Article 15 of the UN Declaration states;

“Everyone has the right to a nationality.” Further more, “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality…”

Despite the historic significance of a Canadian citizen being credited with crafting of this important text and despite Canada’s ratification of the UN Declaration over 6 decades ago, – it is travesty that today’s Conservative government would purposefully strip Deepan Budlakoti of his Canadian nationality making him stateless and recently stripping him of access to healthcare services.

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Update on Healthcare for Deepan (Report from Hearing)

Since the Federal Court decision that came down we decided not to pursue the issue that I am not a citizen in front of the appeal board. We indicated that we would be challenging the OHIP regulation that they were using against me.

OHIP argued that the appeal board cannot make constitutional remedies to invalidate a regulation or law.

We made the argument that there is a caveat to the general rule that says that for a matter where a determination has been made on health care status prior to 2002 you can proceed to challenge the law. We also were told of a recent court decision that says that the appeal board must respect the charter in interpreting its rules.

The matter is now adjourned until February 24 after submissions by us and the government. The hearing will be in Ottawa.

“Deepan is currently appealing the state’s refusal to grant him health care coverage. We know that the denial of coverage was triggered by OHIP’s conversation with Immigration Canada.  The Minister has since day one in Deepan’s case had the authority to acknowledge Deepan as a Canadian citizen or to grant him such status. Knowing that Deepan cannot be deported from this country, his denial of health care simply adds insult to injury.  In view of the Minister’s response to the recent Federal Court decision of July 4, 2014 on refugee health care and his unwillingness to abide by all aspects of the decision it appears that Deepan, like refugees to Canada, is being subjected to cruel and unusual treatment by virtue of an intentional effort by the Minister to deny him health care.” – Yavar Hameed, Counsel for Deepan Budlakoti

Solidarity statement in wake of Ferguson, Missouri Grand Jury decision // Déclaration de solidarité suite à la décision du Grand Jury à Ferguson

– version en français en bas –

J4D wishes to express the deepest sympathy to the family of Michael Brown who was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014.

In the wake of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict officer Wilson, the residents of Ferguson and communities across North America have expressed outrage regarding the manner in which Black Americans are treated by law enforcement and in the criminal justice system.

The consequences of structural racism in policing practices is not only endemic to the United States, but it is a common occurrence in the treatment of racialized communities in Canada.  Only last week, Phuong Na Du was killed by Vancouver Police for apparently failing to comply with officers’ orders.  Jermaine Carby, Fredy Vilanueva, Sammy Yatim, Michale Eligon, Junior Manon, Phonesay Chanthachak and Neil Stonechild are some among many who were killed by police brutality in Canada.

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Kingstonians rally for man stripped of health care

Kingstonians rally for Deepan BudlakotiKingston Heritage, 27 November 2014, Aric McBay

Rallies took place in Kingston and Toronto on Wednesday to support a man who has lost his citizenship and health-care coverage because of a legal loophole. Deepan Budlakoti was born in Canada in 1989 and granted Canadian citizenship, but his citizenship was revoked by the federal government in an extremely unusual act in 2010, leaving him stateless.

Mr. Budlakoti was recently informed by the Ontario Ministry of Health that as a stateless person they believed he was no longer entitled to health care; his OHIP coverage was revoked.

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Ottawa-born man facing deportation says OHIP coverage has been revoked

CFRA, 26 November 2014, Alison Sandor

There’s a new hurdle in the case of an Ottawa-born and raised man who is facing deportation.

Deepan Budlakoti said he is now being denied OHIP coverage, even though he has an Ontario birth certificate and had been issued a Canadian passport in 2003.

Budlakoti’s parents were working at the Indian High Commission around the time of his birth. He said they had stopped working for the High Commission prior to his birth.

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