Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 9 #1, 1 April 2014

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Vol. 9 no. 1, 1 April 2014

In this issue:

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  • Exclusion from refugee protection: hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of CanadaOn March 25, the Supreme Court of Canada heard a case concerning the definition of a refugee. The CCR is an intervener in the case, represented by Pia Zambelli, Catherine Dauvergne and Angus Grant.  The Court is considering who should be excluded from refugee protection on the basis of serious non-political crimes. The CCR argued that Canada has been broadening this exclusion clause beyond what the Convention refugee definition allows, with the result that refugees are wrongly denied protection, on the basis of crimes that are not very serious.

You can read the Supreme Court’s summary of the case (Febles) at http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/info/sum-som-eng.aspx?cas=35215.
 
The arguments of the CCR (and other interveners) are available here: http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/info/fac-mem-eng.aspx?cas=35215.

A video recording of the hearing can be viewed http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/info/webcast-webdiffusion-eng.aspx?cas=35215

  • Canada’s commitment to Syrian refugees

The headlines may have moved on, but Canada’s commitment to resettle Syrian refugees is still making the papers. Last July the Canadian government announced a commitment to resettle 1,300 refugees from the conflict in Syria by the end of 2014 (200 sponsored by the government and 1,100 to be sponsored by private groups), but only 10 arrived in Canada in 2013.
 
The UNHCR has recently requested countries that resettle refugees to commit 100,000 spots for the most vulnerable refugees fleeing Syria by the end of 2016. The Canadian government has yet to respond.
 
Together with the Canadian Syrian Council, the CCR has asked the Canadian government to adopt measures to: speed up resettlement processing for refugees fleeing Syria, accommodate Syrians living in Canada temporarily and to offer (at least) temporary measures for refugees fleeing Syria with ties to Canada.
 
For comments from the CCR regarding the resettlement of refugees fleeing Syria:
 
Call for immigration measures to respond to the Syrian crisis, 11 September 2013: http://ccrweb.ca/en/news-release/2013-09-11
 
For related media articles:
 
Winnipeg Free Press, Syrian refugees' obstacles decried, 1 April 2014: http://ccrweb.ca/en/syrian-refugees-obstacles-decried

Toronto Star, Slow progress raises doubts about government’s Syrian refugee pledge, 18 March 2014: http://ccrweb.ca/en/slow-progress-raises-doubts-about-governments-syrian-refugee-pledge
 
CTV News, Shockingly low numbers of Syrian refugees in Canada despite government’s pledge, 17 March 2014: http://ccrweb.ca/en/shockingly-low-number-syrian-refugees-canada-despite-governments-pledge
 
CBC News, Canada falling behind on promise to Syria’s refugees, 10 March 2014: http://ccrweb.ca/en/canada-falling-behind-promise-syrias-refugees

  • This Refugee Rights Day start your Walk with refugees for a stronger Canada

Proud to Protect RefugeesRefugee Rights Day (4 April) is just days away, and we invite you to mark it in two ways: Find out how you can organize a walk – big or small – in June 2014.
Reach out to local community groups who might want to get involved.
Sign up to take part in the national Walk planning meeting on 10 April – send an email to refugeewalk@ccrweb.ca to reserve your spot. Space is limited, so sign up early!

For more information, check out our Refugee Rights Day webpage.
 
Click here for more information about the Proud to Protect Refugees campaign and the Walk with Refugees for a Stronger Canada
 
  • Join us for Gateways to hope, pathways to belonging: CCR Spring Consultation, Halifax, 29-31 May 2014

Despite the extended period cold and snow, spring is just around the corner – and so is our Consultation in Halifax!

On the theme of Gateways to hope, pathways to belonging, the conference will put the reflections and journeys of newcomers front and centre. Join us to explore questions affecting refugee protection and newcomer settlement, so that we can build stronger and more welcoming communities together!
 
Some of the workshop topics include:
  • Changes to citizenship in Canada
  • Housing issues across Canada
  • Protection-based refugee resettlement
  • A strategy session on health issues
  • Forced return
  • Global migrant justice organizing
… and many more
 
Information about the consultation and online registration are available at: ccrweb.ca/meetings 

Register before 9 May to take advantage of the reduced fees!
 
About CCR Consultations:
CCR consultations address issues of refugee protection and immigrant and refugee settlement. Bringing together more than 300 people from across Canada and beyond, they offer key opportunities for information exchange, networking, strategy development and discussion. Participants include refugees, immigrants, representatives of NGOs, government, UNHCR, academics, community workers, youth advocates and international guests.
People who work with newcomers and those with a personal interest in refugees and immigrants are warmly invited, especially youth.
The consultation is an excellent opportunity to:
  • Meet and learn from experts in the field
  • Gain professional training and strategize on a wide range of topics
  • Exchange information and prepare action plans on a broad range of issues
  • Discuss community engagement to support the full participation of newcomers in Canadian society.
  • 35 Journeys

Because refugees are part of my communityAs the CCR celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, we are working on a special fundraising initiative that seeks to also highlight the valuable contributions that immigrants and refugees make to Canadian communities.
 
We are looking for 35 individuals who came to Canada as refugees or immigrants and are now able to give back to make a donation of $500 to the CCR
 
We are inviting these donors to have their story and reflections profiled on the CCR website and during our next consultation in Halifax.
 
Would you or someone you know like to celebrate your own journey and contribute to keeping Canada a place of welcome for today`s refugees and immigrants?
 
Refugees and immigrants are a part of Canadian communities; consider supporting the CCR to ensure the doors are kept open to newcomers today.
 
If you are interested in making a donation and sharing your story, or if you know someone who would be interested, please contact Simran Chahal, Fundraising Coordinator, at schahal@ccrweb.ca or (514) 277-7223.
  • New from the CCR:


    - Submission to Parliament on Bill C-24 (changes to Citizenship Act)

    Click here to read the full text of the CCR's submission and recommendations on proposed changes to the Citizenship Act.


    - Did you know...? Facts about refugees and refugee claimants in Canada

    Click here for updated and expanded mythbusting resources to browse and share

Upcoming Meetings

Spring Consultation 2014, Thursday 29 May - Saturday 31 May, Halifax

Youth Action Gathering 2014, Thursday 21 August - Saturday 23 August, Toronto

Summer Working Group meetings, Friday, 5 September and Saturday, 6 September 2014, Montreal

Fall Consultation 2014, Thursday, 27 November - Saturday, 29 November 2014, Gatineau

Upcoming Virtual Meetings


Thursday 10 April: Walk with refugees for a stronger Canada planning meeting

Wednesday 7 May: Working with media at your Walk with refugees for a stronger Canada

RSVP to refugeewalk@ccrweb.ca to sign up. Space is limited, so register early!