Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 6 #10, 1 February 2012

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

 

 

CONTENTS:

Current issue and campaign pages:

Demand protections for migrant workers in Canada
Canada has work to do: Respect non-citizen children and youth rights
Bill C-4 - Anti-smuggling or anti-refugee?
Conditional permanent residence proposal
What We Want for Refugees: Four faces, four values

Upcoming CCR meetings in 2012:

Winter Working Group Meetings, 24-25 Feb, Toronto

Spring Consultation, May 31 - June 2, Fredericton

Fall Consultation, Nov 29 - Dec 1, Toronto

  1. Refugee Claimants in Detention
  2. Upcoming Events: Working group meetings, Consultations
  3. Uphold Non-Citizen Children’s Rights on Refugee Rights Day this April 4th
  4. Faces of the CCR: Ratna Omidvar, President of the Maytree Foundation, member of the Order of Canada
  5. New from the CCR:
    • Canada’s Treatment of Non-citizen Children - backgrounder
    • Migrant Workers in Canada: Used and abused – booklet
    • Refugee Integration: Key concerns and areas for further research

---

  1. Refugee Claimants in Detention

A recently published report highlights a number of important issues with respect to the detention of refugee claimants in Canada. The report, commissioned by the UNHCR, is very timely as Parliament is currently studying Bill C-4, which would lead to the detention of some claimants for a year, without review.

“The Human and Financial Cost of Detention of Asylum-Seekers in Canada”, UNHCR, Delphine Nakache, is available at: http://www.socialsciences.uottawa.ca/edim/eng/documents/1.pdf

The costs of detention have also been highlighted in a recent letter sent by several Australian NGOs to Prime Minister Harper. They point out that the policies proposed in Bill C-4 have already been tried, with disastrous effect, in Australia: http://ccrweb.ca/files/letter-c4-australian-ngos.pdf

For articles on these items, as well as on an extensive research project by Janet Cleveland on mental health impacts of detention, see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/taxonomy/term/278.

  1. Upcoming Events: Working group meetings, Consultations

Toronto Working Group meetingsWinter Working Group meetings, Toronto, 24 - 25 February

  • Do 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 24 and 25 February.  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 24 FEBRUARY: 9:30am -
Overseas Protection and Sponsorship Working Group meeting and
Immigration and Settlement Working Group meeting

- SATURDAY 25 FEBRUARY: 9:30am - 5pm
Inland Protection Working Group meeting

For details and updates, see: ccrweb.ca/en/meetings

Cent-sible JusticeCCR Spring Consultation, Fredericton, 31 May – 2 June

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) will hold its national Spring Consultation Cent-sible Justice: Affordable solutions for refugees and immigrants in Fredericton from 31 May to 2 June. Discussions will address issues relating to newcomer settlement and integration, refugee resettlement and refugee protection.

Information and online registration are available at: ccrweb.ca/meetings

Could you or your organization contribute to the Consultation? Contact: consultation@ccrweb.ca

Are you in the Fredericton area and want to get involved? Contact Lisa Bamford at: bamford@mcaf.nb.ca

  1. Uphold Non-Citizen Children’s Rights on Refugee Rights Day, April 4th

Children and Youth RightsHow will you mark Refugee Rights Day in 2012? Have you decided on a theme for your events and activities?

This year the United Nations is examining Canada on its compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Join the CCR and the CCR Youth Network in speaking out about children and youth rights under the Canadian immigration system this Refugee Rights Day. Consider making Upholding non-citizen children’s rights the theme of your activities for Refugee Rights Day.

Watch for CCR updates leading up to Refugee Rights Day this April 4th and check ccrweb.ca/en/refugee-rights-day for details.

Want more information on this year’s theme? Visit the Youth Network webpage at: ccrweb.ca/en/youthrights/frontpage

  1. Faces of the CCR: Ratna Omidvar, President of the Maytree Foundation, member of the Order of Canada

ROmidvarRatna Omidvar, President of the Maytree Foundation and recently named to the Order of Canada, is struck by Andy Lamey’s observation that our treatment of  refugees is the most telling expression of our commitment to human rights. In a recent conversation, Ratna shared her thoughts on how refugees and refugee allies can help fulfill this commitment on a broader scale.

When Ratna and her family arrived in Canada as immigrants in 1981, they might also have been recognized as refugees. Ratna’s story of flight includes many of the same elements as the stories of other refugees she has met: fear, having to use false papers to escape, and not wanting to leave her home in the first place. She often uses these examples to dispel myths about refugees and to encourage newcomers as they adapt to life in Canada. Her advice? “When you come to Canada, your heart and mind are somewhere else. You’re not sure that you want to be here, but you need to pick up the strands of life and continue moving forward. Talking to others, who are going through a similar experience, helps. You need to develop new networks, and work through next steps with the support of one another.”

Ratna also stands by the importance of sharing personal stories and moving forward in her work as President of the Maytree Foundation. This is especially true when it comes to changing Canadians’ opinions about refugees.“This doesn’t mean talking to people who think like us. Nor does it mean trying to convince the 20% whose minds will never be changed. It means talking to the ‘moveable middle’. This is where we must put our energies, develop relationships and network.”

At the Maytree Foundation, talking to the ‘moveable middle’ involves gathering usual and unusual allies - community advocates, business partners and, most importantly, refugees themselves - at the table for discussions on policy, leadership and practical change. These direct, personal connections between non-traditional partners help to win hearts, minds and a better understanding of issues that many refugees and newcomers face in Canada. For Ratna, they also provide an example of how refugees and refugee allies can better communicate with the public. Practically speaking, Ratna suggests encouraging prominent refugees – past and present – to speak out against myths. She also recommends Barcelona’s anti-rumour campaign.

For more ‘good ideas’ from the Maytree Foundation on refugee leadership and speaking out for change, see: www.maytree.com

For ideas from the CCR to promote refugee voices and stand up for what we want for refugees in Canada: http://ccrweb.ca/en/4faces-4values-get-involved

  1. New from the CCR:
  • Canada’s Treatment of Non-citizen Children - backgrounder

children's rightsCanada has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, thereby promising to respect the basic rights of children.
But the rights of children who are not Canadian citizens are not always respected.
In 2012 the UN is examining Canada on our compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The review will be conducted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

This review is a great opportunity for change – Canada can do better!

The CCR and the CCR Youth Network encourage you to use this backgrounder in your efforts to raise awareness of the many challenges faced by newcomer children and youth in Canada. Give a copy to your Member of Parliament. Or share it with others as part of Refugee Rights Day this April 4th.

You’ll find this new backgrounder on children’s rights at: http://ccrweb.ca/files/noncitizenchildrenbackgrounderen.pdf

  • Migrant Workers in Canada: Used and abused – booklet

migrant workersCharged exorbitant recruitment fees, forced to work unpaid overtime, subjected to dangerous working conditions, housed in sub-standard living conditions... these are just some of the abuses endured by migrant workers in Canada.

Use this booklet in your efforts to raise awareness of the often-hidden issues facing migrant workers in Canada. This booklet also offers policy change recommendations, making it an essential resource for your meetings with government officials.

For this new resource, go to: http://ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-workers-used-and-abused

  • Refugee Integration: Key concerns and areas for further research

Report commissioned by the UNHCR, http://ccrweb.ca/en/refugee-integration-key-concerns-and-areas-further-research
-----

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: facebook.com/ccrweb
To follow the CCR on Twitter: twitter.com/ccrweb
To view CCR videos on YouTube: youtube.com/ccrwebvideos