Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 3 #7, 4 November 2008

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CONTENTS:

a) Take Action! - Urgent resettlement needed for refugee detained at Guantanamo: Djamel Ameziane

b) Eliminating the burden of transportation loans: Call for government responsibility

c) Join the CCR in Building a Home of Justice for Refugees and Immigrants: Fall Consultation

d) Youth travel subsidy for the CCR Fall Consultation

e) Celebrate 30 Years of the CCR: Come to the 30th Anniversary Gala

f) Applications for the Amina Malko Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program

g) New Resources from the CCR

  • Guantanamo detainees webpage – Action for Djamel Ameziane
  • Eliminating the burden of transportation loans on refugees: profiles
  • Annual Report: The CCR in 2007-2008

a) Take Action! - Urgent resettlement needed for refugee detained at Guantanamo: Djamel Ameziane

The CCR together with other human rights groups is urging Canada to offer refugee resettlement without delay to Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian who has been unlawfully detained for more than six years at Guantanamo and who has strong ties to Canada as he previously lived in Montreal and has a brother living in Canada. The Anglican Diocese of Montreal has applied to resettle Mr. Ameziane through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

Mr. Ameziane was sent to Guantanamo after he was sold to the U.S. by bounty hunters in 2001. He has been imprisoned there without charge or a fair hearing for more than six and a half years and has never been alleged by the U.S. government to have engaged in any acts of terrorism or hostilities.

He has been subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment during his imprisonment, and was held in solitary confinement in a small windowless cell for over a year. He cannot be returned to Algeria because of a risk of serious human rights violations, based on the stigma of having been suspected of terrorism related activities and detained in Guantanamo.

Join the CCR in taking action on behalf of Djamel. Write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and press the government to process Djamel Ameziane’s application for resettlement on an urgent basis.

Suggestions for a letter, along with more information on Djamel Ameziane’s case, are available at www.ccrweb.ca/guantanamo.htm

b) Eliminating the burden of transportation loans: Call for government responsibility

Each year Canada opens its doors to resettle thousands of refugees in need of safety and a permanent home.  But did you know that the Canadian government expects resettled refugees to pay back the costs of their transportation and their medical exams?  By having resettled refugees sign for loans before coming to Canada, refugee families are forced into debt, in addition to dealing with the challenges of adapting to a new country.  

Having to repay transportation loans places a significant burden on refugees and their families.  It affects their ability to integrate.  It prevents them from meeting their full potential in their new home.
Join the campaign to demand the elimination of transportation loans and the relief of this burden on resettled refugees in Canada.  Given the costs involved, the Canadian government can easily afford to absorb these transportation loans without decreasing the number of refugees resettled to Canada each year.

For more information and to take action, check out the campaign webpage at: www.ccrweb.ca/transportationloans.htm

 c) Join the CCR in Building a Home of Justice for Refugees and Immigrants: Fall Consultation

From 27 to 29 November 2008, people concerned with refugee and immigrant rights from across Canada will be gathering in Toronto for the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Fall 2008 Consultation. 
  The consultation is an excellent opportunity for all interested to exchange ideas on barriers refugees and newcomers to Canada face before, at and after their arrival in Canada.  Consultation participants include: refugees, immigrants, representatives of NGOs, youth advocates, government, UNHCR, academics and international guests.
Consultation 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 and specific actions. 

