July 18, 2024

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Palestinian couple from Gaza denied travel to Canada

3 min read

A Palestinian couple from Gaza who tried to help a Montreal family reunite with their 13-year-old daughter is stuck at the Rafah border in Egypt after being denied travel to Canada.

Mariam and Hassan EL-Kahlout, who were hoping to evacuate to Canada, now have no place to stay.

They were given approval in January to accompany their niece Jana to join her family in Montreal. But they were denied travel when Jana died due to malnutrition and a lack of medication amid the Israel-Hamas war.

BACKGROUND: Montreal family grieves 13-year-old daughter who died in Gaza

“My name was approved to accompany Jana to reach her family in Canada, and Jana had died in Gaza in the war while we were not able to reach her to leave Gaza together,” Mariam told OMNI News.

“Now I am here on the Egyptian side with my husband and I ask the Canadian government to help us leave Gaza because we don’t want to lose ourselves.”

Jana EL-Kahlout

Jana EL-Kahlout is seen smiling. (Courtesy: EL-Kahlout family)

The Palestinian couple lost their home and all their belongings in the war and were forced to seek shelter at schools for refugees. Mariam and Hassan are expecting their first child soon.

“I don’t want to lose my baby,” the expecting mother said. “I was waiting (for) my baby for eight years and I don’t want to lose him.

“We lost our home in Gaza and we don’t have anything to go back to.

“I don’t want to die. I want to save my family and my husband and my baby please, help us.”

Exception should be made, says immigration legal advisor

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) tells OMNI News in an email they are aware of Jana’s death and their “hearts are with the family and their loved ones.”

“GAC officials were in direct contact with her family and provided assistance. Due to privacy considerations, no further information can be disclosed,” wrote John Babcock, a media relations spokesperson for GAC.

“Communications remain difficult, although we continue to contact Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and their eligible family members in Gaza through all available channels and we continue to be in touch with their loved ones in Canada. Canada puts forward names of Canadians, permanent residents and their eligible family members to the local authorities for approval but does not ultimately decide who can leave Gaza.

“Global Affairs Canada continues to advocate for the approval of Canadians, PRs and their eligible family members to leave Gaza as soon as possible.”

Walid El Haj, an immigration legal advisor for refugees in Canada, says there should be exceptions in cases like these.

“Her uncle was accompanying Jana,” said El Haj of “Get In Canada.”

“After long, long period of time, they got the exit permit from Egypt. Unfortunately, Jana died and Canada refused to bring the uncle to Canada.

“Canada has done it more than once to apply certain exceptions and I do believe that the solid ground of humanitarian could’ve applied to this case.”


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