19. Separated children

Nov 2002
Whereas:
  1. The questions around the care and protection of separated children arriving in Canada are a growing concern;
  2. The CCR contributed to the preparation of the ‘Best Practices' document developed by the Focal Point on Separated Children in the Americas, a project of the International Bureau on Children's Rights;
  3. The Focal Point on Separated Children in the Americas has asked for endorsement by organizations;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR endorse this Best Practices document by the Focal Point on Separated Children in the Americas, and encourage member organizations to do the same.

 

Working Group:

5. Children: "None is Too Many" Agreement

May 2002
Whereas:
  1. The Canadian government intends to sign a "None is Too Many" agreement with the USA;
  2. Under IRPA the Canadian government has confirmed its intention of only detaining minors as a last resort;
  3. In the USA, the immigration authorities detain on average 5,000 separated children every year;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR ask for assurances from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration that no children who are seeking protected person status in Canada – whether separated from or accompanied by parents or legal guardians – be returned to the U.S.A.

 

Working Group:

8. Separated Children: CIC Interviews

May 2002
Whereas:
  1. Separated children are by definition without the care and protection of their parents or other primary caregivers, often face many dangers during their flight and arrive in Canada disoriented and frightened;
  2. Front-end security interviews require separated children to respond to often lengthy and detailed questions including those related to their refugee claim;
  3. Separated children would be unlikely to know of the 1951 Refuge Convention reasons and their flight reasons are frequently multi-factorial and may include child-specific violations of human rights;
  4. It is inappropriate that children under 18 be interviewed in the absence of a parent or guardian;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR request to CIC that immigration examinations with separated children only be conducted in the presence of a properly appointed designated representative or guardian.

 

Working Group:

18. Separated children over 16 years of age

Dec 2001
Whereas:

It has been recognized that the situation of separated refugee children in some provinces (notably Ontario where the largest number of such children arrive) is particularly critical due to the province’s general failure to provide appropriate child welfare services to separated refugee children, and due to the province’s breach of its international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child in defining children to include only those under 16;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on all provincial governments to immediately take responsibility for all children under 18 years in their jurisdiction and in need of protection and care, in accordance with their international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Working Group:

19. Separated children in BC

Dec 2001
Whereas:
  1. The Province of BC has in place an appropriate model for the protection, care and guardianship of all separated children;
  2. The current BC government is now considering reduction of these services and lowering the age limit for such services;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on the BC government to maintain or improve the current level of protection, care and services for separated refugee children in BC.

Working Group:

16. Separated children: jurisdiction

Dec 2001
Whereas:
  1. The increasing number of separated refugee children in Canada has drawn attention to the protection gaps existing in Canada, in particular the inconsistent practices regarding care and guardianship of separated refugee children in different provinces;
  2. Canada has obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on the federal and provincial governments to immediately resolve the jurisdictional issues and put into place measures that are consistent across Canada to fill the gaps in protection, care and guardianship of these vulnerable children, in accordance with Canada's international obligations.

Working Group:

20. Minors in detention

Dec 2001
Whereas:
  1. The CCR called in Resolution 20, November 1993 for an end to the detention of refugee children;
  2. Minor refugee claimants continue to be detained in Canada;
  3. In the case of trafficked minors the government justifies such detention on the grounds that detention protects minors from their traffickers and is in the best interests of children;
  4. The CCR recognizes that in certain cases there is a need for the protection of minors but unequivocally opposes the detention of minors as detention is never in the best interests of children;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on CIC, in the case of refugee children in need of such protection, as an alternative to detention, to implement other protection models such as “safe houses.”

Working Group:

17. Separated children: UNHCR report

Dec 2001
Whereas:

The UNHCR has recently produced a report on the situation of separated refugee children in Canada and has made a series of recommendations to the IRB and to the federal and provincial governments to address the protection needs of these children;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR adopt the UNHCR report and recommendations and call on the IRB and the federal and provincial governments to implement these recommendations.

Working Group:

7. Unaccompanied minors

Dec 2000
Whereas:
  1. There are serious problems with unaccompanied migrant and refugee claimant children entering Canada (e.g. (1) difference between Provinces in assessment, treatment and support; (2) inconsistency with institutions concerned with protection and representation of unaccompanied migrant and refugee claimant children (IRB, detention));
  2. Considerable research has been done by UNHCR, Save the Children and other organizations concerned with the rights of children;
  3. Canada does not have clear and consistent guidelines and legislation to deal fairly with migrant and refugee claimant children;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR collaborate with the UNHCR to research and develop recommendations regarding legislation, policy and appropriate protocols to ensure fair treatment of unaccompanied migrant and refugee claimant children consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

Working Group:

1. Children's education

Nov 1997
Whereas:
  1. Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which guarantees education for children;
  2. Education is fundamental to child development;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Adopt the policy that education is a right of all minors regardless of immigration status;
  2. Write to appropriate Provincial Ministers of Education urging that they adopt the above policy, and, for those provinces where this is already required by law, urging that they comply with their own legislation;
  3. Write to CIC urging that in the interim letters of no objection be issued to the children of refugee claimants without delay prior to determination of eligibility.

9. Unaccompanied minors entering Canada

Nov 1997
Whereas:
  1. The Ports of Entry at the US border have not in the past allowed unaccompanied minors to enter Canada to make refugee claims without a guardian to receive them;
  2. Due to the work of VIVE Buffalo and CIC P.O.E. at Niagara, an agreement has been reached to allow unaccompanied minors to enter Canada rather than be returned to the US;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR request that the Department implement a National Policy allowing entry of unaccompanied minors on the same basis as the Buffalo/Niagara agreement.

Working Group:

10. IRB guidelines on unaccompanied minors

Nov 1997
Whereas:
  1. The IRB Chairperson has issued guidelines on unaccompanied minors;
  2. There is nothing in the guidelines to encourage expedited hearings, nor avoiding full hearings, nor on recognizing the principle of family reunification;
  3. There are often compelling reasons to expedite unaccompanied minors and very little difference between their claims and the claims of their parents, siblings or relatives whose claims have already been adjudicated positively;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR write to the IRB Chairperson to recommend that:

  1. Expedited hearings be generously used for such children;
  2. The IRB develop substantive guidelines for children which will include family reunification as one of its principles.
Working Group:

2. Access to social and health services for Canadian children of parents waiting for status

Jun 1997
Whereas:
  1. Some provincial governments are refusing to provide social services, health services and benefits for Canadian children born to parents waiting for status;
  2. These Canadian children face discriminatory and arbitrary treatment that is counter to their fundamental rights;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Document the policies and practices of the different provinces in this area through its regional contacts;
  2. File complaints with the appropriate Human Rights Commissions (federal/provincial) to denounce these discriminatory practices of the provinces towards these Canadian children;
  3. In addition investigate possible international recourses with regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to file a complaint.

12. Convention on the rights of the child

Nov 1994
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.
Working Group:

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