Germany-based Syrian activist denied Canada visa to visit family

Germany-based Syrian activist denied Canada visa to visit family
3 min read
08 February, 2022
Wafa Ali Mustafa, who fled Syrian in 2013 after the arrest of her father, was denied a visa to Canada.
Wafa Mustafa hasn't seen her father since 2013 [Getty]

Syrian journalist and activist Wafa Ali Mustafa has been denied a visa to Canada to visit her family because authorities fear that she may stay in Canada, sparking outrage from Syrians. 

Mustafa wrote in a post on Twitter that her visa was refused despite her having been granted asylum in Germany. 

"I was recently granted asylum in #Germany. I applied 4 visa to #Canada to see my mom & sisters after 3 years of separation. Canadian authorities refused my visa fearing I will stay there!" wrote Mustafa, who has German residency.

Mustafa is best known for her tireless campaigning for the release of her father and other detainees, who were taken to secret prisons by the Assad regime

Over the course of the conflict, tens of thousands of Syrian were snatched from their homes, offices and the streets and sent to prisons, where torture and even execution are common.

Human rights groups say medical and food shortages are also common in these detention centres.

Mustafa's father was detained in July 2013 and has not been seen since.

The family fled Syria after the arrest, fearing for their own safety.

After three years in Turkey, travelled to Germany, where she continued her studies. 

After putting her story online, numerous people took it upon themselves to try and raise awareness for Mustafa's case. Many said the visa system in Canada and other countries often appears to be arbitrary or unfair toward Syrians.

"Family reunion is important and a #HumanRightsAct. We need to support these devided (sic) families Mr President @JustinTrudau @CanadaSyria," German MEP Katrin Langensiepen wrote on Twitter.

"Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau Wafa Ali Mustafa is a woman of immense integrity, admired+respected across the world who would NEVER abuse a visa. I appeal to you to review this bizarre decision which amounts to an attack on a Hero for Human Rights & a truly outstanding HR Defender," filmmaker Ronan Tynan tweeted

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Others on Twitter shared their experience of failing to get a visa to Canada. 

"Canada is the worst!! My brother has been living there for a decade and my mom has never been able to get a visa to visit him. She’s tried applying many times for difference visa types and they keep rejecting her," one user wrote

"My parents and sister, and my brother & his family all live in Canada. I'm a refugee in Norway. I haven't been able to see them since 2019 (haven't seen my brother since 2016)," another user added.

The New Arab reached out to the Canadian Embassy in Berlin but received no response at the time of publication.