On Monday, 6 pm local time, Ms. Vanessa Rodel (42) and her 7-year-old daughter Keana will arrive at Toronto Airport, Canada. A happy end for both of them, for it will put an end to years of struggle. Ms. Rodel and her daughter were two out of seven people harbouring whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, where mother and daughter themselves lived under precarious conditions as asylum seekers from the Philippines. Along with five other asylum seekers, they offered a hideout to the world’s most wanted man in 2013. This was coordinated by Canadian human rights lawyer Mr. Robert Tibbo, 55, who has been living and working in Hong Kong since 2005.
When the names of Mr. Snowden’s accomplices became public in 2016, Hong Kong authorities increased pressure on the seven refugees and their lawyer. Fearing for his safety, Mr. Tibbo had to abandon his adopted home, Hong Kong. Continuing his work from exile, he is currently fighting for Snowden’s remaining helpers to receive Canadian right of residence. The arrival of Ms. Rodel and her daughter in Canada mark "a first stage victory", says Mr. Tibbo.
Edward Snowden himself was relieved that Rodel and her daughter are now safe. However, he also hopes that this will soon be granted to the remaining five helpers, including two children. (Steffen Arora, 25.3.2019)