Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 5 #10, 2 February 2011

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In this issue:

a)        Debate continues on Bill C-49: the anti-smuggling, anti-refugee bill

b)        Refugee Rights Day, April 4th: What are you planning?

c)        Four Faces, Four Values: What we want for refugees in Canada

d)        Speak Up!:  Apply to the new CCR Youth Network program

e)        Participate in the CCR Winter Working Group meetings, Toronto, 25-26 February 2011

f)         Faces of the CCR: Amina and her family

g)        New from the CCR

            - New websites: migrant workers, transportation loans and more!

                   - Four Faces, Four Values

                   - Report from the 2010 CCR Fall Consultation

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a)      Debate continues on Bill C-49: the anti-smuggling, anti-refugee bill

 

No to Bill C-49As Parliament reconvenes, questions once again arise over the future of Bill C-49 (Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act).  Introduced in October 2010, the bill is currently at second reading. All opposition parties (Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc québécois) have publicly declared their opposition to the bill. Conservative Ministers, on the other hand, have been holding press conferences and meetings to repeat their arguments in favour of the bill.

Like many other organizations, the CCR is gravely concerned that the measures in Bill C-49 fail to honour our obligations towards refugees. Passing the bill will result in refugees being treated unfairly in Canada.  

The CCR is also concerned that we are hearing a lot of false information as part of the debate about Bill C-49, and about the arrival of the Sri Lankan passengers on the MV Sun Sea.

To respond to some of these myths, the CCR has released Myths and Facts 2011, http://ccrweb.ca/en/myths-and-facts-2011. Find out why it is wrong to call refugee claimants “queue jumpers” or suggest that those who use smugglers don’t need protection.  We encourage you to circulate this document within your networks.

We also continue to invite you to join the CCR and other allies in raising public awareness of the impacts that Bill C-49 could have on refugees in Canada.  Make sure Members of Parliament hear why this bill must not be allowed to become law.

For ideas on how you can continue to make a difference, see the CCR’s Take Action request.

For more information about Bill C-49 and actions that you can take, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/c49

b)     Refugee Rights Day, April 4th: What are you planning?

 

60th anniversary - honouring refugee rightsThe countdown is on! April 4th is Refugee Rights Day - the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1985 Singh decision, and a key opportunity to celebrate the fact that refugee rights are human rights.

In the Singh decision the Supreme Court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights of refugees. The Court decided that ‘everyone’ includes refugee claimants in the sentence: ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.’

For more information about Refugee Rights Day and what it means in Canada, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/refugee-rights-day

2011 is the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention.  It’s a good time to reflect on its meaning for Canada as a country and for refugees and refugee claimants in our community.  How are we honouring refugee rights 60 years later?

We would like to hear about events being planned across the country to celebrate Refugee Rights Day.  Please contact cfrench@ccrweb.ca with information about your event so we can post it on the Refugee Rights Day webpage.  Check the Take Action! section for action ideas and current campaign activities to raise awareness of refugee rights in your community.

c)      Four Faces, Four Values: What we want for refugees in Canada

 

4 Faces 4 ValuesWe want refugees to be treated fairly and honourably, in a process that is independent and affordable.

These are Canadian values and treating refugees in this way is good for Canada and good for refugees.

Stand up, speak out and get involved in the CCR’s ‘Four Faces, Four Values’ campaign.  Join others in standing up for a fair and independent refugee determination system.  Help communicate to the public the importance of honouring our obligations towards refugees, through policies that are affordable for all.

Here’s what you can do:

1)            Create portraits and share them – put a human face on the people who flee persecution and those who believe they should be welcomed

2)            Speak out! Record messages and share them: What do you want for refugees in your community?  Why do you stand up for fairness, independence, honour and affordability?  Empower refugees in your community to voice ‘What we want for refugees’ too.

3)            Spread the word – Use these portraits and messages as part of your activities for Refugee Rights Day (April 4th) and other local events.

