Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 5 #8, 7 December 2010

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CONTENTS:
-          CCR Annual Report 2009 – 2010
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No to Bill C-49On 21 October 2010, the government introduced Bill C-49 - Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act. Despite the title, most of the provisions in the bill punish refugees, not smugglers.  The people who will suffer if this bill is passed are people fleeing persecution, including children.
 
The CCR is gravely concerned that many of the measures in Bill C-49 fail to honour our obligations towards refugees. Passing the bill will result in refugees being treated unfairly in Canada.  
 
As of 1 December 2010, all opposition parties (Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Québécois) have stated publicly that they cannot support Bill C-49 and that the government should address the problem of smuggling in ways that do not punish refugees.
 
This is great news, but the bill is not yet defeated. Join the CCR and other allies in raising public awareness of the impacts that Bill C-49 could have on refugees in Canada.
 
For ideas on how you can continue to make a difference, see our ‘Take Action’ request at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/c-49-contact-your-mp
 
Please pass on this call to action to others!
 
For additional information on Bill C-49 and how it would impact refugees, see the web page on the bill: http://ccrweb.ca/en/c49
 
 
 
On 25 November 2010, the Supreme Court decided a case involving refugees facing extradition to the country that they had fled as refugees. The Court upheld the appeal by the Némeths, in a decision that is a powerful reaffirmation of Canada’s obligation under the Charter and international law to protect refugees, by not sending them to a risk of persecution.
 
The Canadian Council for Refugees was an intervenor in this case.
 
Jószef and Jószefne Németh came to Canada and were recognized as refugees in 2002. They subsequently became permanent residents. Later their country of origin, Hungary, issued an arrest warrant against the Némeths. The Minister of Justice of Canada ordered that they be extradited to Hungary.   The Supreme Court found that the Minister “applied incorrect legal principles and acted unreasonably in reaching his conclusions”.
 
The Court’s judgment makes clear that the federal government must take seriously its obligations under the Refugee Convention when considering requests for extradition.  This is extremely important as the state requesting extradition may be using the criminal charges to persecute the refugees.
 
The CCR was represented pro bono by John Norris and Brydie Bethell.
 
 
 
In 2010 the Canadian Council for Refugees and Sojourn House (Toronto) conducted research on the experience of refugee claimants at their port of entry interview. This initial interview is conducted by immigration officials, usually immediately after the arrival in Canada of the claimant, and is used to determine whether the claim is eligible.
 
The report resulting from the research has been published as "Welcome to Canada: The Experience of Refugee Claimants at Port-of-Entry Interviews". The findings formed the subject of a workshop at the CCR consultation in Calgary. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) responded positively to the report. Hopefully, it will lead to changes addressing some of the concerns raised in the report.
 
 
 
On Thursday 9 December, the Supreme Court will be hearing a case involving debts resulting from a breakdown of Family Class sponsorship, Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. Pritpal Singh Mavi, et al. The CCR will be among the intervenors heard by the Court, and is represented by Chantal Tie, Carole Dahan and Aviva Basman.
 
The Mavi case raises the question of whether the government should evaluate on a case by case basis whether or not to enforce the collection of debts incurred if a person has been unable to support a family member they sponsored. The CCR believes that they should, in order to support the principle of family unity and to take into account compelling personal circumstances, such as sickness, loss of employment and family violence.
 
A summary of the case is available at: http://bit.ly/fp0A43
 


Is your organization a member of the CCR? Do you know someone with refugee experience involved with your group who has skills, talents and ideas to share with the CCR? Are there refugees involved with your organization who would like to become more involved in the CCR?

 

Take advantage of this opportunity: the application process for the 2011 CCR Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program is now open. Information and application forms for these programs are available at:

- Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund: http://ccrweb.ca/en/amina-malko-application

- Refugee Leadership Development Program: http://ccrweb.ca/en/refugee-leadership
 

 

Application deadline: Thursday, December 9th. Please pass on this information to those who are affiliated with a CCR member organization and who are interested in applying.

 

 
Fairness - L'équité pour tousMore than 350 people participated in the CCR Fall Consultation in Calgary from 24 to 26 November 2010. We would like to thank everyone, especially local organizing committee members and volunteers, who contributed to its success! 
 
The summary report of ‘Fairness – L’équité pour tous’, the CCR Fall Consultation in Calgary, 24-26 November 2010 will soon be available online on the Recent Information webpage at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/eng/issues/recentinfo.htm and http://www.ccrweb.ca/meetings
 
For CCR members, we are posting PowerPoint presentations and handouts from many of the workshops in the ‘Members’ area of the CCR website, at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/consultnov2010-presentations. We are adding presentations as they come in, so you might want to check in again later.
 
Are you with a CCR member organization and you don’t yet have an account? Set one up following the instructions at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/user/register
 
Don’t know if your organization in a CCR member? For an up-to-date list of CCR members, see the ‘Links’ page on the CCR website at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/links
 
The resolutions adopted by the CCR membership in November 2010 are available at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/resolutions-november-2010
 
The CCR would like to thank the outgoing members of the CCR Executive Committee for their valuable work: Oana Grigorescu, Jeremias Tecu, Sylvain Thibault (Counsellors) and Lisa Wyndels (Secretary).
 
We extend a warm welcome to Monica Abdelkader and Freddy Wangabo who join the CCR Executive as Counsellors. Loly Rico has been elected CCR Vice President, Rick Goldman - formerly co-chair of the Inland Protection Working group - has been elected as Secretary, while Yasmine Dossal has been re-elected Treasurer. We look forward to working with you all!
 
The Overseas Protection and Sponsorship Working Group would like to thank outgoing chair Mary Purkey for her efforts and welcomes Rose Dekker, who will co-chair the Working Group with Jennifer Mpungu.
 
Chantal Tie was elected Co-Chair of the Inland Protection Working Group and will lead the Working Group with Debbie Hill-Corrigan.
 
The Immigration and Settlement Working Group is seeking candidates for co-chair, to replace Debbie Douglas who has provided strong leadership for the group, over many years. 
 
For a ‘Who’s who?’ of CCR Executive members and Working Group co-chairs, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/executive-committee-and-working-group-chairs
 
 
The Dancer - La danseuseAre you looking to give someone a unique gift?  Consider making a donation to the CCR in their honour - a great way to acknowledge someone and at the same time help protect refugees.  For donations of $30 or more, the CCR will send an attractive card to the honouree.

The form is available at
http://ccrweb.ca/sites/ccrweb.ca/files/donation_honouren2010.pdf

The card and design have been donated.  Many thanks to the artist, Rebert Damour, and the printer,
www.imaginativeimaging.com, and to the CCR members who made it possible: Sylvain Thibault of the Montreal City Mission and Yasmine Dossal of COSTI in Toronto.
 
 
-          CCR Annual Report 2009 - 2010
 
CCR Annual Report 2009 - 2010This booklet provides highlights of activities and events over the past year, as well as the state of the CCR’s financial health. It is available online at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/annualreport2010
 
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