Overseas Protection and Resettlement

Uighurs in detention in Guantanamo Bay

Resolution number: 
10
June 2005
Whereas: 
  1. There are 22 Uighurs, Chinese nationals, being detained by the USA in Guantanamo Bay since their arrest in Afghanistan following the events of September11, 2001;
  2. The USA has determined that these Uighurs do not pose a threat to national security but is considering refoulement back to China where they will face persecution and torture at the hands of the regime that views them as terrorist activists advocating separation of their homeland;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Urge the UNHCR to publicly demand that the Uighurs are not refouled to China;
  2. Urge the UNHCR to intervene to seek a durable solution for these Uighurs as a means for their protection including to facilitate the resettlement of the Uighurs to the USA, where US nationals of Uighur heritage have offered to assist in their settlement, and/or resettlement to other countries as a means for their protection from refoulement or continued detention at Guantanamo;
  3. Use its opportunities at meetings with Canadian government officials and the UNHCR and at international fora to further the protection and achievement of a durable solution for the Uighurs currently held in Guantanamo.

Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in detention in Israel

Resolution number: 
9
June 2005
Whereas: 
  1. Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention exempts refugees from being punished because of their illegal entry or presence;
  2. UNHCR’s Revised Guidelines on the Detention of Asylum Seekers states that “[a]s a general rule, asylum seekers should not be detained”, and that “the use of detention, in many instances, is contrary to the norms and principles of international law.”
  3. There are 68 refugee claimants from Ethiopia and Eritrea who are detained in Israel for prolonged periods amounting to 18 months and without obtaining adequate assistance from any party except for the African Refugees Development Centre(ARDC);
  4. The detention practices are inconsistent with established human rights standards;
  5. The Israeli authorities, after long discussion and debate, have agreed to release these detainees on an estimated bail of between $8,500-10,000 CAD for two months if there is tangible evidence of a sponsorship application to Canada and for 12months if an invitation for an interview at the Canadian Embassy is extended;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Urge the UNHCR to demand compliance that Israel comply with the 1951Convention and the 1967Protocol, and adhere to UNHCR’s standards on detention regarding refugees.
  2. Urge the UNHCR to intervene in accordance with the above-mentioned UNHCR Guidelines on the Detention of Asylum Seekers so that the illegally detained refugees are released and obtain fair procedures for timely review.
  3. Urge CIC to request its visa post in Tel Aviv to fulfill the following:a)process each application and make determination in a fair manner consistent with the IRPA guidelines;b)process the private sponsorship of these refugees in an expedited and consistent manner.
  4. Work with the African Refugees Development Center (ARDC) on all issues regarding African refugees and asylum seekers residing in Israel with an intention/process to immigrate/resettle in Canada.

Iraqis in Europe

Resolution number: 
8
June 2005
Whereas: 
  1. There are many Iraqis in European countries who have been refused refugee status by these countries,
  2. A number of these people have no durable solution in these European countries and have family members in Canada who have been accepted by Canada under the Convention Refugee or Country of Asylum Class,
  3. These people will be deported to Iraq as soon as the host countries consider it safe,
  4. These people no longer have family or homes in Iraq,
  5. The assisted relative program and last remaining member of the family programs no longer exist,
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR strongly urge Citizenship and Immigration Canada to develop a humanitarian and compassionate mechanism to allow these families to be reunited with family members in Canada.

Enhancing the role of NGOs in group processing of refugees to Canada

Resolution number: 
7
June 2005
Whereas: 
  1. The UNHCR has demonstrated a keen interest in enhancing the role of NGOs in refugee resettlement, in particular in group processing initiatives;
  2. The 2003-2004 Group Processing Initiative, that is currently under evaluation by CIC, reveals some areas for improvement that may be addressed in part by NGO participation;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Request CIC to consult with partners and stakeholders on the benefits of including NGO personnel in all phases of group resettlement initiatives from identification and referral to post-arrival settlement;
  2. Encourage CIC to invite CCR (SAHs and settlement agencies) to pilot the inclusion of NGO personnel in forthcoming group processing initiatives in the field;
  3. Urge CIC to ensure that the CCR (SAHs and settlement agencies) and community partners in destination communities have sufficient, timely information to identify gaps and challenges and to plan how they will meet those needs, including by CIC placing Canadia NGO personnel in the countries of asylum in order to establish effective, timely linkages between the asylum countries and destining communities.

