Overseas Protection and Resettlement

Government commitment to resettlement

Resolution number: 
7
November 1994
Whereas: 
  1. The government of Canada has historically had a commitment to the resettlement of refugees from abroad and indeed this commitment is incorporated in the Immigration Act;
  2. The government of Canada has a humanitarian obligation to refugees;
  3. Government assistance has always been the primary program for resettlement;
  4. Private sponsorship is a complementary program to government assistance and has always been understood by the voluntary sector to be an opportunity to respond to refugees above and beyond the government's commitment;
  5. Refugee concerns have been separated from immigration concerns in the ten-year framework;
  6. The formation of the "NGO-government Committee on Private Sponsorship" could result in a shift in government practice away from Canada's commitment to the admission of refugees;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon the Canadian government to honour and respect their commitment to the humanitarian resettlement of refugees from abroad, independent of the voluntary sector response.

Women at risk recommendations

Resolution number: 
6
November 1994
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR is committed to promoting the rights and protection of refugee women, including refugee women at risk;
  2. The Women at Risk review is complete and awaiting recommendations;
  3. The CCR has developed the following recommendations within its document 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations':
    1. REC.1 The Canadian Women at Risk (AWR) programme should respond to women at risk. Whereas the Canadian AWR programme does not respond effectively to women in urgent need of resettlement, special mechanisms should be established, such as doing medical checks upon arrival in Canada, providing transportation grants, making use of Minister's Permits, and establishing processing timelines.

      REC.2 The AWR program should include women fleeing gender-based persecution, either in the country of origin or in the country of asylum.

      REC. 3 The Resettlement from Abroad Category should be established and used for processing AWR. The category should use the definition outlined in Specific Recommendation R7 of the report of Issue Group 3 of the 1994 Immigration Consultation.

      REC.4 The successful establishment component of admissibility criteria should be eliminated for refugees in urgent need of protection, especially refugee women.

      REC.5 Visa officers should accept and process expeditiously the referrals of Women at Risk cases from UNHCR and NGOs without an interview for the details of the persecution experience.

      REC.6 Canada should work with the UNHCR and NGOs in countries of first asylum where this will enable it to respond more effectively to refugee women at risk.

      REC.7 The training of visa officers around the issues concerning refugee women should be further improved, eg. to cover the psycho-social sequelae to trauma and expediting cases.

      REC.8 AWR programme should be managed as a separate programme within Citizenship and Immigration, enabling a more coherent implementation. All categories of women at risk should receive a transportation grant.

      REC.9 Citizenship and Immigration should implement mechanisms to measure the success of the AWR programme, which would include feedback from all programme participants. Research should be conducted on refugee women`s experiences of resettlement, including their adaptation skills and other personal resources. A monitoring system needs to be established to enable the tracking of cases from the point of referral to the end of the sponsoring period. This information would be used in visa training and the improvement of AWR policy and operations.

      REC.10 A full time position should be created within Citizenship and Immigration for the promotion and administration of the AWR programme.

      REC.11 Where no sponsors are immediately available, Canada should utilize reception centres across the country to accommodate women at risk upon arrival for an optional intensive three to six month period of healing and orientation. During this time, sponsors would be found.

      REC.12 The number of women admitted under the Women at Risk programme should increase. Canada should set an annual minimum target of the number of women it seeks to assist through the AWR programme, effective immediately.

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Adopt in principle the report 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations';
  2. Adopt and promote the recommendations within 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations'.

Definition for resettlement from abroad category

Resolution number: 
5
November 1994
Whereas: 

