Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 8 #5, 3 September 2013

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CCR Chronicle

Vol. 8 no. 5, 3 September 2013

In this issue:

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  1. A Step Forward: Supreme Court clarifies standards of refugee protection and exclusion

In July the CCR welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision in Ezokola v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration). The decision brings Canada into line with international standards on when people can be excluded from refugee protection. The CCR was an intervener in the case.
 
In recent years many refugees have been excluded from refugee protection in Canada not because they committed any crimes themselves, but because of a group they were considered to be associated with. The Ezokola decision corrects a faulty Canadian interpretation of the international refugee definition, which resulted in innocent people being denied protection and wrongly labelled “war criminals”. The Supreme Court’s ruling means that refugees will no longer be excluded from protection based on simple suspicion of crimes or based on the criminal acts of a group they belong to, without them personally being guilty of any crime.
 
Useful links
CCR statement welcoming the decision
Supreme Court decision Ezokola v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration)

  1. Towards a thirty year low in refugees accepted in Canada?

Statistics show a dramatic downturn in the number of refugees being accepted by Canada. There are fewer refugees making claims, fewer refugee claims being accepted and fewer refugees being resettled.
 
Refugee claims in Canada are dramatically down in the first half of 2013, 50% less than last year. At the current rate, there will be fewer claims in Canada in 2013 than in any year since the early 1980s. There were 4,558 claims referred in the first 6 months of 2013.
 
Furthermore, of those claims determined in the first six months of 2013, only 33% were accepted - the lowest rate of acceptance since the creation of the Immigration and Refugee Board in 1989.
 
2012 also saw a dramatic decrease in the number of refugees resettled to Canada. Contrary to recent government promises to resettle more refugees, it was the second lowest number resettled in over 30 years. There are indications that resettlement numbers will be low in 2013 as well.
 
The CCR urges the government to keep its international commitments to protect refugees by:
  • Re-establishing a fair and accessible refugee process, where all claimants have a full and equal chance to make their case, without discrimination on the basis of their country of origin.
  • Making Canada’s refugee resettlement program able to resettle refugees more quickly, especially when they have urgent protection needs.

  1. Kick off a new season of refugee rights at the CCR Summer Working Group meetings

CCR Working Group meetingsStart your fall off right! Participate in the CCR Working Group meetings in Montreal. On 6 and 7 September get up to speed on the latest news affecting refugees and immigrants in Canada. Contribute your ideas and experience to help build a positive vision of how we welcome newcomers to Canada.

Issues up for discussion:

  • Syrian Refugees: What is our role?
  • Valuing Canadian citizenship: Who gets in? How long is the wait?
  • Changes to Canada’s refugee resettlement programs: What it means for our communities
  • How to best support refugee claimants in the new environment
  • Next steps in the Proud to Protect Refugees Campaign

FRIDAY 6 SEPTEMBER

9:30am - 5pm: Overseas Protection & Sponsorship Working Group meeting


SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER

9:30am - 5pm: Inland Protection Working Group meeting
9:30am - 5pm: Immigration and Settlement Working Group meeting

The Working Group meetings are open to organizations and individuals interested in refugee and immigration issues in Canada; however, meetings are closed to media, and employees of government and political parties. Participation is free and there is no need to register.

Useful link
For agendas, location, directions and more, see: ccrweb.ca/meetings

  1. Show you are Proud to Protect Refugees this fall

Proud to Protect RefugeesThis fall show why you are Proud to Protect Refugees! During this season of change and thanksgiving share the benefits and contributions refugees and their families make to our communities. By giving a human face to social issues we can promote a positive vision of what we want for refugees in Canada and show why protecting and welcoming refugees is important.
 
Whether you are on your own or working as a group, get involved and change the conversation about refugees in Canada:
  • Adopt ‘Proud to Protect Refugees’ as a slogan and invite groups in your area to do the same
  • Talk to others about why you are proud to protect refugees, and why they should be too
  • Organize an event as part of the Action Week (10-17 November 2013)
  • Share facts and stories about refugees and their contributions
  • Order and share* buttons, stickers, posters and other Proud to Protect Refugees materials
  • Bust myths and misconceptions about refugees
*Order Proud to Protect Refugees campaign materials online: ccrweb.ca/en/resource-order-form

How are your group and community showing you are Proud to Protect Refugees? Let us know in an email to Colleen French at cfrench@ccrweb.ca We’re sharing inspiring ideas on our Proud to Protect Refugees action page.
 
About the Proud to Protect Refugees Campaign
Recent changes in Canada have increased negative talk and make it tougher for refugees and others to find protection and to feel welcome.
 
Let’s change the conversation. This is an opportunity to create long-term social change. Help promote a positive vision of what we want for refugees in Canada and of the important contributions refugees make to our communities. Promote respect for refugees and other seeking protection in Canada by sharing information and raising voices in your community.
 
For more information about Proud to Protect Refugees and how to get involved: http://ccrweb.ca/en/proud-to-protect-refugees

  1. Chair of Truth and Reconciliation Commission to open CCR Fall Consultation

The Honourable Justice Murray SinclairWe are pleased that the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, will open the CCR Fall Consultation. During his keynote address, he will put human rights violations into perspective. What can we do to redress rights violations of aboriginal peoples internationally and in Canada, specifically around the residential school experience?

Save the dates and make plans to join us for the CCR Fall Consultation from 28 to 30 November in Kitchener-Waterloo. Check our webpage for updates. Online registration will open in mid-September.

About CCR Consultations
CCR Consultations are held twice a year in different cities and address issues of refugee protection and immigrant and refugee settlement. They bring together 300 or more people from across Canada and beyond. Participants include refugees, immigrants, representatives of NGOs, government, UNHCR, academics and international guests. Everyone is welcome to participate.

The Consultation is an excellent opportunity to:
  • Meet and learn from experts in the field
  • Exchange information and prepare resolutions on a broad range of refugee and newcomer issues
  • Contribute to the CCR working groups’ ongoing dialogue on policy and legislation

Upcoming Meetings

Summer Working Group meetings, Friday, 6 September - Saturday, 7 September, Montreal
Fall Consultation, Thursday, 28 November - Saturday, 30 November, Kitchener-Waterloo

Upcoming Webinars


A new season of CCR webinars has started! Register now for these upcoming sessions to get up to speed on summer discussions on refugee resettlement.
 
Wednesday 4 September: Report from 2013 Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (ATCR): What can we learn?
 
Wednesday 6 November : Research on refugee resettlement (more information, registration to come soon)