Refugees in Ethiopia and Eritrea

Resolution number: 
10
November 2005
Whereas: 
  1. United Nations and western countries have expressed serious concerns that war might break out between Eritrea and Ethiopia;
  2. Eritrea and Ethiopia are moving their troops to the border and preparing for war;
  3. If war breaks out, civilians, especially Eritrean refugees who are in Ethiopia and Ethiopian refugees in Eritrea, will face the consequence of the war as in the earlier rounds of wars;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Urge the UNHCR and CIC to recognize Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia and Ethiopian refugees in Eritrea as in urgent need of protection.
  2. Urge the Canadian government to expedite processing of private and government sponsorship of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia and Ethiopian refugees in Eritrea.
  3. Urge the UNHCR that the cases of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia and Ethiopian refugees in Eritrea who have been accepted by UNHCR as in need of protection and who wish to be resettled in Canada be referred to the relevant Canadian embassy.
  4. Ask the Canadian government to work towards peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Protection solutions for Haitians

Resolution number: 
9
November 2005
Whereas: 
  1. Human rights violations in Haiti have been described as catastrophic by UNHCR officials;
  2. Many persons are unable to escape Haiti in order to seek protection as refugees;
  3. There are very limited options for protection in the region;
  4. The situation calls for a comprehensive regional protection plan;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Advocate for the addition of Haiti to Canada’s Source Country Resettlement Program.
  2. Urge the Canadian government and the UNHCR to find protection solutions for Haitians, both refugees and those internally displaced, including resettlement to Canada of vulnerable persons.
  3. Join with NGOs in the USA and elsewhere in the Americas seeking a comprehensive solution to the protection needs of Haitians, both IDPs and refugees.

Protracted refugee situations

Resolution number: 
8
November 2005
Whereas: 
  1. Nearly 7 million out of the 11 million worldwide refugee population have been “warehoused”  – confined to camps or segregated settlements or otherwise deprived of basic rights – in situations lasting indefinitely;
  2. Refugee protection is an international responsibility;
  3. There are proposals for a future EXCOM resolution on self-reliance;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Advocate that the future conclusion of UNHCR Executive Committee on “self-reliance” be broadly stated to include such activities as the right to work, practice professions, run businesses, own property, move freely and choose their place for residence and have travel documents.
  2. Advocate that the future conclusion on self-reliance affirm that such rights are integral to UNHCR’s protection mandate.
  3. Advocate that CIDA integrate refugee rights to self-reliance activities into its aid and development programs.

Reproductive Health

Resolution number: 
7
November 2005
Whereas: 

The US Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children has prepared a Reproductive Health General Statement that outlines challenges to comprehensive reproductive health care for women, men and youth in conflict-affected settings and calls for increased funding and political support for reproductive health services;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Support the provision of comprehensive gender-based reproductive health care for all, and women and girls in particular, in conflict-affected settings.
  2. Recognize that diminished political support for reproductive health combined with reduced funding for these programs can have and is having a devastating impact on refugee and displaced women, men and youth.
  3. Endorse the Reproductive Health General Statement that calls upon the US government, lawmakers, donors, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations to renew their commitment and strengthen their response to reproductive health needs for women, men and youth in conflict-affected settings through increased funding and political support.
Subject: 

War in the Horn of Africa

November 2006
Whereas: 
  1. The possibility of a war is looming in the Horn of Africa due to political intervention and ambition by the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea in the civil war in Somalia.
  2. Many innocent people, mainly women and children, are already displaced and on the move to other neighbouring countries, such as Kenya, which already houses many refugees.

 

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR ask the Canadian government to collaborate with the African Union to achieve a more humane approach to diplomacy in the Horn of Africa and to use unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral means to apply pressure on:

  1. The Ethiopian government to withdraw its soldiers from Somalia and to refrain from further escalating the tension by dragging people into war.
  2. The Eritrean government to stop trying to wage their conflict with Ethiopia in Somalia.

Canadian support for durable solutions in protracted refugee situations

Resolution number: 
6
May 2007
Whereas: 
  1. The length of protracted refugee situations is increasing, leading to impoverishment and deprivation of the refugees in these camps and urban settings;
  2. Canada is committed to working towards finding durable solutions for persons in protracted refugee situations including repatriation, local integration and resettlement;
  3. All refugees will benefit from education and skills training made available before persons leave the camps, especially but not exclusively those being resettled;
  4. The CCR and more recently the UNHCR have expressed to the government of Canada their interest in engaging Canadian NGOs in resettlement activities abroad, including those with an integration focus, recognizing the benefits to the refugees and to the receiving communities;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Request to the Government of Canada, especially CIDA and CIC, to work with NGOs to develop a Canadian strategy to address protracted refugee situations that uses all tools at Canada’s disposal including funding for preventative health treatment, job skills training, health treatment, education etc. in refugee camps and urban settings;
  2. Urge the Government of Canada to amend the Terms and Conditions of various instruments to allow for more flexibility and responsiveness in programming, including the flexibility to fund integration programming overseas;
  3. Request the Government of Canada that Canada’s contributions to the World Bank include instructions that poverty reduction strategy papers should include strategies to help reduce poverty within refugee populations.
Subject: 

Liberian Refugees in West Africa

Resolution number: 
3
November 2006
Whereas: 
  1. The situation in Liberia is in transition and is improving.
  2. The country is not able to absorb big numbers of returnees.
  3. Human rights are not generally respected.
  4. Repatriation is not a durable solution for all Liberian refugees in the region and some may meet the Country of Asylum Class criteria.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Urge CIC to consider resettlement of Liberians to Canada for whom repatriation is not the preferred option and as part of a broader effort to achieve durable solutions for all Liberian refugees in West Africa.
  2. Ask CIC to consult with interested NGOs in Canada regarding resettlement to Canada of Liberian refugees in West Africa.
  3. Encourage CIC to review sponsorship cases rejected in 2006 if the refugees live in camp-based situations and were rejected on the basis that repatriation is available to them.
  4. Request UNHCR to stop reducing financial support to the refugees in Buduburam Camp and restore the assistance to the past year level.
  5. Request CIDA to become actively involved in the post-war reconstruction in Liberia.

Interpreters at visa offices

Resolution number: 
2
November 2006
Whereas: 

Recent information from various sources and complaints from refugees interviewed by the Damascus and other visa posts suggest that some refusals may be due
to interpretation.

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge CIC to review increasingly serious concerns around interpretation at interviews, including allegations of bias, and ask that standards be adopted to ensure quality of interpretation.

Increased refugee resettlement

Resolution number: 
8
May 2007
Whereas: 
  1. The situation of many refugees is dire, particularly that of Iraqis in Syria, Jordan and Turkey;
  2. Canadians, particularly those involved with private sponsorship, wish to be as helpful as possible;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request that the Canadian government increase the overall numbers of refugees to be resettled in Canada, and that, within this increase, special consideration be given to increasing the number of Iraqis to be resettled.

African refugees

Resolution number: 
7
May 2007
Whereas: 
  1. There are evident disparities in processing of African refugees’ files in terms of waiting times, refusal rates and systematic DNA testing, in comparison to other regions;
  2. African refugee situations are among the most protracted in the world.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Request the Government of Canada establish an NGO-Government Committee on African refugee and immigrant issues to further monitor and document the situation and propose viable solutions;
  2. Seek collaboration on these issues with Canadian Council on International Cooperation (CCIC), especially the CCIC Africa Group;
  3. Once again request to be involved meaningfully in the Annual Levels Consultation process.

Iraqi refugee crisis: call for increased Canadian response

Resolution number: 
7
November 2007
Whereas: 
  1. The situation created by the massive numbers of persons who have fled Iraq to neighbouring countries is putting heavy strain on the infrastructures of these countries and is threatening to destabilize them to the extent that they will be unable to accommodate the refugees already there and those arriving;
  2. The international response from Canada and other members of the international community has not reflected the gravity of the need for intervention, especially through comprehensive approaches to supporting the host countries, with donations of bilateral aid and other assistance to sustain protection and local integration;
  3. There are Canadians, including Iraqi Canadians, who want to respond with offers of resettlement to Iraqi refugees;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Canadian government to:

  1. Provide increased bilateral and multilateral support to Syria, Jordan and other neighbouring countries in the region that are hosting over two million Iraqi refugees.
  2. Urge the governments in the region to keep their borders open to Iraqi refugees seeking asylum.
  3. Increase overall resettlement targets (for both government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees) so that there can be a significant increase in numbers of Iraqi refugees resettled to Canada, without reducing the number of refugees resettled from other regions.
  4. Expedite the processing of Iraqi refugees being resettled to Canada, including the security checks.
  5. Educate the Canadian public about the needs of Iraqi refugees and promote the involvement of Canadians in the private sponsorship of Iraqi refugees.
  6. Respond positively to UNHCR referrals for resettlement of Palestinian refugees in the border camps between Iraq and Syria.
  7. Press other countries not to forcibly return Iraqis to their country of origin.
  8. Allocate additional resources to the Damascus mission to ensure that the processing of refugees is not negatively affected by the expediting of family class applications.

Canada’s global resettlement program

Resolution number: 
6
November 2007
Whereas: 

Canada is directing resources to its group processing initiatives at the expense of its global program for refugees seeking protection through resettlement;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the Canadian government to commit to maintain global access to resettlement and increase the resources to make that access effective.

Immigration Loans Program

Resolution number: 
5
May 2008
Whereas: 
  1. Resettled refugees and dependants abroad of protected persons are required to repay the costs of overseas medical exams, IOM processing charges, and travel costs;
  2. Under IRPA, Canada has made a commitment to resettle refugees who are most in need of protection, many of whom have multiple barriers to their integration;
  3. Repayment of these loans by single mothers, youth, and families further marginalizes and impoverishes these groups, diminishing their capacity to integrate;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon the Governments of Canada and Quebec to absorb the costs of the transportation and overseas medical expenses for resettled refugees and dependants abroad of protected persons, without reducing the total number of resettled refugees.

Somalia

Resolution number: 
7
November 2008
Whereas: 
  1. There has been no functioning central government and/or other public institutions to protect vulnerable groups and/or prevent human rights abuses in Somalia since 1991;
  2. In the past year, humanitarian workers and human rights defenders have been the victims of an increased number of targeted killings on the part of both the Transitional Federal Government and armed militia groups;
  3. Humanitarian workers, human rights defenders and civilians who are not protected are forced to flee both inside and outside their country in order to find protection;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request that the Canadian government:

  1. Where possible provide support to UN institutions, government and non-government agencies in Somalia and in the surrounding countries which aim to protect and support humanitarian workers, human rights defenders and civilians in Somalia;
  2. Respond more effectively to the resettlement needs of Somali refugees and their families who are displaced in countries around the world.

Colombia resettlement levels

Resolution number: 
6
November 2008
Whereas: 
  1. The Colombian conflict has not lessened during the last year;
  2. Different international organizations have pointed to the continuation of political persecution and human rights violations;
  3. Displacement levels are higher than ever before;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request the Canadian Government to maintain the current resettlement levels for Colombian refugees through the Source Country Class.

Subject: 

Visa office referred cases

Resolution number: 
5
November 2008
Whereas: 
  1. The Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program was established on the principle of additionality;
  2. In November 2006, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration increased the upper limit of the PSR target to 4,500 persons in order to allow for flexibility for sponsors to respond to visa office referred cases without decreasing the number of sponsor referred cases processed;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call for visa office referred cases to be processed in addition to the established targets of both GARs and PSRs at all visa posts.

Subject: 

Protection of Canadian Citizens Overseas

Resolution number: 
8
May 2009
Whereas: 
  1. The protection of Canadian citizens overseas, including Mr. Abousfian Abdelrazik who is stuck in Sudan, is an essential component of citizenship rights;
  2. The denial of a Canadian passport to Mr. Abdelrazik may set a negative precedent of two-tier citizenship and leave citizens with a refugee background in orbit;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge the Canadian government to protect Canadian citizens overseas against torture and cruel and unusual treatment and provide them with the right to return with no discrimination whatsoever.

Subject: 

Forced returns of Iraqi asylum seekers in European countries

Resolution number: 
9
May 2009
Whereas: 
  1. Shelling is occurring in northern Iraq;
  2. The relationship between the Kurdistan province in northern Iraq and the central government is fragile and could lead to violence at any time;
  3. Iraqis are being deported from European countries to Iraq;
  4. Canada has a moratorium on returns to Iraq;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request the Canadian government to urge European governments to stop deporting Iraqi asylum seekers to Iraq, including to the Kurdistan region.

Camp Ashraf

Resolution number: 
7
May 2009
Whereas: 
  1. There are 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Iraq at Camp Ashraf who were granted protected persons status under the Fourth Geneva Convention by the Multinational Forces in Iraq. In December 2008 protection of the Camp was handed over to the Government of Iraq;
  2. In January 2009, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al Rubaie threatened to make life “intolerable” for the residents of Camp Ashraf in order to spur them to leave Iraq;
  3. Among Al Rubaie’s threats was the forcible relocation of the residents from the Camp, where they have lived for more that two decades and constructed a fully developed town, to an empty desert near the Saudi Arabia border;
  4. Both Amnesty International (AI Index: MDE 14/012/2009, 20 April 2009) and the European Parliament (resolution April 24, 2009) have protested Al Rubaie’s threat of intolerable treatment;
  5. The recent introduction of a large Iraqi police force into Camp Ashraf despite the presence of both the Iraqi and US military at the Camp has alarmed the international community;
  6. George Okoth-Obbo, Director of International Protection, UNHCR, in March 2007 asked the Government of Iraq to refrain from any action that could endanger the life or security of the residents of Camp Ashraf such as their forcible displacement inside Iraq;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call on the Government of Canada to oppose forcible relocation or any other mistreatment of the residents of Camp Ashraf in violation of international standards, and to assert that the protection and humane treatment of the residents of Camp Ashraf is a matter of international concern which justifies monitoring by the Multinational Forces while they remain in Iraq and afterwards by the international community once the Multinational Forces leave.
  2. Ask the UNHCR to reiterate its 2007 statement about forcible displacement in light of the current situation.

