Canadian Gov’t Halts Deportation Order Of Former Child Soldier From Burma

Canadian gov't halts deportation order of former child soldier from Burma

The Canadian Press (CP)
August 15, 2009

OTTAWA The federal government has stayed the deportation of a Burmese refugee who fled his country because he was he was forced into the military when he was a child.

The Canadian Friends of Burma says Nay Myo Hein was supposed to be deported to his homeland, also known as Myanmar, on Tuesday after his application to the federal Immigration and Refugee Board for refugee status was rejected.

But the group says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan intervened and have agreed to let the 25-year-old Saskatoon resident stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds.

Friends executive director Tin Maung Htoo called is a “compassionate gesture” by Canada and thanked the ministers for their actions.

The group says it independently verified that Hein escaped at age 13 from forced service in the Burmese military and spent the next eight years in hiding before coming to Canada two years ago.

The group says Hein would be in “grave danger” if he had to return because he has participated in demonstrations against the Burmese military and has become an active member of the exiled Burma democracy movement.