Inland Protection

Detention on the basis of identity

Resolution number: 
10
May 2002
Whereas: 

Persons of certain countries of origin such as Pakistan and some African states appear to be detained on the basis of identity for extended periods;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on CIC to:

  1. Research the length of time it takes those detained on the basis of identity to obtain release;
  2. Report the data by country of origin;
  3. Make public the findings.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Designated representatives: Criteria

Resolution number: 
9
May 2002
Whereas: 
  1. The IRB draft rules provide criteria for the appointment of designated representatives for child refugee claimants which do not include cultural and language awareness and sensitivity to the needs of children;
  2. CIC has no criteria for the appointment of designated representatives;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the IRB to include the criteria of cultural and language awareness and sensitivity to the needs of children, and that CIC adopt the same criteria as the IRB in relation to the appointment of designated representatives.

 

Working Group: 

Separated Children: CIC Interviews

Resolution number: 
8
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.

 

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Zimbabwe

Resolution number: 
7
May 2002
Whereas: 
  1. There is in Zimbabwe a large number of extra-judicial executions, forced disappearances and cases of systematic sexual violence reported by Amnesty International, constituting a situation of massive, flagrant and systematic human rights abuses in international law;
  2. There is a strong concern with the abuse of the "no credible basis" finding in Zimbabwean refugee hearings;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call upon the government of Canada to maintain its moratorium on removals to Zimbabwe as we have recommended;
  2. Call for an independent study, with input from the CCR, on the abuse of no credible basis findings in Zimbabwean refugee claims.
Working Group: 

Access to the IRB for Repeat Claims Presently Before the IRB

Resolution number: 
6
May 2002
Whereas: 
  1. More than a thousand people are presently awaiting a hearing at the IRB for a repeat claim;
  2. The transitional measures will have the consequence of depriving these claimants of their repeat claim by deeming them ineligible under IRPA;
  3. IRPA bars access to PRRA for repeat claimants who have returned to Canada less than 6 months after their departure;
  4. Many of these repeat claimants returned to Canada more than 3 months but less than 6 months after their departure, and would thus be ruled ineligible for PRRA;
  5. A significant number of repeat claims are determined to be refugees;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and to the Chairperson of the IRB urging them to allow all persons presently awaiting a repeat claim a hearing at the IRB.

 

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Children: "None is Too Many" Agreement

Resolution number: 
5
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: 

Better RAD than Mad and No MOU for You

Resolution number: 
4
May 2002
Whereas: 
  1. The government has recently announced that they would delay the implementation of the RAD;
  2. This announcement is a betrayal of parliament's will as expressed in the IRPA;
  3. The CCR, UNHCR and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights consider an appeal on the merits to be essential for a coherent, consistent and fair refugee determination process;
  4. Next month the government is announcing a "None is Too Many" agreement with the U.S. which would shut our borders to most refugees;
  5. The U.S. systematically detains undocumented refugees and places them with convicted criminals;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Offer its services to coordinate a national campaign to implement the RAD and to oppose the U.S.-Canada "None is Too Many" agreement;
  2. Urge civil society groups to employ all peaceful and creative means necessary so as to ensure effective public education and advocacy on these issues.
Working Group: 

Refugee Appeal Division

Resolution number: 
3
May 2002
Whereas: 
  1. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has delayed the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division without postponing the introduction of one-member IRB panels;
  2. Refugee claimants' right to a fair hearing is thereby inadequately protected;
  3. The Minister announced orally on May 17, 2002 that he would implement the appeal within one year;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to:

  1. Implement the RAD immediately;
  2. If he is unwilling to implement the RAD immediately, to:  a) repeat in writing his commitment to implement the RAD within one year.  b) delay the reduction of IRB panel members until the RAD is implemented.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Mental health

