Owner of Kabul law firm that worked for Canadian Embassy pleads for help for employees left behind

Saeeq Shajjan’s regulation firm in Kabul spent the earlier eight years working because the native legal staff for the Canadian Embassy in Afghanistan. 

However with about two dozen of his staff nonetheless caught in the Taliban-held country, Shajjan stated the Canadian govt is now doing little to assist them.

“Those are individuals who did all they might to assist the federal government of Canada, to assist support the venture of Canada in Afghanistan — and it is time to be certain that the Canadian executive is returning the favour,” he said. 

“Sadly we’re not listening to the rest.” 

Shajjan’s workers have submitted all the vital bureaucracy to be considered for Ottawa’s different immigration measures for Afghans who labored along the Canadian govt. 

Shajjan has even supplied letters from Canadian government officials he worked with in Kabul, describing his team’s efforts for the embassy and the risks those left behind now face. 

a huge Canadian legislation company, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, could also be working on their cases after listening to Shajjan’s story on CBC’s The Current. 

Yet Shajjan’s workers have yet to get a right away reaction from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on learn how to proceed with their programs, receiving simplest frequent auto-answer emails as a substitute, a few of that have been shared with CBC Information.

It Is uncertain why — but they appear to be stuck in what professionals describe as an amazing backlog.

Owner of Kabul law firm that worked for Canadian Embassy pleads for help for employees left behind

Saeeq Shajjan, proven at work in Kabul, began his regulation company after completing his master’s of legislation at Harvard School. (Submitted by Saeeq Shajjan)

And as time drags on, Shajjan said they are changing into an increasing number of nervous for his or her safety under the Taliban, given the company’s lengthy-status courting with the Canadian Embassy.

“i want to ensure that those individuals are out as soon as conceivable,” he said. “Ahead Of something irreparable happens to them.” 

After the Taliban swept to energy in Afghanistan in August, the federal executive devoted to bringing FORTY,000 Afghan refugees to Canada — a process it now says will absorb to 2 years to finish.

Approximately 12,000 packages had been licensed so far, with just FIVE,FOUR HUNDRED of those other folks now within the u . s . a ..

Analysis

Why Canada didn’t rescue ‘a hell of a lot extra’ Afghans, in line with former generals

Ottawa has defended its response to the challenge, calling its efforts to move other people out of a difficult surroundings exceptional.

But advocates have many times criticized the government, arguing it has been too sluggish to process claims, leaving too many in danger for a lot too long.

CBC News has spoken to dozens of Afghans who say they’ve been mired in bureaucracy for months, with little details about the status in their instances.

“there is now a huge schism among the aspirations of this system and what the operations at the moment are able to deliver,” mentioned Warda Shazadi Meighen, a refugee and human rights attorney in Toronto.

“We’re at this place where we really want to bridge the gap reasonably temporarily, as a result of these other people just would not have the time to attend.” 

Canada’s Kabul legislation company 

Shajjan & Mates was first shrunk to be the Canadian Embassy’s regulation firm in Kabul in 2013. 

The company treated a variety of prison issues, starting from leading actual property transactions, including the $18-million acquire of Canada’s primary embassy construction, to direct dealings with the Afghan government. 

“We did all we could to make sure the Embassy of Canada had the best imaginable legal representation in Afghanistan,” Shajjan stated. “We additionally made positive that the embassy’s recognition used to be protected.”

Regardless That the embassy is now shuttered, the company’s settlement remains to be legitimate till the end of this year.

Owner of Kabul law firm that worked for Canadian Embassy pleads for help for employees left behind

a duplicate of Shajjan & Buddies most recent settlement with the Canadian Embassy in Kabul. It’s nonetheless legitimate until Dec. 31, 2021. (Submitted by Saeeq Shajjan)

Shajjan is now resettled in the Toronto space underneath the different immigration measures application, and he keeps to offer legal recommendation to the government on issues related to Afghanistan. 

However such a lot of his time goes toward advocating for his workers who’re desperately ready to hear back approximately their applications. 

World Affairs Canada officials who have recognized Shajjan and his colleagues seeing that 2013 have written letters outlining the firm’s contribution to the Canadian Embassy and its efforts in Afghanistan.

Refugee circle of relatives that fled Afghanistan with Canada’s approval is now caught in another country in internet of paperwork

The letters also reference the threats Shajjan and his team encountered as a result of in their paintings — dangers those left behind nonetheless face. 

“Mr. Shajjan and his staff are widely recognized in the community to be Canada’s local legislation company and to have a detailed working courting with Canadian personnel at the embassy,” said one reputable. 

