Pregnant Concordia student blocked from leaving Gaza, a call for support !
For over four months, Bissan Eid, a 24 year old Concordia graduate student has been prevented from leaving the Palestinian territory of Gaza. She is in urgent need of support from the Canadian government to secure an exit visa from the Israeli government.
In June 2016, Bissan, a Canadian citizen since 2005, travelled to Gaza to get married and to visit her aging grandparents. When she tried to travel back to Canada, she was prevented from leaving due to the slow processing of her exit visa by the Israeli authorities, who seldom prioritize applications of the Palestinians from Gaza who hold other passports.
For more than 10 years, Gaza has been under blockade by land, by sea, and by sky. During the most recent 2014 war, 17 hospitals and 56 primary healthcare facilities were damaged or destroyed, of which only four hospitals have since been repaired. To this day, facilities remain overstretched, medicine shortages are common, and services are frequently interrupted by power cuts. As a result, reproductive health care has been compromised, and maternal deaths have increased considerably.
Beyond the difficulties of living in Gaza, her inability to return to Canada is detrimental for two reasons. First, she is pregnant and expected to give birth in May. She is having a difficult pregnancy and is in need of medical attention in Canada. Further, she wants to be surrounded by friends and family for her child’s birth. Second, after successfully completing a bachelor’s degree in science and civil engineering from Concordia in 2015, Bissan is pursuing a masters in civil engineering at the same university. She has already completed one year of studies in her program but was unable to enrol in the Winter semester as she is blocked from leaving Gaza.
“Bissan is risking her life now in Gaza, she must to come back to her country, Canada, as soon as possible to live the normal life she deserves and has the right to live, like all Canadian citizens,” outlines Hadi Eid, Bissan’s father.
The Canadian government must take an active role in supporting Bissan’s efforts to secure an exit permit from Gaza, so that she can return to Canada via Jordan. The Canadian government needs to take immediate steps with both Israeli and Jordanian authorities to secure this exit permit.
Tadamon! is calling on groups, organizations, and individuals to lend their support and solidarity in the following ways :
* If you are part of a group or organization, we are calling on organizations to write letters of support. If you can write a letter, please contact us at: info(at)tadamon.ca
* Please post and share the attached graphic in solidarity with Bissan . Please also get in touch if you are able to get involved in organizing to support Bissan : info(at)tadamon.ca
* We are calling on people to call or e-mail Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pressure the Israeli government to accept Bissan’s application for a Gaza exit permit in order to travel from Gaza to Jordan, and then fly to Canada. You can reach them through the contact information below :
1100 Crémazie East, Suite 220
Montréal, Quebec, H2P 2X2
E-mail : justin.trudeau(at)parl.gc.ca
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6