Hey y'all! Today at Wall of Femmes, we’re standing in solidarity with an incredibly courageous femme, Mme. Khurshid Awan.
Mme. Khurshid Awan is a Pakistani refugee who is currently living in sanctuary in a Montreal church. In August 2013, she made the brave decision to defy a removal order which would have seen her returned to Pakistan, where she faces targeted violence, lack of access to appropriate medical care, and indefinite separation from her daughter and grandson, who live in Montreal.
Despite evidence that Mme. Awan continues to face ethnically motivated violence if she returns to Pakistan, the Canadian government refuses to grant her status. She came to Montreal in 2011, to join Tahira, her daughter, and Ali, her grandson, who themselves arrived as refugee claimants in Canada in 2000. Tahira and Ali are now both permanent residents of Canada. Mme. Awan continues to endure stress, isolation and uncertainty to keep her family together.
In July 2013, during a meeting with the Canadian Border Services Agency, Mme. Awan suffered a heart attack, and was hospitalized as a result. Despite Canada’s own guidelines prohibiting travel for 6 weeks after a heart attack, the CBSA attempted to forcibly remove Mme. Awan from the hospital in order to send her back to Pakistan.
In August, she was offered sanctuary by an Anglican church in Montreal. Taking sanctuary means that Mme. Awan is bound by the walls of the church in which she resides.
Here at Wall of Femmes, we reject the imposition of arbitrary borders governing public space. We affirm Mme. Awan’s right to freedom of movement and mobility, and the right to live a life free from violence.
We support the growing movement of individuals, churches and organizations demanding that Mme. Awan is granted Permanent Resident Status by the Canadian government on humanitarian and compassionate grounds without delay.
To find out more about the grassroots mobilization, head to Parc Jarry at 2PM on June 15th, for A Picnic Against Borders and in Support of the Awan Family. The event is being hosted by the Awan Support Committee and the Food for All committee of Solidarity Across Borders. Food, speakers, soccer and fun are all on the table. Bring your kids!
Find out other ways to get involved here: http://soutienfamilleawan.org/?page_id=45, and check out this great tumblr: http://soutienfamilleawan.tumblr.com/, of people showing their support!