Resolution number: 
22
November 2002
Whereas: 
  1. In 1994, CCR passed a resolution urging the implementation of the recommendations outlined in "After the Door Has Been Opened" in regard to the mental health of refugee and immigrants;
  2. There has been no documented implementation or follow-up on the recommendations;
  3. There are limited and restricting resources for mental health services under the Interim Federal Health Program;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Request the development of a joint task group made up of CCR, CIC, Health Canada and relevant Québec ministries to investigate the outcome of the report's recommendations with an intent to re-evaluate the current status of mental health programming for refugees and immigrants and develop a national implementation strategy;
  2. Request that CIC, Health Canada and their Québec counterparts provide the resources to facilitate the consultation processes;
  3. Put in place measures to ensure broad representation of all stakeholders i.e. mental health practitioners, refugees and settlement providers;
  4. Request that as an interim measure, CIC ensure that resources are provided to the Interim Federal Health Program to provide for both short and long-term mental health services and that it be applied consistently across Canada.
Working Group: 

Gender based analysis accountability

Resolution number: 
24
November 2002
Whereas: 
  1. GBA of the impact of IRPA is mandated through legislation;
  2. A report of the Gender impacts will be included in the Minister's annual report each year;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to commit adequate resources and priority to monitoring the gender impacts of IRPA and to change policies where negative differential impacts on women are identified.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Gender-based claims and the PRRA

Resolution number: 
23
November 2002
Whereas: 
  1. Gender claims can take time to emerge , especially if the agent of persecution is a family member or the principal applicant, and the woman's claim was not heard;
  2. The PRRA could be one remedy for a gender-based claim that was not previously heard;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon CIC:

  1. To accept at the PRRA level, claims based on gender, including severed claims, as "new evidence" to be considered.
  2. To designate specific gender experts as PRRA officers in each region.
  3. To ensure that all PRRA officers receive ongoing gender based training including relevant case examples.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Voluntary return

Resolution number: 
21
November 2002
Whereas: 
  1. Unsuccessful refugee claimants who have exhausted all remedies in Canada may be interested in voluntary return to their countries;
  2. Such unsuccessful refugee claimants have a need for informed and independent counselling about the pros and cons of such a decision;
  3. In some European countries, NGOs have developed programs to provide counselling for those unsuccessful claimants who are considering voluntary return, including partial return of taxes or pension contributions and establishment money;
  4. CIC has began to pilot voluntary return programs and those subject to such programs receive no counselling on their rights and options except from CIC officials and no assistance except for the cost of airfare in some cases;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Support the proposition that NGOs have a role to play in the provision of counselling for unsuccessful refugee claimants as to the consequence of voluntarily returning to their countries.
  2. Form a committee to study the issue of voluntary return of refugees and to report on possible models of providing counselling and assistance to unsuccessful refugee claimants.
  3. The above committee in preparing its report consult with potential partners in the provision of such counselling such as, but not limited to, UNHCR, IOM, Amnesty International, and CIC.
Working Group: 

Algerian agreement and procedures for other countries to which Canada does not deport

Resolution number: 
20
November 2002
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR has passed several resolutions outlining its views about the treatment of persons from countries to which Canada does not deport;
  2. There is a growing number of people who have been in Canada for many years without any clear prospect for resolving their situations, since humanitarian and compassionated guidelines doe not deal explicitly with their cases;
  3. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Denis Coderre, lifted the suspension of removals to Algeria on April 5, 2002, without any plan as to the disposition of those cases especially for those people who have been in Canada for over three years;
  4. There is now a special procedure for Algerians, including an examination of their integration process by Quebec Immigration (MRCI) for persons in Quebec;
  5. There are unanswered questions as to the examination of other humanitarian considerations, particularly marriages and ‘the best interests of the child';
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Reiterate its support to the Comité d'action des sans statut (Res. 15, December 2001);
  2. Call on CIC to immediately clarify the process for this special procedure for Algerians, especially for those people outside Quebec;
  3. Call on CIC after consultations with NGO and community groups to develop written procedures, which would apply every time the suspension of deportations to a particular country is lifted.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Separated children

Resolution number: 
19
November 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.