There are many refugees in need of protection through resettlement who may fall outside the Convention refugee definition;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Support specific recommendation R7 of Issue Group 3 of the 1994 Immigration Consultation which states: "That CIC adopt a broader interpretation of the term "refugee" when assessing the protection needs of individuals for whom resettlement is the only option. In particular, the working group proposes the following terminology for inclusion in the proposed Resettlement from Abroad Class definition: Country of Refugee Class Member of the country of refugee class (source of country class) means an immigrant/person:
    1. who is outside the person's country of citizenship or habitual residence (who is residing in the person's country of citizenship or of habitual residence, where the person's country of citizenship or of habitual residence is a country of citizenship or of habitual residence listed in Schedule XII)
    2. whose life, safety or freedom:
      1. has been seriously affected by civil or armed conflict, government-tolerated repression, generalized violence or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order; or
      2. are threatened by massive violations of human rights.
    3. in respect of whom one of the following situations applies:
      1. there is no feasible possibility, within a reasonable period of time, of a durable solution in respect of the person; or
      2. the person has a relative living in Canada; or
      3. the person has an urgent need for protection.
    4. Who is outside of Canada."
  2. Call on Citizenship and Immigration Canada to establish the Resettlement from Abroad Category using the definition outlined above.

Limitations on G-5 sponsorship

Resolution number: 
4
November 2013
Whereas: 
  1. For refugees from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan, and urban refugees in many countries, there is no possibility of receiving timely or any refugee status determination by UNHCR or a host country.
  2. The requirement of host country or UNHCR recognition as refugees in order to be considered as eligible for sponsorship by a Group of 5 or by a Community Sponsor is a de facto limit on the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program that discriminates against refugees who do not have timely or any access to status determination.
  3. The CCR has adopted many resolutions over the years in support of non-discrimination in access to refugee resettlement and of family reunification.
Therefore be it resolved: 

that the CCR call upon the government to remove the requirement of refugee status determination for G-5 and Community Sponsors.

Refugee Resettlement Numbers

Resolution number: 
3
June 2013
Whereas: 

CCR has numerous resolutions on refugee resettlement targets and levels, including Resolution 14 of November 2003 on “Refugee Resettlement Targets”;

Therefore be it resolved: 

that the CCR urge the Government of Canada to resettle annually a minimum of 10% of the refugees resettled globally. 

Age of Dependency

Resolution number: 
2
June 2013
Whereas: 

The Government of Canada is proposing to reduce the maximum age of dependants in the Immigration and Refuge Protection Regulations from under 22 years of age to under 19 years of age;

Therefore be it resolved: 

that the CCR advocate that the criteria of dependency for children remain as they currently appear in the regulations (age under 22 years, full-time students and children with a disability).

Refugee Resettlement Program Changes

Resolution number: 
1
June 2013
Whereas: 
  1. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has outlined forthcoming changes to Canada’s Refugee Resettlement Program that use both protection and immigration criteria and, among other changes, call for a limiting of the numbers of refugees resettled who have high needs for services and support to achieve integration; furthermore these changes will unfairly disadvantage women refugees, the elderly and other vulnerable groups;
  2. The changes include criteria for selection based on Canada’s foreign or economic interests and ministerial interests;
  3. Recent changes to Canada’s Immigration Program will ensure that more immigrants will arrive with skills and expertise that will reduce the needs for settlement and integration services and supports;
Therefore be it resolved: 

that the CCR advocate that:

  1. Resettlement of refugees is first and foremost a tool of protection which must be the main motivation for Canada’s refugee resettlement program;
  2. Foreign policy interests and other political or economic interests have no place in a humanitarian program;
  3. The criteria defining the ability to successfully establish in Canada have no place in an humanitarian program that focuses on protection and should be eliminated entirely from the Refugee Resettlement Regulations;
  4. Federal and provincial governments increase resources for programs and services to facilitate better integration outcomes especially when the refugee has high needs and may require different levels of support over a longer period of time.

Corporate responsibility for forced displacement

Resolution number: 
2
December 2012
Whereas: 
  1. It has become clear over the last decades that many corporations are complicit in human rights violations that contribute to forced displacement;
  2. Many governments increasingly support these corporate activities through their economic development policies, further undermining protection of vulnerable populations;
Therefore be it resolved: 

that the CCR oppose corporate activities that contribute, directly or indirectly, to forced displacement.

