New life in Montreal for family that helped Edward Snowden flee to Hong Kong

A household that helped shelter whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong in 2013 has landed in Canada and is trying ahead to starting an “terribly regular life” in Montreal, says a refugee advocacy group.

Marc-André Séguin with For the Refugees stated Supun Thilina Kellapatha, Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their kids, Sethumdi and Dinath, are settling into their new residence within the metropolis after arriving Tuesday evening from Toronto.

Séguin, who can be a lawyer, stated the household is jet-lagged and exhausted however thrilled to have been granted asylum.

“After years and years of ready, to lastly see the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel, to lastly have the expectation of a greater life, of security and of getting their stateless kids acknowledged and acknowledged by a state was an amazing second for them,” Séguin stated Wednesday in an interview.

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READ MORE: Edward Snowden’s ‘guardian angel’ lands in Montreal, calls on Canada to help other refugees

The household’s arrival in Canada is the fruits of an extended saga going again to 2013.

The relations are among the many seven individuals dubbed “guardian angels” who supplied assist and shelter to Snowden when he fled to Hong Kong after leaking categorised paperwork from the U.S. Nationwide Safety Company, which uncovered the scope of large authorities surveillance operations.

Séguin stated the helpers had been all asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Whereas their involvement was initially stored quiet, he stated the 2016 movie “Snowden,” directed by Oliver Stone, introduced them notoriety and made the method of claiming official refugee standing — which is already extraordinarily troublesome in Hong Kong — almost not possible.

The help group in the end selected Quebec as a vacation spot, Séguin stated, as a result of it’s secure and since the province has a program that accepts privately sponsored refugees with out requiring they get official designation from the United Nations refugee company, UNHCR.

Two of the opposite “Snowden refugees” — Vanessa Rodel and her daughter Keana — landed in Montreal in 2019, and the final remaining member of the group stays in Hong Kong awaiting approval to come back to Canada.

Snowden stated on Twitter Tuesday the household’s arrival is “the perfect information I’ve heard in an extended, very long time,” and he thanked people who helped the household.

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“We have to deliver another dwelling earlier than we will say we’re completed, however I can not thanks sufficient for bringing us this far,” he wrote. Séguin wouldn’t affirm whether or not Snowden has direct contact with any of the households.

Séguin stated the brand new arrivals are trying ahead to an “terribly regular life” that features with the ability to work and go to high school, and the kids, aged 5 and nearly 10, getting their first photograph IDs.

“They’ll get to open financial institution accounts, they’ll get to work,” he stated. “The kids are acknowledged by a state for the primary time of their life. They’ll have their first photograph IDs.

“All these day-to-day mundane issues all of us take as a right however for them are actually extraordinary proper now.”

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The lawyer stated the excellent news of the household’s arrival is overshadowed by the very fact the ultimate member of the group, Ajith Pushpakumara, stays in Hong Kong in a scenario he described as “fragile.”

Click to play video: 'Family who protected Edward Snowden welcomed into Montreal'

Household who protected Edward Snowden welcomed into Montreal

Household who protected Edward Snowden welcomed into Montreal – Apr 1, 2019

Séguin stated the group doesn’t perceive why it has taken the Canadian authorities so lengthy to approve the claims, which had been filed in early 2017, nor why some members of the group have been permitted extra shortly than others.

“Canada did a rare factor in admitting six of the seven Snowden refugees,” he stated. “It’s time to do another factor and let the seventh one in as quickly as attainable.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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