For Immediate Release — Thursday, April 13th, 2017
Pregnant Concordia student blocked from leaving Gaza
Press Conference :
Thursday, April 13th, 10am
School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University
2149 Mackay St.
For over four months, Bissan Eid, a 24 year old Concordia graduate student has been prevented from leaving the Palestinian territory of Gaza. She is in urgent need of support from the Canadian government to secure an exit visa from the Israeli government.
In June 2016, Bissan, a Canadian citizen since 2005, travelled to Gaza to get married and to visit her aging grandparents. When she tried to travel back to Canada, she was prevented from leaving due to the slow processing of her exit visa by the Israeli authorities, who seldom prioritize the applications of Palestinians from Gaza who hold other passports .
Beyond the difficulties of living in Gaza, her inability to return to Canada is detrimental for two reasons. First, she is pregnant and expected to give birth in May. She is having a difficult pregnancy and is in need of medical attention in Canada. Further, she wants to be surrounded by friends and family for her child’s birth. Second, after successfully completing a bachelor's degree in science and civil engineering from Concordia in 2015, Bissan is pursuing a masters in civil engineering at the same university. She has already completed one year of studies in her program but was unable to enrol in the Winter semester as she is blocked from leaving Gaza.
"Bissan is risking her life now in Gaza, she must to come back to her country, Canada, as soon as possible to live the normal life she deserves and has the right to live, like all Canadian citizens," outlines Hadi Eid, Bissan's father.
The Canadian government must take an active role in supporting Bissan’s efforts to secure an exit permit from Gaza, so that she can return to Canada via Jordan. The Canadian government needs to make immediate steps with both Israeli and Jordanian authorities to secure this exit permit.
Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made very public pronouncements about diversity being Canada’s “strength” and the fundamental humanity of all Canadians despite origin or religious background. We are calling on the Liberal government and Trudeau to take action in Bissan's case so that she may receive the support she urgently needs.
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