Inadmissibility and national security

Resolution number: 
8
May 1995
Whereas: 
  1. There have been many refugees found ineligible for government or private sponsorship because of unreasonable decisions by visa officers concerning issues pursuant to S. 19 (1)(e) and S. 19 (1)(f),(k) and (l) of the Immigration Act;
  2. The exception set out in 19(1)(f) establishes no procedure to determine whether a refugee is "detrimental to the national interest";
  3. The phrase "detrimental to the national interest" is too vague and uncertain and needs to be defined;
Therefore be it resolved: 

that the CCR call on the Minister to:

  1. Establish a fair procedure to determine if the applicant has met the exceptions set out in 19(f) and (l) and create similar exceptions for subsections (e) and (k);
  2. Define what is meant by the phrase "detrimental to the national interest" in order to avoid vagueness and uncertainty;
  3. Allow a review of these decisions by an independent and impartial tribunal such as the IRB.

Family sponsorship

Resolution number: 
14
November 1996
Whereas: 
  1. Some refugees selected overseas are resettled in Canada without their immediate families (usually because they are in another country).
  2. Some refugees granted status by the IRB are advised not to include immediate family members on their permanent residence application, in the interests of speedier processing.
  3. Both of these groups of people may face financial barriers when they subsequently attempt to be reunited with their family, because they are no longer classified as refugees.
  4. There is inconsistency across Canada in the application of financial requirements for the sponsorship of spouses and dependent children.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge CIC to:

  1. Process the immediate family of refugees selected overseas simultaneously, even when they are in a different country.
  2. Stop advising refugees granted status by the IRB not to include their immediate family on their permanent residence application.
  3. Ensure that no financial requirements are demanded of refugees who have become permanent residents or Canadian citizens and who are seeking to sponsor their immediate family.

Principles of private sponsorship

Resolution number: 
13
November 1996
Whereas: 
  1. When the Government of Canada first negotiated with NGOs to join in the resettlement of refugees through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, NGOs agreed to participate on the condition that the three principles of partnership, additionality and naming were guaranteed.
  2. These three principles were clearly articulated and supported in the Private Sponsorship Review.
  3. The Government of Canada regularly attempts to dilute these principles.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR write to the Government of Canada clearly reiterating the original principles of the Private Sponsorship Program and expressing our concern over Citizenship and Immigration Canada's regular attempts to dilute or discard these principles.

Afghan women

Resolution number: 
12
November 1996
Whereas: 
  1. CCR Resolution #10 of May 1995 called on the Government of Canada to accept Afghan refugees and expedite their processing at the relevant visa posts abroad.
  2. There are recent reports from Afghanistan about inhumane treatment of women including preventing women from appearing in public, from obtaining education, and from working outside their homes which has especially affected those widows who are the only breadwinners for their families.
  3. Amnesty International and other human rights groups have singled out the extreme human rights violations of the regimes and warring factions in Afghanistan especially against women.
  4. Afghan women continue to face great risks to their personal safety and security in the highly unsafe refugee camps in neighbouring countries.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the Government of Canada to respond to the deterioration of the security of Afghan women by resettling Afghan refugee women and their families through speedy processing of private sponsorships including Women at Risk, and through resuming the government sponsorship program for the region.

Burmese ethnic minority refugees in Thailand

Resolution number: 
11
November 1996
Whereas: 
  1. The situation for all Burmese refugees in Thailand remains precarious, but for Karen and other ethnic minorities it is particularly tenuous.
  2. Exit visas to Canada are only granted by the Royal Thai Government to those refugees who have obtained an offer of a sponsorship, have been approved by the Government of Canada, have UNHCR "person of concern" status and are in the "safe camp" for the required three month period.
  3. UNHCR "Person of Concern" status is rarely granted to Karen and other ethnic minority refugees in Thailand, and they are denied access to the "safe camp".
  4. Earlier CCR resolutions called on the Royal Thai Government not to require refugees to go to the "safe camp" to await resettlement, but this requirement is still in effect and is causing hardships and delays for refugees with approved sponsorships who are NOT in the "safe camp".
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Request that the Government of Canada urge that the Royal Thai Government grant exit visas to all refugees approved and accepted for resettlement in Canada, whether or not they are in the "safe camp".
  2. In the interim, urge the UNHCR to use its influence with the Royal Thai Government to admit all refugees, including Karen and other ethnic minorities with approved sponsorships, to the "safe camp" whence they can be approved for exit visas.

