CRS Seminar: Tibetan Refugees in Toronto: History, issues and challenges facing Tibetans searching for a safe haven in Canada
Sherap Therchin is the Executive Director of Canada-Tibet Committee. Sherap grew up in Nepal and worked for Tibet Fund India overseeing and evaluating USAID projects supporting education and healthcare in Tibetan refugee communities in India. With Parkdale Community Legal Services’ support Sherap and his siblings were able to reunite with their family in Canada in 2015.
Toni Schweitzer has been the immigration lawyer at Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) since 2013. She has practiced immigration law for over 2 decades and has appeared before all divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board, the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada. When she came to PCLS she knew very little about Tibetans. She is happy to say that she now knows more.
Tenzin Tekan is the Program and Operations Director at PCLS. Tenzin worked with migrants and refugees seeking permanent immigration status in her former role at PCLS as a community legal worker.
Toronto is home to the second largest Tibetan diaspora in North America and it is situated largely in the Parkdale neighbourhood. Mainly coming as refugees, their claims raise issues specific to their political, cultural, legal and social circumstances. We will touch upon the main issues that can arise when the IRB decides refugee claims involving Tibetans (including the highly problematic issue of Indian citizenship), as well as challenges that are faced by recognized Tibetan refugees seeking to reunite with their family.