Citizen one day, stateless the next

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).

As a result, Deepan now faces deportation to India, a place he has never lived, where he is not recognized as an Indian national. This act would completely disregard Canada’s obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“It is hard to believe something like this can be happening today, and right here in Canada,” said Harry Ghadban, Unifor’s Eastern Ontario area director and strong supporter of the Justice for Deepan campaign. “We pride ourselves on being champions for human rights and justice, and yet something as absurd as this can happen.”

Unifor and several Unifor locals have made donations to support Deepan in his struggle to remain here in Canada.

“We are urging Minister Alexander to intervene in this case and take action to restore Deepan’s citizenship. The government should not be able to strip you of your citizenship and simply throw you away,” said Unifor Human Right’s director Vinay Sharma.

Since having had his citizenship revoked, Deepan has also learned that he is no longer eligible for Ontario’s provincial health care coverage (OHIP) and has joined half a million residents of Canada denied healthcare coverage when the government slashed refugee health benefits.

Take action:

Add your name to the statement in support of Deepan.  Click here.

Donate – help support Deepan’s legal cases and public awareness campaign. Every dollar counts. Click here.

Spread the word – ‘Like’ the campaign’s Facebook page and follow @Justice4Deepan on Twitter.