According to the CBSA, between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 Bangladesh became the top source country for individuals found inadmissible to Canada under IRPA s. 34. The issue involves membership in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (the “BNP“) or its main political ally, the Jamaat-e-Islami (“Jamaat“). While not designated by Public Safety Canada as terrorist entities, some members of the BNP and Jamaat, through, have, according to CBSA, shown that they qualify as being a member of an organisation that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages, has engaged in or will engage in acts or instigate the subversion by force of a government or terrorism.
According to Wikipedia, the BNP is one of the contemporary political parties of Bangladesh. It was founded on 1 September 1978 by former Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman after the Presidential election of 1978, with a view to uniting the people with nationalist ideology of the country. The party holds the ideology of Bangladeshi nationalism as its core concept and adopted a 19-point program which declared that “The sovereignty and independence of Bangladesh, golden fruits of the historic liberation struggle, is our sacred trust and inviolable right”. The founding manifesto of the BNP claims that the people of Bangladesh want to “…see that all-out faith and confidence in the almighty Allah, democracy, nationalism and socialism of social and economic justice are reflected in all spheres of national life”. BNP and its student wing was the driving force in the 1990 uprising against the autocratic Ershad rule that culminated in the fall of the regime and the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh.
In 2012, supporters of the BNP and Jamaat took to the streets to portest the ruling Awami League’s decision to annul the care-taker government system, accusing the government of trying to turn Bangladesh into a one-party state. That same year, the government started prosecutions for war crimes committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Leaders from both the BNP and Jamaat were charged and convicted for war crimes.
In 2014, the BNP boycotted national elections. Violent clashes occured between BNP supports and supporters of the Awami League.
CBSA and IRCC has generally taken the position that some members of the BNP and Jamaat have “shown themselves to qualify” under s. 34(1)(f) of the IRPA, which states that a person is inadmissible to Canada for “being a member of an organization that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages, has engaged or will engage in acts or intigate the subversion of force of a government or terrorism.
The organizations that CBSA has identified as resulting in a person being inadmissible to Canada are listed below.
The Federal Court of Canada has been all over the map on whether membership in the BNP results in someone being inadmissible. In Rahman v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2023 FC 1695, Madam Justice Rochester affirmed that each case is decided on its merits, and that decisions of the Court are not, nor should they be, characterized as broad proclamations on the status of the BNP that bind future decisions.