Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 4 #1, 1 April 2009

Printer-friendly version

***
CONTENTS:

  1. Canadian Government should Resettle Palestinian Refugees from Iraq
  2. Contact your Member of Parliament!: Refugee Appeal Division bill before Parliament
  3. Refugee and Immigrant Children’s Rights in Canada
  4. 40 Years of the Refugee Convention in Canada
  5. April 4th is Refugee Rights Day: Stand up for Refugee Rights
  6. Make plans to attend the CCR Spring Consultation in Quebec City, 28-30 May 2009
  7. New from the CCR:
    • Statelessness and Canada: An introduction
    • 40th anniversary of Canada signing the Refugee Convention (1969 - 2009)
    • Now on YouTube – Hidden Costs: Paying back refugee transportation loans

-----

  1. Canadian Government should Resettle Palestinian Refugees from Iraq

Palestinian refugee childrenThe Canadian Council for Refugees is calling on the federal government to resettle some of the Palestinian refugees forced out of Iraq but denied asylum anywhere else.  The refugees are stranded in dangerous camps on the Syria-Iraq border, waiting for a country to accept them for resettlement.

The Palestinian refugees fled killings, kidnappings, torture and death threats in Iraq, but unlike Iraqi refugees have not been allowed into neighbouring countries to seek asylum.  Last September, the UN issued a special flash appeal urging countries to offer resettlement to these stranded refugees. 

Last November, the CCR wrote urging Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney to respond favourably to the UN appeal.  No reply has yet been received.  In practice, the Canadian government is not resettling any of the Palestinian refugees through the government assistance program, although Canadian groups may respond through the private sponsorship program.

For more information, see media release, http://ccrweb.ca/en/bulletin/09/03/25.
 

For media coverage, see: Palestinians left out of refugee policy, advocates claim, The Toronto Star, 26 March 2009. http://www.thestar.com/article/608487

  1. Contact your Member of Parliament!: Refugee Appeal Division bill before Parliament

Refugee Appeal DivisionBill C-291 on the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division is now at second reading in Parliament.  This is an important time to convince Members of Parliament to pass the bill quickly.

Here are some new and updated resources to help you take action:

    For organizations - another way to take action:
    Fill out this formal endorsement of Bill C-291 to encourage Members of Parliament to vote in favour of the appeal for refugees, as requested by MP Thierry St-Cyr, who is sponsoring the Bill in the House of Commons. Send it to Mr St-Cyr at the address listed.  He will use endorsements from organizations to call on MPs to vote in favour of Bill C-291.


    Background information
    The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act approved by Parliament in 2001 created the Refugee Appeal Division. However in 2002, the government implemented the Act but not the sections that give refugee claimants the right to appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division.
    For nearly seven years, refugee claimants in Canada have been denied the appeal that Parliament granted them in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Instead their fate is determined by a single decision maker in a system never approved by Parliament.  Correcting this injustice is long overdue.


    The previous Parliament voted to force the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division. Both the House of Commons (in 2007) and the Senate (in 2008) approved Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act calling for the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division.

    However, the bill did not become law because the House still needed to approve the amendments made by the Senate when the 2008 elections were called. The text of Bill C-291 is the same as the previous Bill C-280 as amended by the Senate.


    For more information on the Refugee Appeal Division and what you can do, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/eng/campaigns/RADaction.htm

    1. Refugee and Immigrant Children’s Rights in Canada

    Canada has been examined twice by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on its compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and is currently due for its third examination.
    In its previous reports, the Committee on the Rights of the Child highlighted a number of areas in which Canada falls short with respect to refugee and immigrant children.

    Despite the UN recommendations, many of the problems noted persist today.  The CCR has written to ask the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to study these issues.

    Join the CCR in asking the Standing Committee to put refugee and immigrant children on their agenda.
    Please send a letter to the Committee supporting the CCR’s request and emphasizing the need for policy changes to better protect the rights of refugee and immigrant children.  Send your letter to the Committee clerk at cimm@parl.gc.ca.  For committee information, go to http://tinyurl.com/c4cfvc.

    For a document summarizing the past comments of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and outstanding concerns, see: www.ccrweb.ca/documents/CRC2009EN.htm

    1. 40 Years of the Refugee Convention in Canada

    RefugeeConvention40thAnniversaryIn 2009, the CCR invites you to mark the 40th anniversary of the Refugee Convention in Canada using the theme ‘Recognizing success, Acting for change’. 

    On 4 June 1969, Canada signed the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the Refugee Convention), 18 years after it was adopted by the United Nations.

    Canadians can be proud of the many accomplishments in protecting refugees over the past 40 years, but there is still a lot to do.

