Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 3 #8, 8 December 2008

Printer-friendly version

***

Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 3 #8, 8 December 2008

CONTENTS:

  1. CCR joins international delegation to assess the situation of Palestinians from Iraq
  2. 30 Years of Building a Home of Justice for Refugees and Immigrants: Fall Consultation and Resolutions
  3. Applications for the Amina Malko Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program
  4. Ministerial instructions for priority processing of immigration applications
  5. New Resources from the CCR

            - 2008 Annual Status Report on Refugee and Immigrant Rights in Canada

  1. Faces of the CCR: Gloria Nafziger, Amnesty International Canada

-----

  1. CCR joins international delegation to assess the situation of Palestinians from Iraq

In November 2008, Gloria Nafziger of Amnesty International-Canada represented the Canadian Council for Refugees on an international NGO delegation visiting Palestinian refugees, who have been forced out of and stranded in camps in the Iraq-Syria border region.

Approximately 3,000 Palestinian refugees live in the three camps visited by the delegation,  Al Hol, Al Tanf and Al Waleed. 

They are in urgent need of resettlement to third countries such as Canada, because of the high degree of trauma, their lack of legal status, the refusal of neighbouring countries to grant asylum and poor conditions in the three camps.  The UNHCR has recently issued a Flash Appeal calling for the resettlement of Palestinians ex-Iraq.

Following the visit, the international NGO delegation made a number of concrete recommendations.  For example, Canada ‘should make a firm commitment to resettle Palestinians from Iraq and readily approve private sponsorship and family linked cases when such opportunities are available.’  The delegation challenges Canada to accept 50 cases from the camps for resettlement, including refugees with medical needs and the elderly.

The CCR has written to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration calling for Canada to resettle some of these Palestinians, through both the government-assisted and the private sponsorship programs.

Gloria’s trip to Syria brings attention to the needs of Palestinians fleeing conflict in Iraq and is part of the CCR’s broader campaign for a more effective response to the Iraqi refugee crisis.  For more information about this campaign, please see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/iraq.htm

And what can CCR members and allies do? 

  • Organizations involved in refugee sponsorship are encouraged to consider sponsoring families and individuals from these camps. 
  • CCR members and allies are asked to write letters to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and the Prime Minister about the urgent need to respond to the crisis facing those displaced from Iraq, including through the resettlement of Palestinians fleeing Iraq.  A model letter is available at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/iraqiletter.htm

For the summary report from the International NGO Delegation that visited the region, see:
www.ccrweb.ca/documents/reportpalestinians.htm

To view a slide presentation about Palestinian refugees stranded on the Iraq-Syria border, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/view/palestinians

For news about the recent assessment mission to the Iraq-Syria border region and Gloria’s experience, see: ‘The forgotten victims of Iraq war’, The Toronto Star, 23 November 2008, http://www.thestar.com/article/541960

  1. 30 Years of Building a Home of Justice for Refugees and Immigrants: Fall Consultation and Resolutions

From 27 to 29 November 2008, people concerned with refugee and immigrant rights from across Canada gathered in Toronto for the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Fall 2008 Consultation. 

In addition to celebrating the CCR’s 30 Years of Building a Home of Justice for Refugees and Immigrants with a gala evening and in a variety of other ways, consultation participants engaged with a wide range of topics affecting immigrants and refugees. A brief summary report of workshops will be prepared and be posted on the CCR recent information page, http://ccrweb.ca/eng/issues/recentinfo.htm

In the meantime, you may be interested in the resolutions adopted by CCR members, available at: http://ccrweb.ca/documents/resnov08.htm.  Resolutions addressed protection and services for trafficked persons and the definition of trafficking; a call for a Canadian Commissioner for the Rights of Children; maintaining resettlement for Colombian refugees through the Source Country class; the human rights crisis in Somalia; and the need for advocacy and training on trans issues.

You can also read the remarks made by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, at the opening plenary: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/speeches/2008/2008-11-27.asp

The CCR would like to thank the outgoing members of the CCR Executive Committee for their valuable work: Jamila Aman (Treasurer), Simbo Conteh (Secretary), Nicholas Dubé, and Nancy Doray (Counsellors).