 

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Best interests of the child

Resolution number: 
18
November 2002
Whereas: 
  1. International human rights instruments which Canada has signed require that children's best interests be given priority consideration;
  2. A number of recent decisions by H and C and PRRA officers seem to indicate that full consideration of the best interests of the child is not being applied;
  3. There are no written guidelines to follow for CIC officers when assessing the best interests of the child, and the new IP5 manual does not deal satisfactorily with this issue:
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration that written guidelines on the best interests of the child to be used by CIC officers within Canada and abroad, be developed in consultation with the CCR and other organizations promoting the rights of children.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Fair removal process

Resolution number: 
17
November 2002
Whereas: 
  1. The IRPA eliminates the right to a hearing before the IRB for anyone who is sentenced to two years or more in jail for a crime committed in Canada, regardless of his or her personal circumstances;
  2. The diversity of circumstances of those affected by this provision encompasses cases where compassion and equity should be extended;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Solicit statements and submissions from those affected by this policy both through member agencies and the community at large;
  2. Advocate for the creation of an equitable power in a decision-maker independent of CIC to make a determination as to the propriety of removal from Canada of refugees and permanent residents.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

United States: Safe Third Country

Resolution number: 
16
November 2002
Whereas: 
  1. Canada is proposing to implement the Safe Third Country Agreement;
  2. The USA is involved in regional conflicts e.g. Plan Colombia, Andean Initiatives, and Middle East conflicts which create internally displaced persons and asylum seekers;
  3. CCR recognizes that US asylum procedures may be prejudicial and/or biased towards asylum seekers from countries that have significant US involvement in those countries' conflicts;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR ask the Canadian Government to exempt all asylum seekers from such countries from being sent back to the United States under the Safe Third Country Agreement.

 

Working Group: 

Extensions for filing PIFs and abandonments

Resolution number: 
12
May 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The IRB is denying extensions of time for filing PIFs and where extensions are granted they are for 1-2 weeks maximum;
  2. This does not allow for difficulties claimants experience when they:
    a)are detained; b)require translation (language issues);
    c)require an experienced counsel (e.g. gender, sexual orientation);
    d)face delays in obtaining legal aid;
    e)reside in smaller centres with no easy access to counsel;
    f)are survivors of torture and trauma;
  3. The IRB is declaring abandonment even where a claimant has produced a PIF and has a reasonable explanation for the delay;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Ask the Chairperson of the IRB to issue a directive to allow for longer (1 month or more) extensions for filing of PIFs;
  2. Ask the IRB Chairperson to issue a directive that cases not be declared abandoned if the PIF is filed in advance of or at an abandonment hearing.
Working Group: 

Separated children national policy

Resolution number: 
14
May 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR passed a resolution to endorse the "Best Practice" Statement developed by the Focal Point on Separated Children (Res. 19, Nov. 2002);
  2. There has yet to be a national policy developed on separated children;
  3. There is no consistent definition of the term "separated children";
  4. Practices differ widely across the country;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration requesting the implementation of a national policy that is consistent with the Best Practices statement, and that the policy be developed in consultation with the CCR, NGOs and the UNHCR.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Backlash against Muslim and Arab communities

Resolution number: 
13
May 2003
Whereas: 
  1. People of Arab descent and Muslims of various ethnicities are experiencing being the target of increased discrimination, harassment and racialization following the events of September 11, 2001;
  2. Many such victims are reticent out of fear of making public such targeting;
  3. There is a need to broaden public awareness of what is happening in our communities concerning this targeting;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR identify and promote existing materials and work with other groups in facilitating the development of an educational component for public awareness, including the possibility of producing a video, focusing on post September 11 targeting and profiling of Arabs and Muslims in our communities.

Working Group: 

LGBT claimant issues

Resolution number: 
11
May 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR passed a resolution in November 1994 on guidelines and education on sexual orientation for the IRB (Res. 16);
  2. There continues to be a lack of familiarity and sensitivity to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual (LGBT) issues and realities amongst some members of the IRB, RPOs and CIC employees as well as a continuing attitude of homophobia and heterosexism;
  3. Members are using the existence of LGBT organizations in the country of origin as evidence of acceptance in the country of origin;
  4. Members are using tourist promotional materials directed at LGBT North American communities as evidence of acceptance;
  5. Members incorrectly assume that there are no human rights abuses and therefore consider there is evidence of acceptance, in situations where both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are silent on specific countries;
  6. Some members state that claimants will experience no problems if they behave in a discreet manner in their country of origin;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Write to the Chairperson of the IRB requesting the development and implementation of guidelines for sexual orientation claims and that the guidelines be developed in consultation with the CCR and LGBT organizations;
  2. Request the IRB and CIC to provide ongoing sensitivity training on LGBT issues and realities for members, RPOs and CIC employees.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Children and access to education