Topics addressed at this consultation include:

  • Examining the impact of refugee resettlement on those left behind
  • Addressing power relations between ourselves and those we serve
  • Providing services to trafficked persons
  • Respecting the rights of temporary workers
  • Building local media strategies to raise issues affecting refugees and immigrants
  • Pushing for Canada’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Providing psychosocial support for torture survivors

...and many more
Information about the consultation and online registration forms are available at: www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/meetings.htm  Register before 7 November to take advantage of the reduced fees!  Hurry – there are just a few days left!

d) Youth travel subsidy for the CCR Fall Consultation

Funding is available to cover travel and accommodation costs for some youth participants to Toronto for the CCR Fall Consultation '30 Years of Building a Home of Justice for Refugees and Immigrants' from 27 - 29 November 2008. 
Application forms to apply for this subsidy program can be found on the Canadian Council for Refugees website at: www.ccrweb.ca/consult/applicationyouth.doc 
Deadline for applications is Thursday, November 6th.  Applications can be submitted by email at: cfrench@ccrweb.ca or by fax to: (514) 277-1447.  Please share this information with people who may be interested!
Information about the CCR Fall Consultation '30 Years of Building a Home of Justice for Refugees and Immigrants', check out the Consultation webpage on the CCR website at: www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/meetings.htm

e) Celebrate 30 Years of the CCR: Come to the 30th Anniversary Gala

Thirty years ago, 23 people gathered at a meeting to form the Canadian Council for Refugees, out of a conviction that those who care about refugees need to work together to make sure they receive protection and a warm welcome in this country.  Thirty years later, the Canadian Council for Refugees, with its 180 organizational members, is well-established as a national voice for the protection of refugees in Canada and around the world, and for the settlement of refugees and immigrants. The CCR has earned a reputation as a forceful and effective advocate for refugees and other newcomers, especially the most vulnerable.
Join us for a gala dinner to celebrate the achievements of the Canadian Council for Refugees and strengthen the organization for the future.  The evening includes dinner, speakers, entertainment and fundraising activities.
Featuring:
Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
Mariatu Kamara and Susan McClelland, authors of ‘The Bite of the Mango’
Ruth Mathiang, rising star and recording artist of African music in Toronto
Tickets are $100 per person*, or $750 for an 8-person table.
*Tax receipts for $55 per ticket are available.
When: Thursday 27 November 2008, 6pm reception, 7pm dinner
Where: Liberty Grand, 25 British Columbia Road, Toronto
For more information about the gala, see: www.ccrweb.ca/30anniv/gala.pdf  

Order gala tickets online at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/gala

f) Applications for the Amina Malko Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program

Do you know someone with refugee experience 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 2009 application processes for the CCR Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program are now open. Information and application forms for these programs are available at:
- Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund:
www.ccrweb.ca/documents/aminamalko.htm
- Refugee Leadership Development Program
www.ccrweb.ca/documents/RLDP.htm
Application deadline: Thursday, December 11th.  Completed applications should be submitted to the CCR office by email to jdench@ccrweb.ca, by fax to 514-277-1447, or by mail to 6839A Drolet #302, Montréal QC, H2S 2T1.

g) New Resources from the CCR

- Guantanamo detainees webpage – action for Djamel Ameziane

The CCR has created a web space dedicated to urging the Canadian government to resettle Guantanamo detainees like Djamel Ameziane (see item a) above), who are in need of urgent protection.  In the coming months we will be asking CCR members to support and take action on behalf of other Guantanamo detainees as other applications for resettlement to Canada proceed through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
For more information and updates, keep checking: www.ccrweb.ca/guantanamo.htm

- Eliminating the burden of transportation loans on refugees: profiles and campaign webpage

Looking for resources and background information on the burden of transportation loans?  Asking how you can pitch in?  Browse the CCR’s transportation loans campaign page for updates, background information, action ideas and much more!
These transportation loans are about more than money: they are about people who are facing tough realities.  For a glimpse into some of their lives, read the profiles of individuals and families affected by the repayment of transportation loans and share them with others.  You’ll find the book of profiles at: www.ccrweb.ca/documents/loansEN.pdf and on the Transportation Loans webpage.
For more information on eliminating the burden of transportation loans on refugees, check out the campaign webpage at: www.ccrweb.ca/transportationloans.htm

- Annual Report:  The Canadian Council for Refugees in 2007-2008

This 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: www.ccrweb.ca/documents/annualreport.pdf and will be available in print shortly.