Tertiary education for Sudanese refugees

Resolution number: 
10
November 1996
Whereas: 
  1. The conflict in the Sudan is over three decades old.
  2. Many Sudanese refugees languish in refugee camps in Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere in Africa.
  3. There is no imminent likelihood of these refugees repatriating to the Sudan.
  4. The majority of these refugees are youth with no opportunities for education past the secondary level.
  5. There is little opportunity for these youth to resettle to a third country.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the Government of Canada, through consultations with other donor countries and international agencies, to develop a fund to provide educational opportunities, at the tertiary level, to Sudanese refugees in Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere in Africa.

Subject: 

Southern Sudanese refugees

Resolution number: 
9
November 1996
Whereas: 
  1. The situation in southern Sudan is characterized by civil war, massive refugee flows, internal displacement, massive violations of human rights and chronic famine on an unprecedented scale.
  2. A peaceful solution is needed to end the civil war that has continued for 30 years.
  3. The international community should give urgent and concerted attention to the humanitarian tragedy of southern Sudan.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Use international fora to expose atrocities by the Sudanese government upon the people of southern Sudan.
  2. Call on the Government of Canada to bring the conditions of southern Sudanese to the attention of the appropriate UN bodies such as the Commission on Human Rights, the Security Council and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs.
  3. Call on the Government of Canada in cooperation with the UNHCR to address the security needs of Sudanese refugees and in particular Sudanese children.

Refugee crisis in Zaire and Rwanda

Resolution number: 
8
November 1996
Whereas: 
  1. A humanitarian tragedy is being played out in Zaire and Rwanda and urgent action from the international community is needed.
  2. Hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees have repatriated from Zaire to Rwanda, resulting in the need for a massive settlement program in Rwanda.
  3. The Government of Canada has announced its intention to lead an international military force to protect humanitarian relief operations in eastern Zaire.
  4. Gross human rights violations and a lack of a functioning judicial system are major impediments to reconciliation in Rwanda.
  5. Leaders of the 1994 Rwandan genocide are living freely in Zaire and other neighbouring countries.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the Government of Canada to:

  1. Support the safe and voluntary repatriation of remaining Rwandan refugees in Zaire, Tanzania and Burundi under close supervision of NGOs and international bodies such as the UNHCR and UNCHR.
  2. Exercise influence and push for firm and coordinated international action to create a favourable atmosphere for repatriation by: a) Helping the Rwandan government and international NGOs in Rwanda to continue with community economic development projects by providing financial and technical assistance. b) Diminishing the degree of fear of refugees to repatriation by urging the Government of Rwanda to end human rights violations. c) Cooperate with foreign donors in order to provide logistical and financial assistance to rebuild the Rwandan judicial system. d) Influence the Rwandan government to quickly begin trials.
  3. Extend financial, logistical and moral support to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Arusha, Tanzania, and influence the governments of Zaire, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and Cameroons to cooperate with this Tribunal to ensure that criminals are brought to justice.
  4. Support a concerted political action to force the government of Zaire to stop permitting the former Rwandan government's militia and the forces of interhamwe, responsible for the 1994 genocide, from using Zairian territory for military operations against the government of national reconciliation in Rwanda.

Best interests

Resolution number: 
5
June 1997
Whereas: 
  1. Presently no guidelines exist at the IRB with respect to making children's best interests a primary consideration in appropriate cases before it;
  2. The need to assign primary consideration to the best interests of children is required by international legal instruments to which Canada is a party;
  3. The Federal Court of Canada has failed to give effect to the best interests of children representing more than a consideration in immigration matters affecting children's interests;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Encourage the IRB to develop guidelines for the Immigration Appeal Division and the Convention Refugee Determination Division appertaining to the best interests of children in light of the principle of family reunification and Canada's international legal obligations, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on adoptions;
  2. Urge the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to adopt and implement the guidelines so developed for both inland and visa office cases.

