October 03, 2007

Refugee in sanctuary will be allowed to stay

Ethiopian man has been staying at All Saints Lutheran


An Ethiopian refugee who has been living in sanctuary in an Ottawa church for almost two years, has been granted status to stay.

Moti Nano’s application for protection on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, allowing him to apply for permanent resident status in Canada has been accepted by citizenship and immigration.

His deportation notice has also been stayed.

“I was a person who should have deserved a Convention Refugee status as soon as I arrived in this country, let alone waiting for years and be given a deportation order,” Nano previously told the Sun.

The human rights worker came to Ottawa to attend a human rights conference in 2001 and applied for refugee status.

He fled his African home after criticizing the government’s human rights record.

In February 2004, he was ordered deported after a lone adjudicator rejected his bid for refugee status.

He feared torture and death if returned to Ethiopia. There, Nano says he was repeatedly arrested and beaten by Ethiopian security forces for being a member of the Oromo ethnic group, which accounts for about 40% of the country’s population. He also had his hair cut with beer bottles and was forced to run barefoot on gravel, he said.

Nano’s brother was killed by the Tigreans, Nano said, for being associated with the Oromo Liberation Front.

When the deportation order was handed down on Jan. 10, 2005, Nano found sanctuary in All Saints Lutheran Church on Pinecrest Rd., where he’s remained.

“The fundamental reason we supported him was that he was a member of our congregation of very good standing and was in desperate trouble,” said Paul Merkley, a member of the All Saints Sanctuary Committee.

He’ll continue his stay at the church until he finds an apartment, which he hopes will be in a few days. He’s expected to find work with previous employers.

Ottawa Sun

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