Commitment to Asylum

Resolution number: 
6
May 2009
Whereas: 
  1. The right to access asylum in Canada is a legal international obligation under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees;
  2. Resettlement of refugees from abroad, although not an obligation under the Convention, is a demonstration of Canada’s responsibility sharing and commitment to refugees;
  3. The global trend of States to limiting access to asylum is causing the shrinkage of asylum space as the needs increase,
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the government of Canada to:

  1. Reiterate and increase its commitment to continue to resettle refugees from abroad, and at the same time ensure that refugee resettlement numbers overall are not conditional on the number of persons accepted as refugees in Canada;
  2. Comply with its obligations under the Convention to ensure access to fair and efficient status determination for all persons seeking asylum at the Canadian borders and in Canada regardless of the numbers admitted under its resettlement from abroad program.

Sri Lanka – Canadian response

Resolution number: 
5
May 2009
Whereas: 
  1. A humanitarian catastrophe has been unfolding in Sri Lanka since early this year;
  2. More than 300,000 Tamils displaced in the North and East of Sri Lanka are trapped in a deteriorating humanitarian situation and Tamils in other parts of Sri Lanka are vulnerable to harassment, humiliation and threat of violence;
  3. The largest Tamil diaspora community lives in Canada;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Government of Canada to act forcefully to promote human rights in Sri Lanka, support humanitarian aid, call for the establishment of an international commission on Sri Lanka to investigate and prosecute any allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to support efforts to work towards a long-term political solution to redress the systemic violations of the human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka – UNHCR

Resolution number: 
4
May 2009
Whereas: 
  1. A humanitarian catastrophe has been unfolding in Sri Lanka since early this year;
  2. More than 300,000 Tamils displaced in the North and East of Sri Lanka are trapped in a deteriorating humanitarian situation and Tamils in other parts of Sri Lanka are vulnerable to harassment, humiliation and threat of violence;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the UNHCR to establish an international mission to:

  1. Conduct an assessment of current conditions confronting civilians in the war-affected regions and implement appropriate measures to ensure their immediate safety and security;
  2. Assess and address the immediate risk and resettlement needs of displaced persons in the zone, and in the IDP camps;
  3. Assess and address the long-term resettlement and rehabilitation needs of individuals and communities in the war-affected regions.

Sri Lanka – Canadian immigration measures

Resolution number: 
3
May 2009
Whereas: 
  1. A humanitarian catastrophe has been unfolding in Sri Lanka since early this year;
  2. More than 300,000 Tamils displaced in the North and East of Sri Lanka are trapped in a deteriorating humanitarian situation and Tamils in other parts of Sri Lanka are vulnerable to harassment, humiliation and threat of violence;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Government of Canada to:

  1. Facilitate an expedited process to reunify families with relatives at risk in Sri Lanka;
  2. Place a temporary moratorium on removals to Sri Lanka;
  3. Fast-track current and future sponsorship applications from Sri Lanka.

Ogoni refugees

Resolution number: 
2
May 2009
Whereas: 

the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta of Nigeria, in the number of about 1,000 persons, have been living in Kpomasse refugee camp in Benin for a period of approximately 10 years;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR advocate on behalf of the Ogoni refugee population in Benin for a resolution of their situation, including potential resettlement.

Equitable Access in Africa

Resolution number: 
1
June 2010
Whereas: 
  1. Equitable access to resettlement and dignified treatment are fundamental to a just refugee resettlement system;
  2. Processing times for refugees to Canada from Africa are unacceptably long;
  3. The number of visa offices processing permanent residence applications in Africa is shockingly inadequate;
  4. CIC does not have the physical office space and resources to process applications;
  5. Refugees and their families suffer disproportionately from this situation in spite of the reality that African countries host huge numbers of refugees in need of resettlement;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the government of Canada to provide:

  1. Sufficient visa offices in Africa to ensure adequate access.
  2. Sufficient resources to ensure timely processing times for refugee and family class applications in Africa.

PSR program

Resolution number: 
3
May 2011
Whereas: 
  1. The Canadian people through their faith and ethnocultural organizations wish to welcome and protect refugees;
  2. The Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program allows Canadians to welcome and protect refugees;
Therefore be it resolved: 

that the CCR:

  1. Reaffirm our support of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program to allow Canadians to protect and welcome refugees;
  2. Oppose any government limit or ceilings on the PSR program.

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