CANADA: Woman fears for life if deported

By Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun

A Zambian woman who says that if she's deported she'll be killed by her parents because she married a white man in Canada has lost a first round in a precedent-setting battle to stay here.

An appeal is being filed by Mwape Ndina Bolognese Nkole, 33, whose refugee case was thrown out last month by the federal court.

"My client is very disappointed," her lawyer, Warren Puddicombe, said yesterday from Vancouver. "She has an ongoing concern of what will happen to her if she's sent back."

Puddicombe said Nkole, who has lived in Toronto but is now in B.C., can file an appeal based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds or a pre-removal risk assessment. He wouldn't say which approach would be used.

He told Mr. Justice Michael Phelan that Nkole will be forced to undergo female circumcision and into a marriage if she's deported. Court was told she could even be tortured or killed.


"She believes her parents were shamed because she married a white man," Puddicombe said. "She faces punishment for shaming her family."

He said the couple has since divorced but the damage in her parents' eyes has been done.

"She is very afraid of going back," Puddicombe said. "In parts of Africa, women are treated as property or chattel."

The court said Nkole is an independent and well-educated woman who comes from a privileged and affluent family.

"She has 15 years of education and ... empowerment counselling," Phelan said.

"The applicant is an independent woman and unlikely to be forced into an unwanted marriage."

Toronto-area immigration lawyers said the case is a first in which a woman refugee claimant has argued that marriage to a white Canadian is grounds to stay in Canada.

(C) Toronto Sun
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