Acceptance of afghan refugees

Resolution number: 
21
June 1994
Whereas: 
  1. The collapse of the Communist regime in Afghanistan did not bring a lasting solution to that country, as was proposed in the UN peace plan that was never implemented, but rather precipitated a more brutal war between rival extremist warlords resulting in heavy civilian casualties, thousands more internally displaced, a new wave of over 100,000 refugees on the Pakistani border and a severe escalation of human rights abuses (as reported in the most recent 1994 publication of Amnesty International);
  2. The UN repatriation programme for Afghan refugees has become an international embarrassment and a gross failure;
  3. Recent UNHCR reports run contrary to the findings of human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan and inappropriately suggest that Afghans are not in need of resettlement abroad;
  4. Afghan refugees constitute the largest refugee population in the world, but Canadian government sponsorship of Afghans had come to a halt until the recent agreement mentioned below, and the rejection rate for private sponsorship is over 90%;
  5. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration recently negotiated a joint resettlement agreement signed by Sergio Marchi and Mr Aziz Bhaloo, President of the Ismaili Council of Canada and FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Canada;
  6. The CCR has raised concerns over Afghan refugees in conversations with the Immigration Department numerous times without any results;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call on the government of Canada to:

    1. In addition to the Ismaili joint resettlement agreement, open the doors for all Afghan refugees, especially women and children who comprise the majority;
    2. Conduct a review of all rejected Afghan refugee sponsorship cases;
    3. Support the UN initiative to end the Afghan conflict through a negotiated settlement;
    4. Discourage neighbouring countries from arming the warring factions;
    5. Call on the UNHCR to provide more accurate information on the situation in Afghanistan;
  2. Write a letter to the government of Canada expressing the following concerns about the new joint resettlement agreement between the government of Canada and the Ismaili Council of Canada and Focus Humanitarian Assistance Canada:
    1. We are concerned that the 500 places per year for Ismailis in Pakistan are part of the current quota for government-assisted refugees for the Middle East, not in addition to that quota. Because of this, there will be fewer places available for Iranians, Iraqis, and other Afghans;
    2. This agreement seems to set a dangerous precedent for off-loading the government's obligation for resettling refugees onto ethnic groups or other private sponsors;
    3. While resettlement of Afghan refugees is welcome, we are concerned about the predetermined selection of refugees based on religious affiliation in a region where many refugees of varying religious affiliations are in need of resettlement;
    4. We urge the government either to treat these 500 refugees as privately sponsored refugees or to expand the regional quota in order to respond to the needs of refugees of all religious affiliations.
Working Group: 
Overseas Protection and Resettlement