Resolutions adopted November 2003

1. Relations with First Nations communities

Whereas:
  1. The immigrant and refugee sector has made little attempt to create meaningful linkages with Canada's First Nation communities.
  2. Non-aboriginal Canadians (including immigrants and refugees) have been beneficiaries of Canada's policies that have discriminated against Aboriginal communities;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on its members to sensitize themselves on the issues facing First Nations communities and explore ways of having meaningful dialogue with these communities.

4. Continued work on trafficking

Whereas:
  1. CCR passed Resolution 24 in December 2001 and subsequently has held regional workshops and a national conference to explore the issues domestically.
  2. The Conference identified data collection, education and awareness-raising as key priorities.
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Urge Canadian Heritage/Status of Women Canada to support the implementation and the recommendations from the National Conference on Trafficked Women and Children.
  2. Urge to the Federal Inter-Departmental Working Group to include CCR in the discussions on trafficked persons.

19. Trafficking in persons - access to legal status

Whereas:
  1. Canada is a party to the Palermo Protocol;
  2. CCR passed Resolution 24 in December 2001 and subsequently has held regional workshops and a national conference to explore the issues domestically.
  3. It was identified that a serious barrier exists for trafficked persons, in particular women and children, seeking assistance due to lack of access to legal status in Canada;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Call on the Government of Canada to expand the definition of protected persons to include trafficked persons.
  2. Call on the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to urgently develop a regulatory class.
  3. Call on CIC to give trafficked persons special consideration under H&C, and to accompany this with a regulatory stay.
  4. Insist that these measures not be tied to providing testimony and not be punitive.
  5. Call on CIC to give trafficked persons access to Interim Federal Health (IFH) benefits, work permits and legal aid.
  6. Call on the IRB to address the special circumstances of trafficked persons in the gender guidelines.
  7. Call on the federal and provincial governments to ensure that separated children have guardians assigned to them.

20. Trafficking in women and children - urgent protection

Whereas:
  1. The CCR passed Resolution 24 in December 2001 and subsequently has held regional workshops and a national conference to explore the issues domestically;
  2. The Conference identified urgent protection for trafficked women and children as a key priority;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Request CIC to develop an immediate protection mechanism leading to permanent residence in Canada to protect trafficked women and children and that the necessary resources and support structures be put in place to sustain the program.
  2. Urge that the Urgent Protection Program be expanded to include trafficked persons and that their immediate family grouping be kept intact since family members left behind may be at risk.

23. Guidelines for conduct of hearings

Whereas:
  1. The IRB has implemented new guidelines related to the conduct of hearings;
  2. Many of the provisions contained in these guidelines will result in a denial of refugee claimants' right to be heard and right to counsel;
  3. The IRB has implemented these guidelines in a clear attempt to increase the efficiency of the Board without consideration of the negative impact these guidelines will have on claimants' ability to get a fair hearing;
  4. The CCR has previously passed a resolution (15, Nov. 1998) on video-conferencing of refugee hearings;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call upon the IRB to:

  1. Withdraw the requirement that the Refugee Protection Officer or Member examine a claimant prior to the claimant's counsel.
  2. Withdraw the ability of the IRB to schedule hearings without regard to counsel's calendars.
  3. Direct Members not to impose a video-conferencing hearing on a claimant in the face of a claimant's objection.
  4. Amend the guidelines to delete the direction to Board members to restrict the length and content of a claimant’s counsel’s submissions.
  5. Add clear guidelines on the treatment of vulnerable claimants in the Guidelines on the Conduct of Hearings.

25. Protection of Canadian citizens overseas

Whereas:
  1. There is disturbing news of attacks against the fundamental rights of Canadian citizens overseas;
  2. Canadian citizens overseas have experienced severe torture (the cases of Mr Arar and Mr Sampson) and even death under torture (the case of Ms Zahra Kazemi);
  3. The US authorities have returned a naturalized Canadian citizen to his country of origin where he was interrogated and tortured;
  4. There are shocking reports about inadequate support from the Canadian government to Canadians detained overseas and even, in the case of Arar, indications of collaboration between the RCMP and CSIS on the one hand and the US and Syrian authorities on the other;
  5. Visible minorities and Canadian citizens with refugee backgrounds are the main victims of such abhorrent practices;
  6. Survivors have demanded a full public inquiry into their tragic experiences;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Ask the Government of Canada to accept requests from survivors or the families of victims for a full independent public inquiry into their cases and the conditions surrounding their arrest, removal to torture and the role of the Canadian officials.
  2. Urge the US government to make a similar public inquiry into the cases of Canadian citizens returned to torture.
  3. Request that the Canadian public inquiry have the utmost transparency with the aim of shedding light on the role of Canadian officials in protecting Canadian citizens and verifying the methods of torture used against our fellow-citizens overseas and on the role of other governments in subjecting Canadians to torture or other cruel and unusual treatment.
  4. Promote Canada's working towards the non-derogable right of every human person not to be sent to torture.
  5. Urge that, even in extreme cases of security suspicion, Canadian citizens overseas be returned to Canada for further investigation and possible prosecution rather than sent to torture.
  6. Appeal to the Canadian government to play an effective role in rehabilitation, redress and compensation in the cases of Canadian citizens who have been tortured overseas.
  7. Petition the Government of Canada to take all necessary steps to maintain Canadian global leadership in the exposure, prevention and eradication of torture and the need for its absolute prohibition.
  8. Ask the Government of Canada to take immediate diplomatic, economic and political action against governments that have tortured and will torture Canadian citizens or send them to torture.
  9. Solicit the Government of Canada to use regional and intergovernmental agencies, where possible, such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the UN Committee Against Torture and the UN Committee on Human Rights to object to the treatment of Canadian citizens overseas.
  10. Encourage the Canadian Government to take immediate action to intervene in the cases of all Canadians who are languishing in overseas jails and are subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

27. Refugee claims by children and the Hague convention

Whereas:

Recent family court decisions in B.C. and Ontario have provided that a child who comes under the jurisdiction of the Hague Convention and who is a refugee claimant in Canada could be returned to the country where she fears persecution prior to a determination of the refugee claim;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR work with the UNHCR and with the UN committee that monitors the Hague Convention and with the Departments of Justice of the provinces which are parties to the Hague Convention to ensure that these two international covenants are applied in a manner that does not interfere with a child's right to have a refugee claim determined and not to be refouled to a country where she has a well-founded fear of persecution.