The CCR welcomes those elected to the Executive at the AGM: Lisa Wyndels (Secretary), Yasmine Dossal (Treasurer), Oana Grigorescu, Gloria Nafziger and Jeremias Tecu (Counsellors).  We look forward to working with you!

The Overseas Protection Working Group thanks out-going chair Yosief Araya for his efforts and welcomes Mary Purkey, who will co-chair the Working Group with Heather Macdonald.

Thanks also to Rick Goldman who will continue to co-chair the Inland Protection Working Group with Debbie Hill-Corrigan. 

  1. 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?  Share this opportunity for representatives of CCR member organizations to participate in CCR Consultations and activities, through the Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program.  The application deadline for both programs is Thursday, December 11th

Information and application forms for these programs are available at:

- Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund
The Amina Malko Participation Fund offers funding to assist two or three refugees in participating in three CCR meetings in 2009. The funding covers air/train fare to the meetings and accommodation (but not other costs such as food or ground transportation).  The registration fee will be waived. 

For more information, qualifications and application forms see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/aminamalko.htm

- Refugee Leadership Development Program
The Refugee Leadership Development Program promotes strong representation of people with a refugee experience in positions of volunteer leadership within the CCR.  The program is intended to encourage refugees to aspire to leadership and support them as they prepare for leadership roles.  The program builds on the CCR’s longstanding commitment to promoting refugee participation within all levels of the organization.

For more information, qualifications and application forms, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/RLDP.htm

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.

  1. Ministerial instructions for priority processing of immigration applications

On 28 November, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced the instructions for the priority processing of skilled worker applications in 38 fields, as well as the immigration levels for 2009.  The power to issue instructions was granted to the Minister through amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) adopted by Parliament earlier this year. 

For the CCR’s concerns regarding the changes in legislation including ministerial instructions, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/c50faq.htm

For the complete list of instructions from the Minister, see: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/backgrounders/2008/2008-11-28a.asp

For the official announcement from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), see: ‘Minister Kenney announces immigration levels for 2009; Issues instructions on processing federal skilled workers’, 28 November 2008, http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2008/2008-11-28.asp

For news coverage of the Minister’s announcement, see:
‘Tories Limit Immigration Based on Job Skills’, The Embassy, 3 December 2008, http://www.embassymag.ca/page/view/tories_limited-12-3-2008

The Annual Report to Parliament including levels for 2009 is available at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/annual-report2008/in...

  1. New Resources from the CCR

- 2008 Annual Status Report on Refugee and Immigrant Rights in Canada

This report gives an overview of how the Canadian federal government has addressed refugee and immigration issues from November 2007 to October 2008 from the perspective of the CCR.  We recommend using this resource (with or without the references) in your public education efforts and when communicating with the media on refugee and immigrant rights in Canada.

The Annual Status Report is available at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/ASR2008en.pdf

  1. Faces of the CCR: Gloria Nafziger, Amnesty International Canada, Toronto ON

Gloria NafzigerAfter more than twenty years of working with refugees and refugee claimants in Canada, Gloria Nafziger stills finds it a breath of fresh air to work with people ‘who have been to hell and back’ and who can find the courage to rebuild their lives in Canada.  Originally trained as a social worker, Gloria is now a refugee coordinator with Amnesty International Canada – English-speaking section.

Gloria has recently returned from the Iraq-Syria border region where she met with Palestinians fleeing Iraq and in desperate need of resettlement to third countries such as Canada.  ‘The opportunity to see situations of flight firsthand keeps the realities alive and real’.  The most powerful images for Gloria on her recent trip were of the children that she met: at once both helpless victims of conflict and statelessness and hopeful for the future, with a chance for status and stability in countries like Canada.

Gloria has been active in the CCR for the past fifteen years and is looking forward to taking her participation with the CCR to a new level.  At the end of November, she was elected as a Counsellor on the CCR Executive Committee for a two-year term.