The ability to refer refugees for consideration under the Joint Assistance Sponsorship program

Resolution number: 
7
November 1997
Whereas: 
  1. The Sponsorship Agreement notes as Principle #3 the ability of the Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) to submit undertakings for refugees referred by the sponsor and further to this, Appendix 3 describes the roles and responsibility of this undertaking in Joint Assistance Sponsorships;
  2. The ability to refer refugees for resettlement to Canada has been of longstanding importance to sponsors and to the CCR and it has been the practice of some sponsors to refer refugees for consideration under the Joint Assistance Program;
  3. The new regulations require a sponsor to sign a CR3 undertaking at the front-end of a referral of a refugee for consideration as a CR5, thus negating the need for the visa post to give due consideration to the eligibility for the CR5 programs and obliging the sponsor to fulfil their undertaking for full support as a CR3;
  4. Citizenship and Immigration Canada commits in the Sponsorship Agreement (page 6 - j) to make "best efforts to give notice of any change in policy, regulations or legislation that is likely to affect this Sponsorship Agreement": and this notice was not made;
  5. There is no mechanism available to sponsors to make referrals under the Joint Assistance Program other than by signing the undertaking as a CR3;
  6. NGOs overseas have the ability to refer refugees to the visa post for consideration as CR5s;
  7. CIC has indicated that it is difficult to identify enough refugees for resettlement in order to meet its annual targets;
  8. Joint Assistance Sponsorship cases may have community links in the destination community who will enhance the potential for successful establishment of otherwise difficult cases;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Urge Citizenship and Immigration: (i)to allow private sponsors in Canada to retain their ability to identify and refer refugees for consideration for resettlement to Canada as CR5s under the Joint Assistance and Women at Risk Programs; (ii)not to oblige private sponsors, in making the referral, to provide a CR3 undertaking at the time of referral as is described in the Operations Memorandum "Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program: in Canada": and to revise the Operations Memorandum to reflect this, especially in Sections 8.4, 9.2.1 and 9.2.2;
  2. Request the NGO-Government Committee on the Private Sponsorship of Refugees to support this resolution;
  3. Request that CIC enter into consultation with private sponsors and other stakeholders to seek ways to address the issues of concern currently hampering the referral of named refugees under the CR5 Program.

Adhoc committee on blended resettlement programs

Resolution number: 
6
November 1997
Whereas: 

CIC has often expressed interest in a blended sponsorship program;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That:

  1. The CCR call on CIC to form an Adhoc Committee to begin the process of developing a Canadian resettlement program blending the assistance of CIC, private groups and settlement services;
  2. The Adhoc Committee include a) the NGO-Government Committee on the Private Sponsorship of Refugees; b) representatives selected by the CCR Working Groups on Overseas Protection and Sponsorship and representatives selected by the CCR Working Group on Settlement; as well as c) other possible resource people and stakeholders.

Afghan refugees in Pakistan

Resolution number: 
5
November 1997
Whereas: 
  1. The Focus Humanitarian Program focuses only on Ismaili refugees and other Afghan refugees do not have access to it;
  2. Local Canadian language training programs in Pakistan for Afghan refugees are exclusively for members of the Ismaili Community;
  3. Other requests for language training preparation for Afghan refugees have been rejected on the basis of the presence of the Focus Humanitarian language training program;
  4. The situation of refugees and displaced Afghans particularly women has deteriorated as previously noted in Resolution 12 of November 1996;
  5. Most humanitarian aid programs to Afghan refugees have been cut back;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call on the Canadian Government to expand its language training program in Pakistan for refugee women coming to Canada so that they are not limited to refugees admitted under the Focus Humanitarian Program;
  2. Remind the Government of Canada of its Resolution 7 of November 1995 and urge CIDA to assist Afghan refugee women in Pakistan by establishing income generating projects;
  3. Remind Citizenship and Immigration of its Resolution 12 of November 1996 and the need to respond to the situation of Afghan refugee women through expedited processing.

Travel loans

Resolution number: 
10
May 1998
Whereas: 

Groups applying for Joint Assistance Sponsorships for Women at Risk can face unexpected requests for travel costs in addition to the resettlement support they promised;

Therefore be it resolved: 

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

  1. Ensure that Canada's response to its international obligations with respect to refugees such as women at risk is unambiguous and independent of voluntary cash contributions from the Canadians who are willing to make possible resettlement by the government in other ways;
  2. Introduce clarity into refugee resettlement programs so that Canadians who come forward to assist the government can predict the costs before they begin and do not suddenly face requests for cash contributions for travel costs.

