CCR elects new president at successful fall consultation

Canadian Council for Refugees

For immediate release
9 December 2009


The Canadian Council for Refugees announced today that Wanda Yamamoto was elected President at its Annual General Meeting on 5 December.  Ms Yamamoto works at Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council in Winnipeg.

“I look forward to working to keep the CCR a strong and effective voice for refugee and immigrant rights,” said Ms Yamamoto.  “The coming months will be particularly critical for refugees in Canada, given the Minister’s plans to introduce changes to the refugee determination system.”

Ms Yamamoto takes over leadership of the CCR from Elizabeth McWeeny, who has completed two terms as President.  Ms McWeeny will continue to serve as Past President.

The CCR Annual General Meeting concluded a successful fall consultation, held 3-5 December in Windsor, focused on “building welcoming communities”.  Over 300 participants engaged in discussions on some of the many challenges faced by refugees and immigrants in Canada, and what changes are needed in policy and practice to ensure newcomers are welcomed.

Unfortunately one of the planned participants was unable to attend the consultation.  Abdullah Almalki, a Canadian tortured in Syria, was scheduled to speak at a workshop on “two-tier citizenship” but was prevented from boarding a flight to Windsor from Ottawa.  His absence dramatically illustrated the concern that motivated the workshop, namely the ways in which some citizens, based on race and religion, are denied the rights, freedoms and protections that should be guaranteed to all citizens.

The CCR also hosted, in conjunction with the fall consultation, the National Forum: Improving Services and Protection for Trafficked Persons.  The Forum brought together government and non-governmental organizations to develop recommendations to improve responses across the country to persons trafficked into Canada.

Contact: Colleen French, CCR Communications Coordinator, (514) 277-7223 ext. 1