 

For more information about the Four Faces, Four Values: What we want for refugees campaign, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/4faces-4values

For photo and message galleries and other ideas to get involved with the campaign, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/4faces-4values-get-involved

d)     Speak Up!:  Apply to the new CCR Youth Network program

 

Children and youth rightsAre you tired of hearing damaging myths or stereotypes about refugee and immigrant youth? Are you tired of seeing non-citizen children’s rights abused? Do you want to SPEAK UP and do something about it?   ...but your group doesn’t have the resources to do it?

 

Apply for a Speak Up! grant with the CCR Youth Network!

 

Debunking mythsThe CCR Youth Network is offering funding and support to groups of newcomer youth from across Canada to develop creative public education or advocacy resources designed to communicate the realities and concerns of refugee and immigrant youth. Short videos, music videos, workshop outlines, popular theatre scripts, posters, pamphlets, postcards, podcasts, speakers’ bureau, online resource collections... whatever you can think of!

 

Resources must communicate the messages of one of the two national CCR Youth Network campaigns:

Deadline for applications: February 17th, 2011

For more information: ccrweb.ca/en/youth/speak-up

 

e)      Participate in the CCR Winter Working Group meetings, Toronto, 25-26 February 2011

 

Working Group meetingsDo you want to be part of efforts to promote rights for refugees? 

Want to participate in in-depth discussions on pressing issues affecting refugees and immigrants in Canada? 

Looking for an opportunity to share information and strategies with others from across Canada?

Come to the CCR Winter Working Group meetings in Toronto!

The CCR Winter Working Group meetings will be held in Toronto on 25 and 26 February 2011.  All CCR members are encouraged to attend the Working Group meetings, which are also open to others interested.  The meetings are closed to media and government.

The meeting schedule is:

- FRIDAY 25 FEBRUARY: 9:30am - 5pm
Overseas Protection and Sponsorship Working Group meeting and
Immigration and Settlement Working Group meeting

- SATURDAY 26 FEBRUARY: 9:30am - 5pm
Inland Protection Working Group meeting

Location: Salvation Army, 160 Jarvis Street, Toronto

For more information, check out the CCR ‘Meetings’ webpage at: http://ccrweb.ca/meetings or consult this pamphlet (and share it with others!).

f)       Faces of the CCR: Amina and her family

 

Amina and familyYou may remember the story of Amina and her children from the CCR’s report Nairobi: Protection delayed, protection denied.  A private sponsorship group in Ontario had applied to resettle Amina and her family, refugees from Ethiopia, in April 2004.  By the time the CCR published its report on long delays in processing at the Nairobi visa office in October 2009, Amina’s husband had died of malaria and Amina and her three children had spent more than five years waiting in Kakuma refugee camp.Amina and children in Toronto

Finally – some good news! In late December 2010, Amina and her children arrived in Toronto where they were met by their sponsors.  After nearly 7 years of waiting for resettlement in intolerable conditions in a refugee camp, she and her children are now building a new home in Canada.

What can you do about the long delays in processing for families like Amina’s?  Find out at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/nairobi-action

 

 

g)      New from the CCR

 

                   - New websites: migrant workers, transportation loans and more…

You may have noticed a few changes to the CCR’s website - ccrweb.ca - lately, and there are more to come.   These shiny, new webpages include updates, action ideas, resources from CCR members and others, fresh media articles and much more.  Stay tuned for other campaign pages to come.

To check out the webpage on migrant workers in Canada – http://ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-workers

To check out the webpage on refugee transportation loans – http://ccrweb.ca/en/transportation-loans

 

                   - Four Faces, Four Values

Check out this new public education webpage about ‘What we want for refugees in Canada’.  Add your voice to the campaign and share your own portraits and messages with others in your community.

For information and campaign updates, check out the webpage at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/4faces-4values

 

                   - CCR Conference report, Calgary November 2010

Read summaries of conference sessions from the CCR’s Fall Consultation http://ccrweb.ca/files/consultation_nov2010_report.pdf

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