“i’ve personal wisdom of threats made in opposition to him and his firm from a few local events,” any other wrote.

Owner of Kabul law firm that worked for Canadian Embassy pleads for help for employees left behind

This GAC professional says Shajjan and his staff encountered dangers as a result of in their work for the Canadian embassy. CBC News is withholding their identification at Shajjan’s request. (Submitted by Saeeq Shajjan)

Shajjan hoped the letters might help move his staff’ instances alongside, but they’ve apparently made little distinction because the months cross by means of. 

Most of his staff — including legal professionals and administrative body of workers — first submitted their files to be thought to be beneath the different immigration measures application in August, Shajjan mentioned, instantly following the Taliban takeover. 

this system is open to Afghans who’ve had a “vital and/or enduring dating with the government of Canada. 

“There May Be little more enduring than serving the Embassy of Canada for 8 years,” Shajjan said. 

“i don’t assume there’s anyone i will be able to write to who i have never written to, anyone who i’ll name i haven’t already referred to as. But still, we are listening to not anything,” he mentioned.

“I don’t have the courage anymore to inform them, ‘Hey, wait and see, It’s going to happen.'”

WATCH | Why Legal Professional Saeeq Shajjan fears for employees in Afghanistan:

Owner of Kabul law firm that worked for Canadian Embassy pleads for help for employees left behind

Lawyer Saeeq Shajjan fears for employees in Afghanistan

12 hours ago

Duration ZERO:FIFTY NINE

Shajjan & Buddies used to be the Kabul regulation firm for the Canadian Embassy in Kabul. Its owner escaped to Canada and is now determined to help his staff get to protection. 0:FIFTY NINE

IRCC spokesperson Alex Cohen stated he couldn’t comment on explicit circumstances, bringing up privateness concerns. But he stated the IRCC has rapidly adapted within the drawback, even without a “playbook that might be dusted off and implemented.” 

“Over the earlier few months, we have now introduced instruments, lower pink tape, and acted temporarily…” Cohen mentioned.

but the case of Shajjan’s staff is similar to such a lot of others, stated Shazadi Meighen, the place the federal government has been slow to respond — showing to fight with the influx of packages. 

By Way Of now, she stated, the federal government’s reaction have to be more efficient. 

“nobody will have predicted that the Taliban could have taken over as fast as they did,” she said. “However we’ve now been in this position for a number of months.

“At this point we must be far, some distance, a long way alongside. And we are just now not there.” 

‘It completely cannot be this difficult’

Shajjan first spoke out approximately the ones left in the back of in an interview with The Present in October, shortly after he and his family had arrived in Canada. 

Toronto attorney Kristin Taylor used to be listening and straight away contacted Shajjan by means of Twitter. 

“It felt like a colleague reaching out in dire instances who could actually use our lend a hand,” mentioned Taylor, the handling partner at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.

The company’s first step used to be to achieve out to IRCC. Carla Potter, another attorney at the firm, is best the staff advocating for Shajjan’s workers. In October, IRCC workers informed her the company did not have the initial submissions, she stated, however it isn’t clear why.

Potter stated her staff then re-filed the requests to be thought to be beneath the special immigration application on behalf of all of Shajjan’s employees in early November. 

Owner of Kabul law firm that worked for Canadian Embassy pleads for help for employees left behind

Toronto legal professionals Kristin Taylor and Carla Potter, with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, are serving to Shajjan with his workers’ instances. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

“We Are ensuring that we do the whole thing we can for them,” Potter stated. “But for sure, as Canadians, we didn’t be expecting to be met with the extent of frustration and red tape that we had been to this point.” 

The company could also be willing to assist pay for the group’s go back and forth to Canada from a 3rd us of a. But with out the IRCC bureaucracy to assist facilitate go back and forth out of the country, the workers are essentially caught in Afghanistan.

Potter and Taylor replace Shajjan each week on their advocacy efforts however say they generally only have irritating information to percentage. Until IRCC responds to the submissions, they’re stuck in a protecting pattern.

Afghan refugees face 4th move between Toronto-house inns as they look forward to permanent residency processing

“It absolutely won’t be this hard,” said Taylor. “These are people who were working for us and, i think, have a way of being abandoned because of how this has all opened up.” 

Whilst Shajjan is grateful to now be dwelling in Canada along with his family, he says his middle and mind remain in Afghanistan with his employees. 

“i have an ethical duty to these other people,” Shajjan stated, arguing Canada does too. “i will keep seeking to do no matter what i can to be certain they are safe.

“And That I really need the Canadian executive to listen to this.” 

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