    For highlights of past successes and suggested actions, see 40th Anniversary of Canada signing the Refugee Convention (http://ccrweb.ca/sites/ccrweb.ca/files/40thanniversaryRefugeeConvention.pdf), a two-page factsheet.  Or use the Publications order form - http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/publicationsorderform.pdf - to order colour copies from the CCR office.

    'Take Action' idea!: Why not use this factsheet and suggested actions as part of Refugee Rights Day in Canada, this April 4th?

    1. April 4th is Refugee Rights Day: Stand up for Refugee Rights

    RRDay2009April 4, 1985 was a milestone for refugee rights in Canada.  On that day, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of refugee claimants in Canada to life, liberty and security of the person, and that claimants are therefore entitled to an oral hearing, in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.  This ruling is known as the ‘Singh decision’.

    In honour of this decision, April 4th is recognized as Refugee Rights Day in Canada.

    In 2009, the CCR invites you to use Refugee Rights Day to mark the 40th anniversary of the Refugee Convention in Canada using the theme ‘Recognizing success, Acting for change’.  Forty years ago, in June 1969, Canada signed the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the Refugee Convention).

    Canadians can be proud of the many accomplishments in protecting refugees over the past 40 years, but there is still a lot to do to ensure refugee rights are respected in Canada.  Check the CCR’s Refugee Rights Day webpage at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/RRDay.htm for a brief history of accomplishments and for quick action ideas.

    We encourage you to use the ideas to promote refugee rights in your local area on or around April 4th.

    For a brochure on Refugee Rights Day and what the Singh decision means for refugees in Canada, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/RRDAYpamphletEN.pdf

    1. Make plans to attend the CCR Spring Consultation in Quebec City, 28-30 May 2009

    HardTimesENFrom 28 - 30 May 2009, people concerned for refugee and immigrant rights from across Canada will be gathering in Quebec City for the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Spring 2009 Consultation.

     

     

    Take advantage of this opportunity to:

    • Learn about the latest developments on issues affecting refuges and immigrants
    • Discuss with others experienced in refugee and immigrant integration issues in Quebec and from across Canada.
    • Gain professional training and strategize on a wide range of topics on refugee protection, refugee sponsorship and refugee and immigrant settlement.
    • Meet more than 300 refugee and immigrant rights advocates and service providers from across Canada.
    • Participate in ongoing dialogue on refugee and immigration policy and programs.

    The consultation is an excellent opportunity for all interested to exchange ideas on barriers refugees and newcomers 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 to be addressed at the consultation include Housing and newcomers, Protracted refugee situations: the Canadian civil society response, Responding to refugees with medical needs, Combatting fraud targetting refugees and immigrants, Racialization of poverty, Children in detention, Temporary workers, Youth community orientation resources, and many more.

    Information about the consultation and online registration forms are now available at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/meetings.htm  Don’t forget to register before May 1st to take advantage of the reduced fees!

    Please help us to promote this Consultation by passing this invitation to people who might be interested in attending and by directing people to the consultation webpage at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/meetings.htm

    1. New from the CCR:
      • Statelessness and Canada: An introduction

    statelessnessWhat does it mean to be stateless?  Are there people who are stateless in Canada?  What should Canada do to address statelessness?

    The CCR has just published background information on statelessness and Canada, as well as recommendations to the Canadian government to address statelessness (including a recommendation to ratify the 1954 statelessness convention!).

    Use it as a primer for private sponsorship groups, Members of Parliament, staff serving refugees and immigrants and community members.  You’ll find it available online at http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/statelessnessprimerEN.pdf

      • 40th anniversary of Canada signing the Refugee Convention (1969 - 2009)

      40th anniversaryAs part of activities to highlight the 40th anniversary of Canada’s signing of the Refugee Convention in 1969, the CCR has published a factsheet highlighting past successes and suggested actions to uphold refugee rights in Canada
      You’ll find the document 40th Anniversary of Canada signing the Refugee Convention online at: http://ccrweb.ca/sites/ccrweb.ca/files/40thanniversaryRefugeeConvention.pdf
      You can also use the Publications order form - http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/publicationsorderform.pdf - to order colour copies from the CCR office.

        • Now on YouTube – Hidden Costs: Paying back refugee transportation loans

        HiddenCostsThe film Hidden Costs: Paying back the refugee transportation loan is available on YouTube.  It has been divided into 3 video clips for easy-viewing access.  Share them with friends, colleagues, your Member of Parliament and many others.

        View the videos online at the links below, or on the CCR's transportation loans webpage at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/transportationloans.htm

        Part I - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDQW6qJYZ74
        Part II - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-Jp_Vq3rQE
        Part III - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKWl4A1k-Ig

        Use this new video resource to take action on Saturday, April 4th – Refugee Rights Day.  See the Refugee Rights Day webpage at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/RRDay.htm for suggestions to campaign to end the burden of transportation loans for refugees.

        -----