Mother and child stranded in Turkey – grandmother in Saskatoon launches legal appeal for their sponsorship to Canada

The young daughter of Nahid has been ill during their exile in Turkey, awaiting approval of private refugee sponsorship to Canada. The child's grandmother in Saskatoon has launched a legal appeal asking a judge to assist in efforts to get the mother and child to safety in Canada. (Submitted photo)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

NOTE: Names have been changed out of concern for the safety of those involved.

A Saskatoon grandmother has launched a desperate court appeal, asking a judge to intervene in the case of her daughter and granddaughter, who are refugees stranded in Turkey.

A media summary prepared by the Saskatoon woman’s lawyer explains that her daughter Nahid is a 38-year old single mother born in Iran. As a convert to Christianity, she was granted refugee protection by the United Nations. She has been stuck in the Canadian resettlement process and has been stranded with a young daughter in Turkey for more than four years.

Nahid and her mother, a former refugee and now permanent resident in Canada, were constantly beaten and abused by Nahid’s father – an alleged member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. They were exiled from their house after converting to Christianity, and were subjected to homelessness

Nahid was sent to India to study by her mother, but she ran out of money and had to join her mother in one of the Gulf states, where they lost immigration status, experienced homelessness, and faced life-threatening imprisonment. As a result, Nahid returned to Iran, where she was forced to work for her abusive father, who sent her to work in his offices in two different Gulf states, where she was not paid, forced to sleep on the floor of her place of work, and was monitored by cameras.

Subjected to beatings, violence and sexual assault, which resulted in pregnancy – and the birth of a child she struggles to care for –  Nahid risked her life to escape to Turkey, where she was able to contact her mother who had by then received refugee status and permanent residence in Canada.

Nahid and her young child were granted convention refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and applied for private sponsorship to Canada through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon (as the Sponsorship Agreement Holder). Nahid applied for permanent residence on Nov. 29, 2017 – over four years ago.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has cited “concerns that [Nahid is] a member of the inadmissible class of persons described in section 37(1)(b)* of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) for engaging in activities in the context of trans-national crime,” due to her forced labour with her father’s company which engaged in criminal activity.

Canada prohibits permanent residence on the basis of engagement with organized criminality. However, it also recognizes the defence of duress. In this case, Nahid was forced to work for her father while being held captive by him over many years.

Nahid and her 4-year-old daughter are in a dire state as Christian-convert refugees in Turkey, and without a local support network, describes the grandmother’s lawyer. Nahid is “socially isolated; barred from work or study; discriminated against and mistreated as a Christian; suffering from depression without access to medical treatment; (with the) daughter suffering from severe, recurrent fevers and infections (last hospitalized Feb. 16, 2022), receiving 18 different medications, living in an apartment without a bed.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon Office of Migration has worked to assist Suraya, the Saskatoon grandmother, with this private sponsorship of her daughter Nahid and her young granddaughter.

A statement from the diocesan Office of Migration says:  “We can’t comment on specific cases, but our Migration Office has a special concern for vulnerable women and children.”

“In some countries from which we sponsor, the lives of women are extremely limited and controlled.  They routinely experience domestic violence, restrictions of their movement, including having no control over their own travel documents, and very limited access to money.  They are frequently subjected to forced labour and sexual violence. And because they have been told all their lives that this is how their lives should be, it is very difficult for these women to break free.”

The Office of Migration statement asks: “Should someone who has been a slave and forced labourer be held accountable for – and effectively punished for – taking part in work under duress?”

The grandmother Suraya asks for prayers for a breakthrough, and invites those concerned about this case to contact the Minister for Immigration, The Hon. Sean Fraser, MP and copy their communication to their own Member of Parliament, referencing “The Nahid Case.”


IRCC Minister Sean Fraser’s e-mail address is: or telephone: 1-888-242-2100. (Please cite “The Nahid case”)

Locate the contact details for your Member of Parliament by entering your postal code into this link:  (Please cite “The Nahid case”)

To assist with financial assistance for Nahid’s current living and legal costs, please contact Dr. Jan Bigland-Pritchard at: