$160,215 of $250,000 raised


The refugees who sheltered whistleblower Edward Snowden are running out of time. This page is about saving their lives.

Vanessa, Supun, Nadeeka, Ajith and their three stateless children have been seeking asylum in Hong Kong for over a decade, a country which grants asylum to fewer than 1% of applicants.

When their role in sheltering Edward Snowden became public, Hong Kong cut off their meager support payments and targeted them for immediate deportation to their home countries of Sri Lanka and the Philippines where they face documented threats of persecution, torture and death.

“They could be arrested at any time. The children could be separated from their parents, and the families could be returned to the very places where they face torture or worse. Every human rights organization in the world is watching this case, but it’s not enough.”

Their last, best hope is Canada, but their refugee applications languish in the hands of the Trudeau government. For some, their association with Snowden and the risk of angering the U.S. government make these brave refugees too hot to handle.

“Those who helped Edward Snowden in Hong Kong when he was seeking asylum now find themselves at dire risk if sent back to their countries. Canada has the opportunity to prevent a terrible outcome and should act immediately.”
– Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch.

For the Refugees was established to help Vanessa, Supun, Nadeeka, Ajith and their children because no one else will. Our team of volunteers has been fighting since 2016 to prevent their deportation from Hong Kong and to compel Canada to expedite their relocation to safety.

“I was tortured and left for dead in Sri Lanka. If I am sent back there, I know what will be waiting for me.”
– Ajith, refugee from Sri Lanka.

The only thing keeping these families housed and fed over the past year, and their children in school, has been your donations. That costs over C$6,500 a month in Hong Kong and despite our team working entirely pro bono, legal costs exceeded C$50,000 last year. Appealing their deportation order in 2018 will cost several times that amount.

That’s why we urgently need C$250,000 to keep these families safe and provide for their needs as we fight their deportations in Hong Kong and push for their acceptance and relocation to Canada.

$160,215 of $250,000 raised

When a stranger in need knocked on their door, they risked everything to save his life. Now they need our help. Together, we can end their long nightmare and bring them to safety.

“No one should have to risk return to torture or persecution because they opened their door to another who feared the same. Canada has a unique opportunity to provide these people and their children both safety and a future.”
– Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch.

A quarter of a million dollars is a lot of money, but if we reach enough people with this story we can raise it. Will you help us get the word out?


Want to know more about Vanessa, Supun, Nadeeka, Ajith and their children?
Read their bios.

“Becoming a human rights activist here in Hong Kong has given my life meaning. If my daughter and I can get to Canada, I want to use my freedom to help other refugees like us.” – Vanessa, refugee from the Philippines.

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