Overseas Protection and Resettlement

Joint sponsorship committee

Resolution number
  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.

Guidelines on gender persecution for visa posts

Resolution number
  1. IRB Guidelines on women refugee claimants fearing gender-related persecution were issued in March 1993 by the chairperson pursuant to section 65(3) of the Immigration Act;
  2. IRB members are expected to use the Guidelines in applying the Convention refugee definition to ensure that women who fear gender persecution can be found to be refugees;
  3. The IRB Guidelines were distributed to all overseas visa posts as information;
Therefore be it resolved

That the CCR encourage:

  1. The adoption of these Guidelines in visa posts for use in overseas refugee selection;
  2. The department of Citizenship and Immigration to monitor the implementation of the Guidelines for overseas selection;
  3. The inclusion of the Guidelines in the training of visa officers to facilitate greater understanding of gender persecution.

Reorganization of visa posts

Resolution number
  1. The government has announced that it will no longer offer full immigrant processing at all visa posts and will centralize immigrant processing worldwide;
  2. There is already a limited number of visa posts with full immigration consulars;
  3. This creates hardships particularly in affected countries and more particularly creates hardships for women who are restricted financially and socially from accessing these posts;
Therefore be it resolved
That the CCR contact government officials to express its concern over the reorganization, pointing out the negative impact in limiting access particularly for women.

Somali resettlement from Kenya

Resolution number
  1. From mid-August to early September, Canada asked Somali asylum-seekers in Kenya having close links to Canada (including brothers and sisters), to identify themselves for the Canadian resettlement program;
  2. This raised high expectations among residents in the southeastern camps where the notices appeared;
  3. Somali Canadians have as a result been pressured by relatives in these camps to put in undertakings;
  4. This has caused great frustration in the community for those unable to make these commitments. In addition, the fact that the CIC officers knew nothing of these notices, and denied their existence, added confusion to frustration;
Therefore be it resolved
That the CCR strongly urge the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to honour the promise implicit in these notices, and facilitate the entry to Canada of parents and their dependent children through the government sponsorship process, where the family in Canada is not yet sufficiently settled to place an undertaking of assistance.

Silence on plight of Afghan refugees

Resolution number
  1. The Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan for the U.N. Commission for Human Rights of February 1993 clearly shows that there are serious human rights crises in Afghanistan and in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan;
  2. Women and non-fundamentalists are subject to persecution and selective assassination by extremist fundamentalists in the refugee camps in Pakistan, with women and girls being denied employment and access to education;
  3. Aid to the Afghan refugees in the camps in Pakistan has been severely cut back;
  4. Afghan refugees represent 20 to 25% of all the refugees in the world but this is not reflected in Canadian resettlement efforts;
  5. Church and group sponsorship applications have been refused by Canadian visa officers in Pakistan and India, who claim that they do not meet the refugee definition, despite the massive violations of the refugees' human rights;
  6. Some Afghan refugee claimants have been refused by I.R.B. members who are not aware of the true situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan;
Therefore be it resolved
  1. The CCR reaffirm the positions adopted in Resolution 7 of May 1993;
  2. The CCR call on the government and the UNHCR to use the Women at Risk program to assist Afghan women who are in need and to make visa officers aware of this program;
  3. The CCR call on the government to give special consideration to Afghan refugees for resettlement in Canada, recognizing their protection and resettlement needs in the light of the continued civil war.

Delayed departures of accepted Kurdish refugees in Turkey

Resolution number
  1. CCR Resolution 6, May 1993, called on the Canadian embassy in Ankara to recognize the risk to the lives of Kurdish refugees and expedite their resettlement in Canada;
  2. There are approximately 400 Iraqi refugees identified by the UNHCR who are living in wretched conditions in camps in Turkey even though they were accepted by Canada over one year ago;
  3. Medicals are beginning to expire as a result of the long delays;
  4. These people have not been considered for resettlement in other countries because of their acceptance by Canada;
  5. Tension in camps is rising and there is fear of refoulement;
Therefore be it resolved
That the CCR contact the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration exhorting Canada to let all of these already accepted refugees depart for Canada immediately.

Long term protection for Iraqi Kurdistan

Resolution number
  1. The UN sees "repatriation" as the preferred solution and has established the "no fly zone" in Iraqi Kurdistan as a precedent-setting venture;
  2. It is of extreme importance that this program be carried out successfully, for the sake not only of the Kurds of Northern Iraq, but also of other minority groups who may find themselves in similar crises in the future;
  3. The key weakness of the current program is that it does not provide a long term guarantee of protection for the inhabitants of Iraqi Kurdistan. The current fragile state of protection serves as a grave deterrent to resettlement and, if lifted, could lead to yet another mass exodus;
Therefore be it resolved

That the CCR request the Department of External Affairs to urge the United Nations Security Council to explore measures to fully guarantee long-term protection for the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Economic aid for Iraqi Kurdistan

Resolution number
  1. The United Nations persuaded the Kurds of Northern Iraq to return to their homeland;
  2. The current food, medicine and electricity shortages as well as the "double embargo" are all combining to cause great suffering to the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, and to create sentiments of frustration and distrust of the allied forces among some of the Kurds;
Therefore be it resolved
That the CCR request the Department of External Affairs to urge the United Nations to ensure that adequate economic aid is given to the people of Iraqi Kurdistan to ensure that basic needs are met, thereby promoting greater overall stability in the region.


Resolution number
  1. Genocide is going on in various parts of the world by the governments, armies, paramilitary and civil forces;
  2. Refugees are victims and survivors of and witnesses to genocides;
  3. The present international legal mechanisms cannot adequately address the widespread perpetration of genocide today, notably as it affects girls and women, by means of rape in war;
  4. The United Nations has recently begun to discuss the failure of international mechanisms to respond adequately to the crime of genocide;
Therefore be it resolved
  1. That the CCR call upon the government of Canada, in international fora:
  2. To address the inadequacy of international mechanisms to respond adequately to the crime of genocide;
  3. To ask for a review of the Genocide Convention;
  4. To provide new funding to the United Nations Human Rights Centre for international human rights mechanisms because these are seriously underfunded.


Resolution number
  1. The Canadian government is a signatory of and contributor to the 1989 Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) regarding the situation of Indochinese refugees;
  2. The application of the CPA in Southeast Asian refugee camps, as it now stands, leads to:
    1. human rights abuses which affect the safety and dignity of asylum-seekers in the camps and result in many genuine refugees being wrongly denied refugee status;
    2. deaths of many innocent lives;
    3. forced repatriation;
    4. deprivation measures imposed upon the camp populations;
    5. the birth of a dangerously convenient international precedent which aims to eliminate a refugee situation rather than to resolve it;
Therefore be it resolved

That the CCR:

  1. Request the Canadian government to make representations to the UNHCR, the CPA steering committee and the CPA fellow signatories to:
    1. establish a mechanism to identify, review and correct cases which have been egregiously denied refugee status, with the use of the UNHCR's mandate authority;
    2. respect the safety and dignity of asylum seekers, by immediately recanting the policy of deprivation measures which has led to reductions in food rations and cuts in educational and medical services;
    3. abstain from the use of force and violence in the repatriation programme;
    4. quickly resettle recognized refugees, many of whom have languished for years in transit camps.
  2. Make direct representations to the UNHCR to this effect.