Resolution number: 
30
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has noted with concern in its recent report on Canada that children are being excluded from schools in Canada because of their lack of immigration status;
  2. It is the policy of the CCR that all minor children residing in Canada have the right to attend school regardless of their immigration status;
  3. Education of children is a matter of the exclusive jurisdiction of the provincial governments under the Canadian constitution;
  4. The exception set out in section 30(2) of IRPA has the effect, due to its ambiguity, of excluding from school many children who are not visitors;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Urge the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to amend section 30(2) omitting the exception.
  2. Contact all the provincial Ministers of Education and urge them to ensure that all minor children are admitted to schools in Canada free of charge without regard to their immigration status.
  3. Work with local groups such as the Education Rights Task Force in Ontario to develop strategies to ensure that all minor children have free access to education everywhere in Canada regardless of their immigration status.
Working Group: 

Best interests of the child and deportation of a parent

Resolution number: 
29
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has noted with concern in its recent report on Canada that the "best interests" principle as a primary consideration in all decisions affecting children is not being observed by administrative and judicial authorities in many areas, including in decisions on deportation;
  2. The CCR adopted a resolution in November 2002 calling for guidelines on the best interests of the child;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to develop guidelines for his officers to ensure that the best interests of children affected by a deportation decision are given "primary consideration" as required by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and that, for greater certainty, on public policy grounds, there is a presumption that deportation of the parent of a minor child in Canada would not be in the child's best interest.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Family reunification for children with protected person status

Resolution number: 
28
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The reunification of families continues to be a serious problem for refugees in Canada;
  2. No financial support requirement need be satisfied in the resettlement of protected persons;
  3. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, children who are granted "protected person" status in Canada are not permitted to include their parents and siblings, either abroad or in Canada, in their applications to be landed as "protected persons";
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to amend the Regulations [R. 1(3)] so that "family member" of a "protected person" includes the parent and siblings of a "protected person" who is a minor.

Working Group: 

Protection of Canadian citizens overseas

Resolution number: 
25
November 2003
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.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Refugee claims by children and the Hague convention

Resolution number: 
27
November 2003
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.

Working Group: 

DNA and evidence of parent-child relationship

Resolution number: 
26
November 2003
Whereas: 

The definition of "dependent child" in IRPA, restricting "dependent child" to "biological" or "adopted child" may result in greater recourse to DNA testing, which is intrusive and possibly harmful to the best interest of children;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to develop guidelines for immigration and visa officers to accept uncontradicted affidavit evidence by parents and third parties as evidence of relationship in the absence of birth certificates, before requesting DNA testing.

Working Group: 

Processing fees

Resolution number: 
24
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. All protected persons, including children, applying as principal applicants for permanent residents must pay the $550 processing fee within180 days;
  2. This $550 fee is a significant and sometimes insurmountable barrier for many protected persons;
  3. In 1994 the CCR adopted a resolution condemning all cost-recovery fees for landing applications for refugees and their dependants;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR ask that the regulations be amended to waive the processing fee for all protected persons in Canada, consistent with the waiver of this fee for overseas protected persons.

Working Group: 

Guidelines for conduct of hearings

Resolution number: 
23
November 2003
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.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Change of venue

Resolution number: 
22
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The Montreal Immigration and Refugee Board has been routinely refusing to grant any change of venue to refugee claimants despite proof of hardship;
  2. The refusals of requests for changes of venue have caused hardships for refugee claimants;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call on the Immigration and Refugee Board to ensure that in all of its regions a request for change of venue not be rejected where a claimant can show that hardship would result from such a rejection.
  2. Call on the IRB and CIC to allow persons to choose their place of hearing where hardship would result from a refusal to grant this choice.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

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