Inland Protection

IRB hearings

Resolution number: 
15
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. Board members are under pressure to move quickly on cases at the expense of fairness, thus violating the fundamental right of refugee claimants to a fair and impartial hearing;
  2. The Montreal IRB has started giving negative decisions with no credible basis in a systematic and abusive fashion;
  3. There is a serious problem with Board members not treating fairly victims of torture and a general problem of insensitivity linked to a lack of proper training for Board members;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Express our opposition to increased findings of no credible basis in Montreal and call on the IRB to cease abusive use of such findings.
  2. Request training of IRB members with the active involvement of the UNHCR, the Canadian Bar, the CCR and other appropriate NGOs. This training must include sensitivity training on treatment of torture victims, a code of ethics for Board members and training on the rules of fundamental justice.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Travel documents

Resolution number: 
14
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. Article 28 of the 1951 Geneva Convention requires contracting states including Canada to issue travel documents to Convention Refugees;
  2. The present Canadian practice is normally not to issue travel documents to Convention Refugees until they have been granted permanent resident status;
  3. There are long periods between the recognition of refugee status and the issuance of landing status especially for those without identity documents;
  4. Even Convention Refugees who are landed are routinely denied travel documents and told instead to obtain passports from the very governments they have fled;
  5. Even after landing, there are prolonged periods of 3 months or more to finally obtain travel documents;
  6. Inability to travel outside of Canada to visit family relatives and/or facilitate family reunification causes tremendous difficulties for refugees;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Write to the Ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Immigration requesting that they comply with Article 28 of the Refugee Convention by issuing travel documents, unconditionally and in an expedited manner, to Convention Refugees once they have been granted refugee status and not wait until they are landed.
  2. Call on the UNHCR to make a similar intervention with the Canadian government.
  3. Call on the Canadian government to stop asking Convention Refugees, be they landed or not, to obtain passports from their country of origin.
Working Group: 

Landing delays for security reasons

Resolution number: 
13
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. There are Convention Refugees, particularly Iranians, who have applied for landing and had CSIS interviews but have had their landing held up for years in the Security Reviews in case management;
  2. They are unable to travel outside Canada, sponsor family or pursue post-secondary education;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That CCR request a meeting between CIC and the CCR and affected communities to discuss landing delays for security reasons.

Working Group: 

Bill – C-40

Resolution number: 
12
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. Bill C-40 contains provisions which amend the Immigration Act to deem some persons facing extradition to have received a decision of the Immigration and Refugee Board and to be found not to be a Convention Refugee even though no hearing of the Immigration and Refugee Board was actually held;
  2. These amendments to the Immigration Act deny refugee claimants their right to a hearing before the IRB and to make submissions to establish their claim to refugee status;
  3. International human rights have been involved in extraditions and expulsions by Canada and have been the object of views by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, for example, in the cases of Ng, Khan, and Cox;
  4. In the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Canada has accepted responsibility for measures necessary to ensure these international rights;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call upon the Government of Canada to withdraw the proposed amendments and redraft them to ensure refugee claimants' rights to a fair hearing before the IRB are protected and to ensure that the Extradition Act and Immigration Act conform with Canada's international human rights treaty obligations and related international standards;
  2. Request the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration review the proposed amendments and accept submissions from the CCR and other interested parties.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Legislative review

Resolution number: 
11
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR has prepared a position paper which was submitted to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration's consultations on Legislative Review;
  2. The Minister has not committed to consultations on forthcoming draft legislation before tabling;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Adopt as policy the contents of the position paper prepared for the Minister's consultations on legislative review;
  2. Press the Minister for further broad consultations on proposed changes resulting from the legislative review, before the drafting of legislation.
Working Group: 

Complaints investigation at IRB

Resolution number: 
20
November 1998
Whereas: 

There have been numerous formal and informal complaints about the IRB procedures and members have not been treated seriously;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR ask that the mandate of Mr Ratushny be expanded to include the complaints process and violations of fundamental rights in all of the CRDD's regions, the details of which are to be provided by the Working Group on Refugee Protection.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Appointments process

Resolution number: 
19
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. François Crépeau and France Houle have prepared a report entitled Compétence et Indépendance, dated 6 March 1998 which makes seven key recommendations on the IRB appointments process;
  2. The report was endorsed by CCR's IRB workshop in Ottawa on 28 November 1998;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR endorse and promote the recommendations of the report on the appointments process.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Abandonments