Overseas refusals

Resolution number: 
9
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. Visa officers appear to be refusing an increasing number of privately sponsored refugee applicants;
  2. There is no appeal from such refusals except by way of judicial review which few applicants are aware of or resourced to pursue;
  3. Canada Immigration National Headquarters staff have indicated no more exact figure than that between 40% and 60% of privately sponsored refugees are refused;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Obtain from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration broad based statistical information on refusals of privately sponsored applications.
  2. Request that the Minister put in place policy which requires visa posts to give sponsoring groups and refugee applicants detailed reasons for the refusal of an application.

Guatemala

Resolution number: 
8
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. Human rights violations in Guatemala have increased significantly since the April 1998 assassination of Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera two days after he presented the report of the Interdiocesan Project to Recover the Historical Memory (REMHI) which named some of the perpetrators involved in torture, killings, massacres and disappearances;
  2. The REMHI report not only documents 55,021 cases of victims, holding the Guatemalan Army and paramilitary squads responsible for 85.4% of the crimes and the insurgency responsible for 9.3% of those crimes, but also exposes the way the repressive apparatus operates allowing powerful perpetrators of human rights violations to continue to act with impunity;
  3. Luis Yat, indigenous mayor of El Quiche was assassinated in front of his wife and children last May 6 and numerous members of indigenous, women's and human rights organizations continue to be threatened and intimidated;
  4. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) requested the Guatemalan State to provide protective measures for 110 members of REMHI and workers at the Human Rights Office of the Catholic Archdiocese who are at risk;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and ask that the number of government-assisted refugees from Guatemala be increased and that she direct her department to take note of the worsening human rights situation in Guatemala when considering risk assessments, humanitarian and compassionate applications and deferring removals.
  2. Write to the government of Guatemala to demand that they protect the 110 members of REMHI and workers at the Human Rights Office of the Catholic Archdiocese.
  3. Write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs asking him to protest to the Guatemalan government at the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera and to pressure the Guatemalan government to protect the REMHI members and Human Rights Office workers.

Assyrian Christians

Resolution number: 
7
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. There are 3,000 Assyrian Christians who fled Iraq due to the war and persecution and are living temporarily in Jordan;
  2. There are 2,000 Assyrian Christians living temporarily in Turkish refugee camps;
  3. There have been many cases of further mistreatment in both Turkey and Jordan;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Write to the UNHCR and ask them to monitor the treatment of Christian Assyrians by the Jordanian and Turkish governments.
  2. Write to the Turkish and Jordanian authorities and ask that they protect refugees in their countries.
  3. Write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and request that her department meet with the Assyrian Christian community and help them sponsor Assyrian refugees to Canada.

Colombia refugee support

Resolution number: 
6
May 1998
Whereas: 
  1. The violation of human rights in Colombia has reached unprecedented and outrageous levels;
  2. The targets of this violence are key institutions of civil society (human rights groups; church, justice and peace groups; workers and trade union leaders; peasant and indigenous organizations);
  3. The Colombian government has proven, once again, to be unwilling and incapable of curbing the atrocities committed by the military and especially the paramilitary formations;
  4. An estimated one million Colombians are internally displaced within the country;
  5. Colombia was added to the Source Country list this year;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Demand that the Government of Canada put special emphasis immediately on Colombian nationals at risk of human rights violations, including expediting the processing of persons applying through the Humanitarian Designated (Source Country) class;
  2. Urge the Government of Canada to strongly condemn the serious and escalating human rights violations in Colombia in all international and regional fora and in particular: a) request the UN Human Rights Commission convene a special session on Colombia; b) raise concerns about Colombia at the next meeting of the OAS general assembly;
  3. Urge the Government of Canada to cease all sales of military equipment to Colombia, including all "dual purpose" equipment that could have military application.

