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Toronto human rights group takes up case of Sri Lankans

Members of a Toronto-based human rights group say 76 Sri Lankansdetained after they arrived off the B.C. coast in a rusty freighter areentitled by law to timely refugee hearings.

Members of a Toronto-based human rights group say 76 Sri Lankans detained after they arrived off the B.C. coast in a rusty freighter are entitled by law to timely refugee hearings.

Todd Ross of Canadian Human Rights Voice says members of the group have come to Vancouver because they’re concerned about whether the men are getting that.

Potential refugee claimants detained in Canada must have a detention review hearing within 48 hours after entering the country.

But so far, only 16 of the men have had hearings before the Immigration and Refugee Board since being taken into custody on Saturday, and all have been denied release because they’re considered a flight risk.

Ross says about 60 Tamil families from across Canada have offered to house the men or support them while they go through the refugee claims process.

The Canadian Tamil Congress says the men risked their lives to flee persecution in a country embroiled in the aftermath of a bloody 26-year civil war.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the RCMP are investigating the migrants to determine if any of them have any connections to terrorist or criminal organizations.

 
 
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