Resolution number: 
18
November 1998
Whereas: 

The CCR is concerned that refugee claims are being put into the abandonment - show cause stream at the IRB because claimants are being served by CIC with their eligibility and referral documents several days after the date of issuance of these documents;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Write to CIC to ensure that claimants are served their eligibility and referral documents in a timely fashion;
  2. Write to IRB to request that abandonments not be scheduled where the claimant has not enjoyed the full period for filing their PIF due to slow determinations of eligibility, making reference to the related inquiry from the BC Legal Services Society, which has not yet been replied to.
Working Group: 

Deportation to the US of persons from countries to which Canada does not deport

Resolution number: 
17
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. Canada has suspended deportations to Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (ex-Zaire), Afghanistan, Rwanda, & Burundi;
  2. CIC does not consider this policy to cover removals to third countries, principally the United States;
  3. A significant numbers of claimants arrive at Canadian border points via the United States, often as a result of Canadian interdiction practices;
  4. A growing number of refused refugee claimants face an imminent danger of being removed to the United States, a country which at present has no suspension of deportations to the above-named countries;
  5. The CCR has written several times to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in the spring and summer of 1998, asking her to suspend removals of these individuals to the United States;
  6. CIC has to date maintained its policy;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Continue to energetically oppose, by all means possible, the implementation of this policy;
  2. Prepare a letter and information kit which CCR members can use to lobby their M.P.s, and to mobilize support from other organizations involved in human rights work.
Working Group: 

IRB nominations process

Resolution number: 
16
November 1998
Whereas: 

The nomination process and the renewal of mandates at the IRB do not have the confidence of the legal and human rights communities;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call for a moratorium on nominations and non-renewals until a fair process can be instituted.
  2. Ask the Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to hold hearings on these issues.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Video-conference hearings

Resolution number: 
15
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. The Immigration and Refugee Board has begun to conduct refugee hearings using video-conferencing whereby IRB members in one city conduct hearings on claimants in another city;
  2. The IRB has done no analysis of the impact of such video-conference hearings on the ability of claimants to have a fair hearing;
  3. The use of video-conference hearings is contrary to the IRB's own stated policy of making the setting of refugee claims less intimidating and less formal;
  4. The use of video-conferencing for refugee hearings is a denial of due process to refugee claimants;
  5. Videoconferencing is also being used in detention reviews, similarly compromising the rights of detainees to a fair hearing;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon the IRB to immediately stop the use of video-conferencing for the conducting of refugee claim hearings and detention reviews.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Immigration and refugee board - CRDD

Resolution number: 
14
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR is concerned that the drive for efficiency at the CRDD is resulting in the denial of the right of claimants to full and fair hearings;
  2. The CCR is concerned about allegations of bias by members at the CRDD in their rendering of decisions in claims based on sexual orientation;
  3. The CCR is concerned that the inability of lawyers to obtain conventional tape recordings of CRDD hearings is placing obstacles in the way of a claimant's right and a lawyer's ability to apply properly for leave to commence judicial review proceedings at the federal court;
  4. The CCR is concerned about the misconduct by RCOs during refugee claim hearings;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR write to the chairperson of the IRB to express our concerns and request action on the above issues.

Working Group: 

National security assessments

Resolution number: 
13
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR supports the right of the Canadian government to deny refuge to people who have committed crimes against humanity and to others who pose serious national security threats, except where refoulement is in contravention of the Convention Against Torture or where there will be a risk of capital punishment;
  2. It is the right and duty of the state to ensure that a just system for identifying such persons is in place;
  3. The definitions in the Immigration Act relating to inadmissibility on the basis of security are over-broad;
  4. Decisions regarding security inadmissibility are made without respecting the due process rights of those affected;
  5. There is no time limit within which a decision may be made, leading to indefinite delays for some of those affected;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Canadian Government to:

  1. Introduce a system for identifying potential security risks with:

    a)a right to a hearing before an independent decision-maker for those alleged to be inadmissible on security grounds;

    b)protection of due process rights;

    c)an obligation to render a decision within a fixed time frame;

  2. Amend the Immigration Act to give a more precise definition of security risk.
Working Group: 

PIF disclosure

Resolution number: 
15
May 1999
Whereas: 
  1. Various panels of the Refugee Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board have produced personal information forms and filed them in evidence in the hearings of other claims;
  2. The new personal information form asks claimants to provide reasons why their claims should not be disclosed in the hearings of other claims;
  3. The Refugee Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board has proposed new rules for the Division which would allow disclosure of personal information forms in the hearings of other claims;
  4. Disclosure of personal information forms in the hearings of other claims turns the forms from confidential documents to public documents;
  5. Requiring refugee claims to be made in public is antithetical to refugee protection;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Refugee Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board not to disclose any personal information form in the hearing of another claim unless:

  1. The information in the personal information form is sanitized so that neither the claimant nor any other person the claimant names in the form can be identified;
  2. The claimant expressly consents to the disclosure of the form for the purpose of the hearing of that claim; or
  3. The Refugee Division is satisfied, at a hearing where the claimant whose personal information form is to be disclosed is notified and given an opportunity to be present and make representations, that there is no serious possibility that the life, liberty or security of any person would be endangered by reason of the filing of the personal information form in the hearing of the other claim.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

IRB - expanded mandate

Resolution number: 
14
May 1999
Whereas: 
  1. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has proposed in a white paper that the mandate of the Immigration and Refugee Board be expanded to include adjudication on whether persons face risks in returning to their countries of nationality other than those risks covered by the Refugee Convention;
  2. It has been announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada will soon be drafting legislation to embody the above mentioned proposal;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Support the expansion of the mandate of the IRB as proposed by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, provided that the legislation and regulations enabling this proposal contain the following provisions:

    (a) that the IRB shall, when dealing with a person's claim, first determine if the person is a Convention Refugee before going on to decide whether that person faces other risks in returning to her/his country of nationality;

    (b) that the risks which the IRB may determine are grounds for not returning a person to his/her country of nationality shall include but not be limited to:

    (i) risks identified in international instruments to which Canada is party, such as the Convention Against Torture, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;

    (ii) Generalized and personal risks resulting from country conditions, such as a state of war, generalized violence, widespread abuse of human rights, unchecked criminal activity, state-sanctioned torture or persecution against women;

    (iii) risks to family life and unity.

    (c) that the IRB be designated a "court of first instance" to determine whether a person's rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would be violated should he/she be required to leave Canada and return to her/his country of nationality;

    (d) that the selection and training of members of the IRB be done in a fair, unbiased, and open manner, as more specifically stated in previous CCR resolutions;

    (e) that a person have the right to an appeal on the merits from the decision of the IRB in accord with CCR Resolution 24, May 92;

    (f) that there be a pre-removal review conducted by the IRB to determine if there has been any change in circumstances which would alter the IRB's initial decision on the person's claim for Convention Refugee status and on whether that person would face other risks;

    (g) that a person has the right to paid counsel at the initial hearing before the IRB, at the appeal on the merits, and at the pre-removal review.

  2. Request meaningful consultation on the issues addressed prior to the drafting of legislation on these matters.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Protecting stateless persons

Resolution number: 
13
May 1999
Whereas: 
  1. Stateless people have been and are currently detained and/or deported by Canada to go into orbit, or detention or limbo elsewhere;
  2. There is a 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons to protect such persons, which the UN High Commission for Refugees is promoting but which Canada has not ratified;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the government of Canada to:

  1. Develop an internal mechanism to protect stateless persons;
  2. In the meantime, release stateless persons from detention and process them through humanitarian and compassionate review;
  3. Ratify the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons;
  4. Promote the ratification of the Convention by other states.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Treatment of survivors of torture by the IRB

Resolution number: 
11
December 1999
Whereas: 
  1. Evidence indicates that some survivors of torture are being re-traumatized by the experience of the refugee hearing process;
  2. The determination of refugee status for survivors of torture presents evidentiary complexities for the IRB;
  3. The CCR has endorsed a detailed written proposal for guidelines for the determination of torture survivors before the IRB;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request that the IRB make it apriority to establish a joint committee with the CCR to develop guidelines for refugee claim determination involving survivors of torture. The joint committee will work in consultation with other organizations with expertise in dealing with survivors of torture.

 

Working Group: 

Bill S-8

Resolution number: 
14
December 1999
Whereas: 
  1. Bill S-8, recently introduced as a private member's bill in the Senate, would amend the Immigration Act to give powers to interdict ships and their passengers;
  2. The measures proposed in the bill would seriously undermine refugee protection and put Canada at risk of violating its international human rights obligations;
  3. The bill promotes prejudicial treatment of refugees;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR oppose Bill S-8 through letters to appropriate officials and publicly presenting its position.

Working Group: 

Suspension of removals: Angola and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)

Resolution number: 
13
December 1999
Whereas: 
  1. There has been a serious increase in generalized violence and civil unrest in Angola and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville);
  2. A number of individuals are in imminent danger of removal to these countries;
  3. Several representations have already been made to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to suspend removals to Angola and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville);
  4. The Advisory Committee on Country Conditions for Removal has not met since February 1997;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to use her discretion to immediately suspend removals to Angola and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).

 

Working Group: 

CEDAW

Resolution number: 
12
December 1999
Whereas: 
  1. Women in general and refugee women in particular are subjected to different forms of discrimination in Canada;
  2. Canada is internationally committed to work towards elimination of all forms of discrimination against women;
  3. There is a significant international instrument to that effect;
  4. An optional protocol to the UN Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women is ready for accession at the General Assembly of the United Nations
  5. The optional protocol provides an excellent opportunity for individual women to complain to the related UN Committee;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration asking that Canada:

  1. Accede to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women;
  2. Incorporate the Convention and its protocol into Canadian legislation;
  3. Establish an internal mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Convention and its Protocol;
  4. Work with the CCR and other NGOs to educate responsible government officials.
Working Group: 

Treatment of Chinese claimants

Resolution number: 
10
December 1999
Whereas: 
  1. Citizenship and Immigration Canada decided to detain en masse migrants from the People's Republic of China arriving at Canada's West Coast;
  2. CIC compounded its errors by detaining the majority of the migrants in Prince George, several hundred kilometres from counsel and the IRB;
  3. Consequently some of these Chinese migrants continue to be denied full access to counsel and right to choice of counsel;
  4. These Chinese migrants continue to be detained without individual assessment and based upon general and stereotypical profile of refugee claimants from Fujian Province of China;
  5. The minors within these groups have been handcuffed and strip-searched and there are allegations that some were physically assaulted;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Request that CIC and the IRB ensure that Canada:   a) Does not detain refugee claimants based on profiling, stereotyping and public annoyance; b) Does not detain claimants in places without ready access to professional counsel and the IRB; c) Otherwise ensures for all claimants irrespective of publicity given their arrival, full due process and procedural fairness, including counsel of choice.
  2. Call for an independent inquiry into CIC's handling of arrivals of Chinese migrants.
Working Group: 

Refugee claimants - access to standardized claim documents

Resolution number: 
9
December 1999
Whereas: 

there are inconsistencies from province to province about the timing and method, by CIC, of processing refugee claimants which frequently leave claimants unable to access social services, medical care, housing and schooling for children;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request that all refugee claimants entering Canada, at all Ports of Entry, and at inland CIC offices, in all provinces immediately be issued acknowledgement of claim documents or some other form of photo identification, complete with access to the Interim Federal Health Plan.

 

Working Group: 

Security issues

Resolution number: 
8
June 2000
Whereas: 
  1. Refugees and immigrants who apply for permanent residence are required to undergo security screening by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the security review unit of the Department of Citizenship & Immigration (SRU);
  2. Refugees and immigrants often face undue delays in acquiring permanent residence status as a result of prolonged security screenings by CSIS and SRU;
  3. The security screening process remains unfair and intimidating to many refugees and immigrants, particularly since many cannot obtain information about the status of their applications or reasons for long delays;
  4. The CCR adopted Resolution 13 of May 1998 and Resolution 13 of November 1998 on landing delays for security reasons and assessments;
  5. Refugees and immigrants who question the integrity, fairness, duration, and impact of the security screening process can file a complaint with the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC);
  6. SIRC is mandated to investigate such complaints and make recommendations thereon;
  7. Such complaints have been filed with SIRC and in April 2000, SIRC issued reports on its findings with recommendations;
  8. The SIRC reports unequivocally exonerated the complainants and made a number of recommendations;
  9. These recommendations included a recommendation that complainants’ applications for permanent residence be processed for landing;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on:

  1. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and CIC to immediately implement the recommendations in these SIRC reports, including landing for the complainants;
  2. The Solicitor General and Director of CSIS to immediately implement the recommendations in the reports;
  3. CIC to promptly land individuals whom CSIS or SIRC has recommended for landing;
  4. CIC to refer an applicant for permanent residence whose application has been delayed for more than two years for security reasons to SIRC for review and recommendations with respect to landing.
Working Group: 

