Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 4 #8, 1 December 2009

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CONTENTS:

  1. Detention and Best Interests of the Child
  2. CCR Comments on Temporary Foreign Workers Program – proposed amendments
  3. Long delays at the Nairobi visa post– take action and write to the Minister
  4. Disturbing upsurge in rejections of Eritreans at the Cairo visa office
  5. Apply now!: Amina Malko Refugee Participation and Refugee Leadership Development Programs
  6. Are you Building Welcoming Communities? Come to the CCR Fall Consultation 3-5 December, Windsor
  7. Participate in the National Forum: Improving Services and Protection for Trafficked Persons, 2-3 December, Windsor
  8. Faces of the CCR: Mary Fiakpui, Catholic Social Services, Edmonton
  9. New from the CCR
    • Detention and Best Interests of the Child
    • Annual Report: The CCR in 2008-2009
    • Check out the CCR’s blog

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  1. Detention and Best Interests of the Child

Akin and momThe CCR has published a report, Detention and Best interests of the child, which shows that children are detained on a regular basis, with little meaningful consideration of their best interests.  Despite legislation that says that children are only to be detained as a measure of last resort, detention of children is by no means limited to exceptional circumstances.

You can read the Detention and Best Interests of the Child report at: http://ccrweb.ca/documents/detentionchildren.pdf.
You can also read the CCR’s first blog, which talks about the report, at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/children-detention

  1. CCR Comments on Temporary Foreign Workers Program – proposed amendments

temporary workersThe Canadian Council for Refugees has issued comments on the government’s proposed amendments to regulations on the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

The CCR continues to be deeply concerned at the dramatic shift towards temporary migration in recent years.  Workers on temporary visas are particularly vulnerable.  The CCR notes that the government’s proposed changes, while intended to ameliorate some aspects of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, fail to question the basic policy of relying on temporary migration to fill employers’ demand for labour.

The CCR believes Canada should refocus its immigration policy on permanent, not temporary, status.The CCR’s comments on the proposed regulatory amendments regarding the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) are available at:
http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/TFWregulationscomments.pdf
We encourage other organizations to make similar comments and/or endorse the CCR comments.  The deadline for making submissions is on or before 9 December 2009.  The proposed regulations (with details of who to send comments to) can be found at:
http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2009/2009-10-10/html/reg1-eng.html

For recent news articles about temporary foreign workers, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/mediatemporaryworkers

For more resources from the CCR on temporary foreign workers, see: http://ccrweb.ca/temporaryworkers.htm

  1. Long delays at the Nairobi visa post – take action and write to the Minister

C, Lia, JordanThe plight of many refugees has been featured in the media since the CCR released its report Nairobi: Protection Delayed, Protection denied.  The report highlights the extraordinarily long processing times at the Nairobi visa office and focuses on cases of refugee family reunification and privately sponsored refugees.

The extremely long processing times at Nairobi are unacceptable. Canada is failing in its human rights obligations towards children, who are being denied timely reunification with parents in Canada. Lives are being wasted – literally, in too many cases where applicants die while waiting for processing in insecure situations. Waiting times are too long at all visa posts, but the disproportionately long times for Africans processed through Nairobi is discriminatory in effect, even if not in intention.

Take this opportunity to write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, to endorse the CCR report and urge action.  The CCR is calling on the Canadian government to increase human and materials resources at Nairobi, increase processing targets allocated to Nairobi, and reduce the number of countries served by Nairobi by using or creating other visa posts in the region to take on some of Nairobi’s workload.

To read some of the stories in the media, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/medianairobi

For a model letter to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on the long delays in processing for refugees, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/nairobi-report-model-letter

To read the complete report Nairobi: Protection delayed, protection denied, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/Nairobireport.pdf

For the media release announcing the report, go to http://ccrweb.ca/en/bulletin/09/11/02 

  1. Disturbing upsurge in rejections of Eritreans at the Cairo visa office

The CCR recently expressed its concern about a pattern of refusals of Eritrean refugees applying in Cairo for resettlement to Canada.  The sudden upsurge in refusals, as well as the reasons for refusal, raise concerns about the quality of decision-making at the visa office.

Applications for judicial review in ten such cases were filed with the Federal Court on 27 November.The CCR is calling on the government to stop rejecting refugees at Cairo until the issues there are investigated.

