For immediate release
20 June 2018
On World Refugee Day, we celebrate Canada’s leadership for refugees and look for more
The Canadian Council for Refugees marks this World Refugee Day by celebrating the lives saved when we open our doors and our hearts to refugees and their families. Many Canadians are alive today because they or their parents were offered refuge; they contribute in countless ways to making our communities stronger.
“Canada is far from perfect when it comes to protecting and welcoming refugees, but we have a lot to be proud of,” said Claire Roque, President. “We need to build on what we do well so that more refugees can be safe and can flourish, and more Canadian communities can benefit from what refugees have to offer.”
Canada has earned a reputation as a world leader in protecting refugees. Among the strengths of Canada’s response to refugees:
- High quality independent decision-making in our refugee determination system
- A policy of minimizing the detention of children (although detention of refugee claimant children continues to occur)
- Principle of family unity (although many refugee families wait years to be reunited)
- A strong resettlement program, including both government and citizen contributions (although the government’s annual commitment is disappointingly low)
- Recognition that women fleeing gender-based violence deserve refugee status
- A policy of granting permanent status and a pathway to citizenship for refugees, which allows them to contribute to their capacity
- A strong civil society response, with specialized services for refugees and broad volunteer engagement
- A commitment to respecting international human right obligations and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
In the light of continuing disturbing developments in the United States violating the rights of refugees, the US cannot be considered a safe country for refugees. Canada must now demonstrate its leadership and withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement.