Resolutions adopted November 1994

Whereas:
  1. The "10 Year Framework" refers to the creation of a National Clearing House or Information Sharing Network on Settlement;
  2. CCR is the national organization representing NGOs serving newcomers to Canada;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Enter into discussions with C&I with the intention of housing this initiative;
  2. The Executive Committee be authorized to submit a proposal to C&I for the establishment and operation of an independent clearing house for settlement-related research, information and documentation.
Whereas:
  1. Current research and documentation identifies extra barriers impeding the successful integration of adolescent newcomers, such as language, racism and interrupted schooling;
  2. Canada's social and economic resources are increased when newcomer youth become equal participants in Canadian society;
  3. Completion of formal education, labour force participation and economic self-sufficiency are essential to equal participation;
  4. There is a lack of adequate programming for adolescent newcomers to address identified barriers;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR write to the Federal Ministers of Human Resources Development and Citizenship and Immigration, asking that they accord immigrant and refugee youth a high priority in Federal Government program development and funding.

Whereas:
  1. The government of Canada continues not to meet the announced levels for government-assisted refugees;
  2. Sufficient funds must be allocated to the AAP program in order to meet announced levels;
  3. Accepted refugees in Canada have been separated from their immediate families at risk abroad;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR Executive meet with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to request that:

  1. The level for government-assisted refugees be restored to 13,000 and that this level be met;
  2. The AAP Program be provided with sufficient funds to ensure that the level can be met;
  3. To meet the 1993 level, the immediate families of accepted refugees already in Canada and those landed under the backlog be resettled immediately, whether or not they are in the family class.
  4. When levels are not met by the end of the year, the balance of the quota be carried through to the following year and be added on to that year's level.
Whereas:
  1. The economic recession has created an increase in anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments;
  2. The government has also contributed to the propagation of damaging myths about refugees and immigrants by releasing data on sponsorship breakdown without providing the appropriate context;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Urge that the government play a leadership role in public education to dispel the negative myths about refugees and immigrants and increase resources to allow non-governmental groups to do so effectively;
  2. Ask all CCR members to urge the media to be fair and balanced in their coverage of refugee issues.
Whereas:

bonds would create an insurmountable barrier to family sponsorship for sponsors, many of whom are already economically marginalized;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Adopt as its position that no form of bonds should be considered as a viable option for ensuring compliance in sponsorship agreements;
  2. Communicate this position to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Whereas:

There are many refugees in need of protection through resettlement who may fall outside the Convention refugee definition;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Support specific recommendation R7 of Issue Group 3 of the 1994 Immigration Consultation which states: "That CIC adopt a broader interpretation of the term "refugee" when assessing the protection needs of individuals for whom resettlement is the only option. In particular, the working group proposes the following terminology for inclusion in the proposed Resettlement from Abroad Class definition: Country of Refugee Class Member of the country of refugee class (source of country class) means an immigrant/person:
    1. who is outside the person's country of citizenship or habitual residence (who is residing in the person's country of citizenship or of habitual residence, where the person's country of citizenship or of habitual residence is a country of citizenship or of habitual residence listed in Schedule XII)
    2. whose life, safety or freedom:
      1. has been seriously affected by civil or armed conflict, government-tolerated repression, generalized violence or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order; or
      2. are threatened by massive violations of human rights.
    3. in respect of whom one of the following situations applies:
      1. there is no feasible possibility, within a reasonable period of time, of a durable solution in respect of the person; or
      2. the person has a relative living in Canada; or
      3. the person has an urgent need for protection.
    4. Who is outside of Canada."
  2. Call on Citizenship and Immigration Canada to establish the Resettlement from Abroad Category using the definition outlined above.
Whereas:
  1. The CCR is committed to promoting the rights and protection of refugee women, including refugee women at risk;
  2. The Women at Risk review is complete and awaiting recommendations;
  3. The CCR has developed the following recommendations within its document 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations':
    1. REC.1 The Canadian Women at Risk (AWR) programme should respond to women at risk. Whereas the Canadian AWR programme does not respond effectively to women in urgent need of resettlement, special mechanisms should be established, such as doing medical checks upon arrival in Canada, providing transportation grants, making use of Minister's Permits, and establishing processing timelines.

      REC.2 The AWR program should include women fleeing gender-based persecution, either in the country of origin or in the country of asylum.

      REC. 3 The Resettlement from Abroad Category should be established and used for processing AWR. The category should use the definition outlined in Specific Recommendation R7 of the report of Issue Group 3 of the 1994 Immigration Consultation.

      REC.4 The successful establishment component of admissibility criteria should be eliminated for refugees in urgent need of protection, especially refugee women.

      REC.5 Visa officers should accept and process expeditiously the referrals of Women at Risk cases from UNHCR and NGOs without an interview for the details of the persecution experience.

      REC.6 Canada should work with the UNHCR and NGOs in countries of first asylum where this will enable it to respond more effectively to refugee women at risk.

      REC.7 The training of visa officers around the issues concerning refugee women should be further improved, eg. to cover the psycho-social sequelae to trauma and expediting cases.

      REC.8 AWR programme should be managed as a separate programme within Citizenship and Immigration, enabling a more coherent implementation. All categories of women at risk should receive a transportation grant.

      REC.9 Citizenship and Immigration should implement mechanisms to measure the success of the AWR programme, which would include feedback from all programme participants. Research should be conducted on refugee women`s experiences of resettlement, including their adaptation skills and other personal resources. A monitoring system needs to be established to enable the tracking of cases from the point of referral to the end of the sponsoring period. This information would be used in visa training and the improvement of AWR policy and operations.

      REC.10 A full time position should be created within Citizenship and Immigration for the promotion and administration of the AWR programme.

      REC.11 Where no sponsors are immediately available, Canada should utilize reception centres across the country to accommodate women at risk upon arrival for an optional intensive three to six month period of healing and orientation. During this time, sponsors would be found.

      REC.12 The number of women admitted under the Women at Risk programme should increase. Canada should set an annual minimum target of the number of women it seeks to assist through the AWR programme, effective immediately.

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Adopt in principle the report 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations';
  2. Adopt and promote the recommendations within 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations'.
Whereas:
  1. The government of Canada has historically had a commitment to the resettlement of refugees from abroad and indeed this commitment is incorporated in the Immigration Act;
  2. The government of Canada has a humanitarian obligation to refugees;
  3. Government assistance has always been the primary program for resettlement;
  4. Private sponsorship is a complementary program to government assistance and has always been understood by the voluntary sector to be an opportunity to respond to refugees above and beyond the government's commitment;
  5. Refugee concerns have been separated from immigration concerns in the ten-year framework;
  6. The formation of the "NGO-government Committee on Private Sponsorship" could result in a shift in government practice away from Canada's commitment to the admission of refugees;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call upon the Canadian government to honour and respect their commitment to the humanitarian resettlement of refugees from abroad, independent of the voluntary sector response.

Whereas:
  1. The CCR has passed Resolution # 11 (Nov. 92) and Resolution #18 (Nov. 93) condemning landmines;
  2. Anti-personnel landmines continue to kill or injure thousands of civilians, including refugees and returnees, especially from/in: Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Mozambique, Somalia and Sudan;
  3. Landmines impose a threat to humanity by causing indiscriminate harm and suffering, and render entire regions socially, economically and agriculturally depressed, without the possibility of reconstruction and rehabilitation long after the cessation of conflict;
  4. Minister Ouellet has suggested that a Canadian Task Force on Landmines be established; there is also opportunity for involvement in the examination of the Landmine Protocol (Protocol II) of the Convention on Inhumane Weapons (1980) at the Review Conference on the Convention in September 1995;
  5. There is an emerging Canadian Coalition on Landmines and an International Campaign to raise public awareness on the issue of landmines;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Investigate becoming an active member of the Canadian Coalition on Landmines, and endorse the Coalition's four objectives:
    1. Urge the Canadian Government to call for a total ban on the use, production, stockpiling, sale, transfer or export of antipersonnel landmines;
    2. Recognize recent Canadian initiatives and support for further initiatives to assist in humanitarian mine clearance activities. These would include multilateral activities such as support of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre and other UN initiatives, as well as any unilateral activities which Canada may undertake with respect to humanitarian mine clearance;
    3. Request an immediate Canadian moratorium on the production, export and transfer of landmines, their component parts and related technology;
    4. Call on the Canadian goverment and public to increase its support for, and participation in, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental (NGO) programs providing assistance to the victims of landmines;
  2. Encourage member agencies to participate in public awareness campaigns on landmines.
  3. Write to the Departments of Foreign Affairs and National Defence urging them to:
    1. Permit the Canadian Coalition on Landmines and other NGOs to participate on the proposed Task Force on Landmines;
    2. Solicit the Coalition's input into the Canadian government position at the Review Conference.
Whereas:
  1. The Secretary General of the United Nations, on November 18, 1994, called for a peacekeeping operation to establish security in the Rwandan refugee camps in the Kivu region of Zaire;
  2. The CCR held a day on the lessons from Rwanda on November 24, 1994 at which a number of conclusions were reached;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on the Government of Canada to endorse and promote these conclusions:

  1. The international community should endorse the recommendation of the Secretary General to deploy a U.N. peacekeeping force in the Kivu region of Zaire for the purpose of providing security to the relief effort for Rwandan refugees in Zaire.
  2. In the delivery of aid, local aid delivery agencies should be involved as much as possible, and local resources used as much as possible.
  3. The United Human Rights Commission must have the capacity to investigate on its own initiative the human rights situation in any country in the world and to report its findings to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Security Council and the public.
  4. The UN Human Rights Centre should deploy human rights monitors throughout Rwanda to report on human rights violations if they occur, and as a means of establishing confidence for repatriation, where they do not occur.
  5. The international community should promote democracy and respect for human rights throughout the world, without distinctions based on culture or region.
  6. The United Nations needs a permanent deployment headquarters which can function immediately to bring together and service a peacekeeping force whenever the United Nations Security Council decides to create one.
  7. The United Nations should ask member states to allocate peacekeeping forces to the U.N. on a contingency basis. The contingently allocated forces should be in a state of readiness to be called on immediately whenever the Security Council decides to create a new peacekeeping force.
  8. United Nations peacekeeping forces on the ground should be mandated and instructed, as a humanitarian duty, to intervene and use force if necessary to protect innocent civilians under attack in the areas where the forces are operating.
  9. The international community should contribute to the establishment within Rwanda of a functioning social service system, civil administration, police network, and judiciary. It is urgent that a system of justice be established in Rwanda so that all perpetrators of past atrocities can be brought to justice.
  10. The international tribunal on crimes in Rwanda should be made functional on an urgent basis.
  11. Canada and other members of the international community must contribute to the bringing to justice of Rwandan criminals against humanity, wherever they may be found, by prosecuting them where they are found, extraditing them for trial in Rwanda or extraditing them for trial by the international tribunal on Rwanda.
Whereas:
  1. The situation in Afghanistan has continued to deteriorate such that from the capital city of Kabul alone over 1,000 refugees flee daily, and the country is left void of any supporting infrastructure;
  2. Afghanistan remains one of the largest refugee-producing countries as a result of the continuing war;
  3. The U.N. has started a process of discussion and negotiations through a U.N. delegation headed by Mahmood Mestiri with the various factions involved in the Afghan conflict;
  4. Canada is internationally respected for its commitment to peace, and is seen as an important player with a strong voice at the U.N.;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR urge the Canadian government to:

  1. Actively support U.N. efforts and initiatives towards a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict,
  2. Take a leading role in rallying international support for Afghanistan;
  3. Increase and strengthen their support of relief aid in Afghanistan through present aid missions such as the International Red Cross.
Whereas:
  1. C&I has not met their own targets for processing claims, processing requests for permits or conducting reviews in a consistent or timely manner;
  2. There appears to be routine discrimination against people of colour within some parts of the Department, and there are regular reports of negative verbal comments against refugee or immigrant clients;
  3. The Department appears to have lost sight of the principle of client service, and its frontline employees are angry, confused and overwhelmed;
  4. C&I is likely to be the subject of continued resource reductions;
Therefore be it resolved:
  1. The CCR communicate to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the need for his commitment to a process of total organizational renewal of his Department with full involvement of stakeholders: Department management; employees and their representatives; and clients, including NGOs;
  2. In this context, the CCR ask that urgent attention be given to the Vegreville situation;
  3. As the CCR contribution to the Government Program review, the CCR communicate to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration all CCR resolutions with a cost-saving implication for the government.
Whereas:
  1. The Canadian Council of Churches and the Inter-Church Committee for Refugees have cooperated in the preparation of a brief submitted by ICCR to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about non-citizen children;
  2. The CCR meets regularly with senior immigration officials;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR support the thrust of the Brief submitted by ICCR and raise the major recommendations of the Brief at its meeting with officials, namely:

  1. providing training programs on the Convention for the various actors in immigration procedures;
  2. allowing the children of non-citizens to benefit from the Canadian Human Rights Act as of right;
  3. introducing provisions of the Convention into the Immigration Act and Regulations relating to overseas procedures; children in hearings and interviews; family reunion procedures; and access to essential health and social services.
Whereas:
  1. The CCR is committed to seeking refugee policies and practices guided by principles of refugee protection. We believe in the importance of having people who have worked with refugee communities in positions of responsibility within the Immigration and Refugee Board;
  2. The CCR has developed a position on these matters entitled "Position on Essential Principles in Response to Hathaway and Davis/Waldman Reports" (September 1994);
  3. The CCR does not know the full details of the complaints made against Michael Schelew, nor of the process which led to his suspension;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR reaffirm the folllowing principles to which we are committed:

  1. The independence of Board members as decision-makers and of the IRB as a quasi-judicial tribunal.
  2. The need for a credible, transparent and accessible mechanism within the IRB for dealing with complaints.
  3. The need for an independent and impartial process for the appointment and reappointment of the members of the IRB.

We are furthermore deeply concerned with the barrage of media attacks on the refugee determination process. We are dismayed that no effort seems to have been made by the Minister's office to address the many distortions and inaccuracies contained in the various articles, when what is at stake may be the very principle of refugee protection.

Whereas:
  1. There are reports coming out of Iran and resolutions of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations about the Tehran regime's treatment of women;
  2. Due to the terrible situation of women and the barbaric tortures practised against political prisoners a catastrophic situation has been created forcing women's mass escape from Iran;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR write to the IRB expressing concern about the inadequacy of accurate and authentic information based on first-hand information, in particular the lack of sufficient information about up-to-date events in Iran and the true picture of the terrible situation of women in that country.

Whereas:
  1. The Parliamentary Committee hearing submissions on Bill C-44 has requested the CCR to make a submission on alternatives to the provisions of that Bill;
  2. A submission has been prepared by David Matas which was presented to the Refugee Protection Working Group on November 25, 1994;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR Submission to the Parliamentary committee on C-44 written by David Matas be endorsed as CCR policy and forwarded to the said Parliamentary Committee. [See back page for synopsis of brief's recommendations.]

Whereas:

There are a number of refugee claims based on sexual orientation being rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board for reasons that indicate prejudice at worst and a lack of knowledge at best;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR strongly urge the Immigration and Refugee Board to develop and adopt Guidelines for determination of claims of persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and provide on-going education on the Guidelines and on combatting homophobia to members, refugee hearings officers and interpreters.

Whereas:

The subjects of sexual minorities in general and refugee claims based on persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation are not discussed in the ethnic communities;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the new anti-racism core group ensure that the issue of sexual minorities is placed on their agenda to do public education within the CCR membership.

Whereas:
  1. The Canadian Council for Refugees has acted as a convenor of master agreement holders and sponsoring groups throughout the government's private sponsorship review;
  2. There is a widely recognized need for improved communication between private sponsoring organizations and the government;
  3. Organizations which sponsor refugees have a genuine and vested interest in the smooth running and success of the private sponsorship program;
Therefore be it resolved:
  1. The CCR write to the government urging the creation of a joint committee consisting of both government and non-governmental organizations involved in the private sponsorship program;
  2. The CCR coordinate the selection of the non-governmental representatives on the committee from among all Master Agreement Holders and organizations involved in the private sponsorship program;
  3. Such a joint committee be mandated to plan the direction of the program;
  4. Such a joint committee not act as a replacement for ongoing direct communication with organizations participating in the program.
Whereas:
  1. The CCR advocates on behalf of the human rights of refugees in Canada and abroad;
  2. Many clients of our constituent organizations are Somalis who have fled to Canada due to the torture and persecution they have suffered in their homeland at the hands of other Somalis;
  3. Canada's reputation as a country which respects human rights is the reason many refugees chose our country as a place of asylum;
  4. The CCR is therefore shocked that members of the Canadian military have been involved in the torture of a Somali youth, and that there are allegations of other serious abuses of Somalis by Canadian military personnel;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR strongly support a full public inquiry into the actions of the Canadian military in Somalia, as recently announced by the Minister of Defence, and urge the Canadian government to proceed with this inquiry as soon as possible.