Pending cases

Resolution number: 
12
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. Some countries interpret the Refugee Convention in a narrow and technical manner denying effective protection to refugees;
  2. Canadian visa officers sometimes show too much deference to the decisions of tribunals of other countries which have refused refugee claims which under the Canadian interpretation of the Convention would be accepted;
  3. Canada's visa offices are inconsistent in their efforts to establish meaningful channels of communication with local and Canadian NGOs involved in resettlement;
  4. Canada has failed to put in place meaningful review of negative decisions despite a refusal rate significantly higher than other resettlement countries;
  5. Applicants for resettlement from some countries are deported from those countries despite having applications for resettlement to Canada pending, particularly in light of the frequent long processing times for such applications;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call on the appropriate departments of the Government of Canada to:

     

    a)remind visa offices of the often broader interpretation of the Refugee Convention in Canadian law than that demonstrated by some other countries, particularly with respect to the absence of a requirement for persecution to be at the hands of the state;

    b)ensure that in cases where the applicant does not meet the Convention definition but has a private sponsorship that the relatively broader provisions of the Asylum Class are thoroughly considered;

    c)strengthen and regularize consultation between visa offices and local and Canadian NGOs involved in resettlement;

    d)establish and implement a meaningful review of negative decisions on resettlement cases similar to that recently adopted by US INS;

  2. Call on the Government of Canada to play a prominent role in convincing other governments to interpret the Convention in a broad manner;
  3. Ask the Government of Canada to urge other governments to allow applicants for resettlement in Canada to remain in their countries of asylum pending determination of their applications by Canada.

Refugee loans and interest

Resolution number: 
11
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR has passed an earlier resolution that the Right of Landing Fee is discriminatory, exclusionary and racist because of the vast variance in country and individual income around the world, and is particularly burdensome for refugees;
  2. Previous to 1995 refugees were not charged interest on transportation loans, admissibility loans and assistance loans;
  3. The interest rate charged is above prime rate;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Continue to call for a repeal of the Right of Landing Fee for all newcomers accepted for landing in Canada;
  2. Insist that no interest be charged on any immigration loans;
  3. Urge the government, pending legislation to repeal interest charges, to charge no more than the prime rate.

NGOs as overseas service partners

Resolution number: 
10
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. The Canadian Council for Refugees has promoted the involvement of NGOs in the identification of refugees overseas;
  2. Citizenship and Immigration Canada`s refugee resettlement model proposes the involvement of NGOs as overseas service partners;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR adopt as its position its paper Conditions for the Involvement of NGOs as Overseas Service Partners.

Pinochet – extradition

Resolution number: 
9
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. General Augusto Pinochet is presently detained in the United Kingdom pending extradition proceeding initiated by Spain, France and Switzerland;
  2. General Pinochet's 1973 coup d'état against Chile's democratically elected government and the brutal dictatorship which he directed until 1990 was responsible for the deaths and/or disappearance of more than 3,000 Chileans and others, the torture and imprisonment of many thousands more and the forced exile of still more thousands to many countries including Canada;
  3. Applications have been made to the government of Canada by a Canadian citizen who was detained and tortured in Chile in October 1973, as well as by a number of Canadian citizens of Chilean origin who experienced severe abuses throughout the Pinochet years, for the prosecution and extradition of General Pinochet;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Send congratulations to the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords on their historic decision upholding the primacy of human rights over state rights;
  2. Send a message to the United Kingdom Home Secretary urging him to uphold the primacy of human rights over political considerations and to allow the extradition proceedings against General Pinochet to go ahead, or prosecute him in Great Britain for his crimes against humanity, and request the government of Canada to send a similar message;
  3. Urge the government of Canada to institute criminal proceedings against General Pinochet in the above mentioned cases and request his extradition from the United Kingdom to Canada.

People's tribunal

Resolution number: 
8
November 1998
Whereas: 
  1. Colombia continues to experience a plague of human rights violations with comparatively little world attention and near total impunity for the perpetrators;
  2. The Colombian government continues to disavow responsibility for the human rights violations;
  3. On 16 May 1998 Colombian paramilitaries murdered seven people and disappeared 25 others in Barrancabermeja;
  4. A campaign has been organized by a coalition of Colombian NGOs to try the perpetrators of this crime in public opinion tribunals in several countries, including Canada;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR wholeheartedly embrace the international campaign for people's opinion tribunals to judge and allocate responsibility for the May 16, 1998massacre in Barrancabermeja, Colombia

Pages