6,000 WORLD YOUTH DAY APPLICANTS DENIED VISAS

TORONTO, July 9, 2002 (LSN.ca) - The Canadian government is refusing entry visas to 6,000 young people hoping to attend World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II starting July 23. The number reportedly represents a 25% rejection rate among international visa applicants hoping to be here for the pope's visit. The rejections primarily affect students and other youth from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Colombia, Uganda and Sudan.

"The message is the Canadian government is not welcoming youth to World Youth Day," says Joe Byrne, Prince Edward Island regional coordinator. But Immigration Department officials say the government cannot grant special treatment to any applicant, out of concern that bogus applicants may use WYD to get into Canada and then disappear into the community.

Media are reporting that 200,000 delegates from 165 countries are registered for World Youth Day, "far less" than the 750,000 "originally anticipated."


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