Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 6 #7, 1 November 2011

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CONTENTS:

Current issue and campaign pages:

a) New report highlights harsh impacts of DNA tests

b) Repeal of source country class

c) Proposed new proof of language requirement for citizenship

d) The CCR Youth Network Hits the Streets. Join them!

e) Register before November 4th for the upcoming CCR Consultation, Montreal, 24 - 26 November 2011

f) For refugee participants – Apply now to the 2012 Amina Malko Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program

g) Resources from the CCR

- DNA report

- Online events calendar at ccrweb.ca

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a) New report highlights harsh impacts of DNA tests

DNA Tests: A barrier to speedy family reunificationIn mid-October, the CCR released a new report, DNA tests: a barrier to speedy family reunification.

A request for DNA testing is a significant barrier faced by some families applying to reunite in Canada – this happens when a Canadian official does not believe that the family relationship has been adequately proven.

Demands for DNA testing are causing hardships for some families, especially those who cannot afford the test or who have already been waiting years to be reunited. Most troubling of all is the impact on children, kept separated from their parents. DNA requests are predominantly requested from people in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Refugee families are also disproportionately affected.

Supported by case examples, the report looks at some of the situations in which DNA testing is required and the impacts on families, because of the long delays and the expense.

In the report, the CCR calls on the Canadian government to:

  • Review current practices relating to DNA testing and their impacts on affected families.
  • Adopt clear guidelines designed to ensure that DNA testing is only used as a last resort

Download and read the complete report at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/dna-tests

b) Repeal of source country class

On 7 October, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced the end of the Source Country Class of Humanitarian-protected Persons Abroad effectively immediately.

This means that people facing persecution will no longer have the opportunity to be resettled to Canada directly from their home country. Canada was one of the few countries to offer such a program, which spares people at risk dangerous border crossings and the need to turn to smugglers in order to escape.

This announcement follows CIC’s March 2011 proposal to eliminate the Source Country Class.

The Source Country Class is one of three refugee classes through which people facing persecution can be selected overseas for resettlement in Canada. It is the only class that applies to people who are still in their country of origin.

The CCR’s comments on the proposed elimination of the Source Country Class are at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/comments-proposed-elimination-source-country-class.

The regulatory change was published in the Canada Gazette at: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2011/2011-10-26/html/sor-dors222-eng.html

To read the CIC bulletin announcing the repeal of the Source Country Class, see: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2011/ob347.asp

c) Proposed new proof of language requirement for citizenship

The government has recently published in the Canada Gazette a notice of intent to change the regulations to require applicants for citizenship to submit with their citizenship application a proof of English or French competence.

The CCR is concerned that this could represent a barrier to citizenship for some people, including refugees. Some applicants, such as survivors of torture, may have particular challenges learning a language. Others may speak English or French, but have difficulty paying for the language test.

The CCR is developing comments on the proposal.

You can read the Canada Gazette notice here: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2011/2011-10-15/html/notice-avis-eng.html

The deadline for providing comments is Monday November 14.

d) The CCR Youth Network Hits the Streets! Join them!

Children and Youth RightsThis fall, the CCR Youth Network is organizing flashmobs across Canada to raise awareness about the fact that Canada is not respecting the rights of non-citizen children and youth. The time to act is now: the United Nations is getting ready to examine Canada on its respect of children’s rights.

We want to:

  • Raise the volume on Canada’s lack of respect of non-citizen children and youth rights
  • Encourage people to sign a petition demanding concrete changes.
  • Meet with Canadian MPs to give them petition signatures and demand that they speak up in Parliament for change.

Flashmobs are already being planned in Vancouver, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Kitchener, Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton and St John’s. Join a group or start one in your city! For more information on how to get involved: http://ccrweb.ca/en/youthrights/flash-mob

In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be launching a series of YouTube videos that explain our demands. Stay tuned and subscribe to: http://youtube.com/ccrwebvideos

A new resource is now available for your actions on children's rights: Right in principle, right in practice, by the Canadian Coalition on the Rights of Children, available at: http://rightsofchildren.ca/. The CCR contributed to the report's section on refugee and immigrant children.

We look forward to seeing you on the street in November!

e) Register before November 4th for the upcoming CCR Consultation, Montreal, 24 - 26 November 2011

Consultation du CCRFrom 24-26 November 2011, refugee and immigrant rights advocates from across Canada will be gathering in Montreal for the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) 2011 Fall Consultation on the theme Protecting Refugee Rights: The importance of independence

The Consultation will together more than 300 people from across Canada and beyond, they offer key opportunities for information exchange, networking, and strategy development. Participants include refugees, immigrants, representatives of NGOs, government, UNHCR, academics, community workers, youth advocates and international guests.

CCR consultations are designed to move from issues to action. Discussions will address issues that challenge refugees, immigrants, advocates and community workers.  In addition to larger plenary sessions, workshops and working sessions will produce strategies for further collaboration, specific actions and policy recommendations. Some of the topics include:

  • Mental Health of Newcomers
  • Political Change and Refugees: Focus on the Arab Spring
  • Impacts of Detention
  • Mining and Forced Displacement
  • Migrant workers – the view from Quebec
  • Family Reunification and the Impacts of Prolonged Separation

… and much more. For a list of sessions and short descriptions, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/workshops_nov2011

Everyone is welcome to participate. Information about the Consultation and online registration forms are available at: http://ccrweb.ca/meetings.

Register before 4 November for reduced fees!

National Networking Meeting on Trafficking

Representatives of NGOs involved in work on trafficking are invited to a National Networking Meeting on Trafficking on Wednesday, November 23rd 2011. A day before the Consultation, this meeting will provide a forum for information-exchange and strategizing on protection, awareness-raising and services to trafficked persons. More information and online registration forms for the meeting are available at http://ccrweb.ca/en/trafficking-meeting-2011 and http://ccrweb.ca/en/registration-trafficking-meeting-2011.

f) For refugee participants – Apply now to the 2012 Amina Malko Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program

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 2012 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: Friday, December 9th. Please pass on this information to those who are affiliated with a CCR member organization and who are interested in applying.

g) CCR resources

 - DNA Tests: A barrier to speedy family reunification

DNA TestsDemands for DNA testing are causing significant hardships for some families, especially those who cannot afford the test or who have already been waiting years to be reunited. Most troubling of all is the impact on children, kept separated from their parents. This report makes recommendations to the Canadian government to review current practices relating to DNA testing and their impacts on affected families and to adopt clear guidelines designed to ensure that DNA testing is only used as a last resort.

To read this report: http://ccrweb.ca/sites/ccrweb.ca/files/dnatests.pdf

 

- Online events calendar at ccrweb.ca

 

By popular demand the CCR has set up an events calendar on its website where you can find out about events in Canada on refugee and immigration issues.

Check the calendar out at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/events-calendar. You can also access it from the CCR’s homepage.

Have an event to suggest? CCR members should log in and submit the online event form at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/node/add/eventlisting

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Looking for other ways to stay in touch with the CCR and refugee and immigration issues?  Subscribe to receive updates from the CCR on Twitter and Facebook:

To join the CCR on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ccrweb

To follow the CCR on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ccrweb

To view CCR videos on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ccrwebvideos