For more information, read the media release, http://ccrweb.ca/en/bulletin/09/11/30

  1. Apply now!: Amina Malko Refugee Participation and Refugee Leadership Development Programs

Is your organization a member of the CCR?  Do you know someone with refugee experience involved with your group 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 application process for the 2010 CCR Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund and the Refugee Leadership Development Program is now open. Information and application forms for these programs are available at:

- Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/aminamalko.htm

- Refugee Leadership Development Program: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/RLDP.htm

Application deadline: Thursday, December 17th. Please pass on this information to those affiliated with a CCR member organization and who are interested in applying.

  1. Are you Building Welcoming Communities?  Come to the CCR Fall Consultation 3-5 December, Windsor

Building Welcoming CommunitiesFrom 3 to 5 December 2009, refugee and immigrant rights advocates from across Canada will be gathering in Windsor for the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Fall 2009 Consultation, on the theme Building Welcoming Communities.

The Consultation is a key opportunity to explore together how to build communities across Canada that are welcoming to refugees and immigrants. 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. 

Information about the Consultation and online registration forms are now available at: www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/meetings.htm 

To read some background materials that will be available before the Consultation, see:
http://ccrweb.ca/en/consultdec09

  1. Participate in the National Forum: Improving Services and Protection for Trafficked Persons, 2-3 December, Windsor

Protection?Held in conjunction with the CCR Fall Consultation, this two-day forum will bring together organizations and representatives from across Canada to exchange information and strategies on protection and services to trafficked persons.  Government and other interested stakeholders are also invited to participate in these meetings.

For more information and to register, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/traffickingforum.htm

For the proposed agenda of the Forum, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/traffickingforumagenda.htm

  1. Faces of the CCR: Mary Fiakpui, Catholic Social Services, Edmonton

MFiakpuiAs Program Manager at the Catholic Social Services (CSS) in Edmonton, Mary Fiakpui works closely with the CCR, and knew that the best way to learn more about the CCR was through direct experience as an executive member.  In 2007, Mary was elected to the Executive Committee. “What motivated me was that it is our tradition here at CSS to take an active role in the CCR”.

Looking back on her term as an executive member of the CCR, Mary knows she has enhanced her advocacy skills for immigrants and refugees and learned about inland and overseas protection.  Not only did she learn first hand the inner workings of the CCR, but also “saw people who are committed to issues of justice and oppression, people who are committed to advocating for those without a voice.  I was truly humbled by the dedication of the staff at the CCR office.  From very little space, they are able to motivate people across the nation to work towards the improvement of immigrant and refugee settlement work as well as improvement of refugee protection policies”.

Furthermore, Mary contributed to the success of a case brought to her in 2008, involving a family which had given up hope after thee years with no results. Mary brought the case to the CCR. “All we could do thereafter was to wait for a miracle to happen.  [The] CCR worked tirelessly, leaving no stone unturned and in no time, the miracle happened, the family was reunited with the child they had left behind”.  Within five months the case had been solved.

For whoever fills her shoes in 2010, Mary advises, “Go for it.  You will learn and grow in ways you never imagined.  You will get a lot of support in this growing process but you will have to be willing to sacrifice your time – for a good cause.”  And for anyone getting involved in the CCR at any level, Mary recommends “patience if things seem confusing at CCR at the beginning […] feel free to ask any questions […] this is work that is worth investing in because the learning one gets from CCR could not be bought from any university.”

With her enhanced knowledge, experience, and networks of resourceful people, Mary plans to continue supporting and promoting the work of CCR to the Edmonton community.

  1. New from the CCR
    • Detention and Best Interests of the Child

Children should not be held in immigration detention – or if they are, it should be a measure of last resort: this was the principle adopted by Canadian Parliamentarians in response to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Despite this principle, children are regularly detained in Canada, sometimes for many weeks, and not only in exceptional circumstances. Changes are urgently required so that children are no longer detained – or if they are, it is really as a measure of last resort. 

The CCR’s latest repost Detention and the Best Interests of the Child outlines needs and recommendations for policy changes. 

Read this report at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/detentionchildren.pdf

    • Annual Report:  The CCR in 2008-2009

    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: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/annualreport.pdf

      • Check out the CCR’s blog

      The CCR has joined the world of Web 2.0!  Check out the CCR’s blog for commentary on Canadian refugee and immigration policy that you won’t find anywhere else: http://ccrweb.ca/en/blog. Looking for other ways to stay in touch with the CCR and refugee and immigration issues?  Subscribe to receive updates from the CCR on Twitter and Facebook:

      To join the CCR on Facebook: http://bit.ly/5UWGFw

      To join the CCR on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ccrweb