Bill c-31

Resolution number: 
7
June 2000
Whereas: 
  1. A draft response to Bill C-31 has been discussed by the Working Groups;
  2. The recommendations contained in that draft response have been debated in the Working Groups;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That:

  1. The draft response be approved as the present position of the CCR;
  2. The executive of the CCR be empowered to revise and amend the draft response, taking into account feedback from the membership, insofar as such revisions and amendments are in accord with the principles and policies of the CCR.
Working Group: 

World conference against racism

Resolution number: 
6
June 2000
Whereas: 
  1. The UN is organizing in South Africa a World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia & Related Intolerance to be held in July 2001;
  2. Refugees and asylum seekers experience specific forms of xenophobia and intolerance not experienced by other migrants;
  3. The World Conference has the long term potential to not only improve the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Canada but to improve their treatment world-wide;
  4. The CCR has an anti-racism policy;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the government of Canada to:

  1. Ensure that the UN Action Plan produced includes a section advancing the protection of refugees and asylum seekers;
  2. Ensure and enable the participation of NGOs and refugees capable of analyzing and suggesting verifiable measures to address xenophobia and related intolerance towards refugees and asylum seekers;
  3. Develop and promote verifiable measures to address xenophobia and related intolerance towards refugees and asylum-seekers.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Participation of refugee communities

Resolution number: 
5
June 2000
Whereas: 
  1. Refugee participation is of major concern to the CCR and there are resolutions to that effect;
  2. Refugees and refugee communities are directly affected by Canadian immigration policies, and already have been involved in their own advocacy;
  3. There is a need for strengthening cooperation and collaboration between the CCR on the one hand and refugee communities on the other;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That a task force be established to explore ways of involving refugees and refugee communities in all aspects of the CCR work, including developing CCR policies and positions.

Working Group: 

Removals to Eritrea

Resolution number: 
4
June 2000
Whereas: 
  1. The conflict which started as a border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in March 1998 has escalated to total war combined with widespread famine;
  2. The Ethiopian government has stripped persons of ethnic Eritrean descent of their Ethiopian citizenship;
  3. Currently both acknowledged Eritrean citizens and those of possible Eritrean descent are seen as defacto Eritrean citizens, and are in danger of removal from Canada;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to:

  1. Suspend deportations to Eritrea;
  2. Suspend deportations of persons of Eritrean descent to Ethiopia.
Working Group: 

Minister's representatives

Resolution number: 
9
December 2000
Whereas: 
  1. There have been reports of Minister's Representatives' interventions in refugee hearings leading to retraumatization of refugee claimants, especially survivors of torture;
  2. There is no Code of Conduct to be observed by the Minister's representative at refugee hearings;
  3. There is no adequate accountability mechanism in this respect;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Chairperson of the IRB raising its concerns and asking them to collaborate in establishing a fair and accountable mechanism, with feedback from the CCR, for conduct of the Minister's representatives at refugee hearings and their mode of interventions.

 

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Privatization of removals

Resolution number: 
13
December 2000
Whereas: 
  1. CIC has been using P&I, a private company, to remove African nationals from Canada to Africa;
  2. The deportees have been forcibly detained and unlawfully confined by a private company;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to: a) Condemn the use of P&I for removal of deportees; b) Demand to know the legal basis for using P&I;
  2. Demand that the Minister confirm in writing that the practice of using private agents for removals will cease;
  3. Continue to investigate P&I and Citizenship and Immigration Canada's contracting out of removals;
  4. Investigate all possible human rights violations, possible complaints and legal challenges to such practices.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Automatic permanent residence for Convention Refugees

Resolution number: 
12
December 2000
Whereas: 
  1. Convention refugees have the right to apply for permanent residence;
  2. The processing of the application for permanent residence can take a considerable amount of time, during which Convention refugees are not accorded rights to which they are entitled under the 1951 Convention;
  3. The lack of these rights causes hardship to Convention refugees and their families;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on Citizenship and Immigration Canada to automatically land Convention refugees and their family members and dependants, whether inside or outside of Canada, in order for them to benefit from the rights acquired as per Canada's obligation under the1951 Convention.

Working Group: 

Pages