Statement on Behalf of the South Asian Bar Association of British Columbia
The South Asian Bar Association of British Columbia (“SABABC”) stands in solidarity with the South Asian Bar Association of North America (“SABA North America”) concerning President Trump’s recent executive orders barring the entry of refugees, and halting all immigration from seven Muslim-majority states. We fully endorse SABA North America’s statement on this matter, found here, and wish to emphasize that we stand strongly against any policies and laws based on misplaced discriminatory and xenophobic fears.
We share SABA North America’s position that discriminatory policies such as President Trump’s recent executive orders “only provoke and intensify xenophobia and hate or bias motivated acts against communities such as ours.” SABABC is committed to promoting diversity and advocating for the rights of South Asians and other minorities in our province. To that end, SABABC is a proud founding sponsor of British Columbia’s Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline (“ILAH”), which offers free confidential legal advice for those who have been discriminated against, harassed, or who have faced violence because they are Muslim or are perceived to be Muslim. We are working hard to promote awareness of ILAH, to do outreach with members of communities affected by islamophobia, and to ensure that British Columbians are aware of their rights and the support services available to them.
We furthermore condemn the horrific and senseless attack on the Centre culturel islamique de Québec on January 29, 2017, which led to the murder of six of our Muslim brothers during peaceful evening prayers. We offer our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who have been affected by this tragedy, and mourn alongside them. SABABC opposes any actions that encourage violence and hateful rhetoric.
We encourage our members and the wider public to consider SABA North America’s statement, as well as the statements of the Canadian Bar Association, found here, and the statement of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers – British Columbia, found here. We stand alongside other members of the Canadian legal community in voicing our concern regarding the treatment of vulnerable people in need of protection, and to urge our own government to continue to fulfil our international obligation to process refugee claims and offer refugee protection.