CCR Resolutions Database
- Res.: 22Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:
- There is now available a draft memorandum of understanding between Canada and the U.S. to provide for the allocation of determination of refugee claims between the two countries;
- This draft memorandum has not been signed and may be changed if the governments of the two countries agree;
That the CCR ask the governments of the U.S. and Canada to amend the memorandum of understanding to incorporate the following changes:
- Country of Determination
- The country of determination should be the one chosen by the claimant.
- If the rule of country of choice is not accepted, and the rule of first arrival remains, the rule of first arrival should not apply in every case.
- Where the claimant has a family member in one state, and the country of first arrival is another, the claimant should be free to choose between the country of first arrival and the country where the family member is present.
- "Present" for this purpose means physically present. It would cover family members who have no status in the country of choice, but are only there for the purpose of making a refugee claim.
- Family member, for this purpose, means both the family class and assisted relatives.
- Where the claimant has a visa for one state and the country of first arrival is another, then the claimant should be able to choose between the country of first arrival and the country of visa issuance.
- Where the claimant has been lawfully present in the country of second arrival at any time prior to the claim, the claimant should be able to choose the country of claim.
- A country of transit should not be considered a country of first arrival.
- The parties should agree to apply minimum standards of procedural fairness in the determination of refugee claims. The agreed minimum standards would be listed in the memorandum.
- The parties should agree not to deter the making or maintaining of refugee claims either by detention or by any other means.
- The parties should each agree to grant access to its refugee determination system on the merits of the claim to every person allocated under this agreement.
- The undertaking to examine claims should include persons who are at the border as well as persons who are in the country.
- Any information exchanged under this agreement about individuals should be considered confidential and may not be passed on to any third party.
- Any information about an individual that is exchanged under this agreement must be accessible to that individual without regard to any exclusion that may exist in the privacy legislation of either country about information exchanged between governments.
- The parties should establish a joint appeal tribunal to consider and decide on appeals from persons whose determination of claims have been allocated under this agreement, and who have been denied refugee recognition.
- The appeal tribunal should be a judicial body independent from both governments.
- Access to the tribunal should be subject to an admissibility requirement. The tribunal should be able to consider any appeal from a person allocated under the memorandum where there is a reasonable possibility that the determination would have been different if the claim had been in the other country.
- The appeal tribunal should have the power to reverse a negative determination and determine the person to be a refugee.
- The appeal tribunal would also have a power to decide disputes between the two state parties or between claimants and a state party on the country of allocation.
- Third Countries
- Removal of a person allocated under this agreement to a third country should not be possible unless the claimant has a right to have his/her claim considered on the merits in the third country.
- Removal of a person allocated under this agreement to a third country should not be possible unless there is an agreement with the third country that incorporates all the provisions that are in this memorandum.
- Status of the Memorandum
- The memorandum should be a legally binding agreement between the state parties enforceable by refugee claimants.
- The parties should undertake to provide to claimants free access to the courts of their countries for the enforcement of this agreement.
- All international human rights or refugee protection instruments by which a signatory state may be bound, including the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Refugees and Protocol, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Charter of the Organization of American States, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention against Torture, should be respected in the application of this memorandum by that signatory state. In case of conflict between an international human rights or refugee instrument by which a signatory state is bound and this memorandum, the international human rights or refugee instrument should predominate.
- Except in the case of a claimant whose claim has already been determined on its merits by one of the signatory states, each party should not, in any year, invoke the memorandum of agreement to allocate determination of a claim until after that country has accepted for determination on the merits a minimum number of refugee claims. The minimum for Canada should be 30,000.
- A Coordinating Committee
- A Coordinating Committee should be established, to consist of representatives of Canada, the U.S., non-governmental organizations, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The Committee would be responsible for supervising the administration of the memorandum. The Committee would set the minimum numbers that would have to be reached to make the memorandum operational.
- Res.: 27Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:
- The CCR has prepared a report, dated October 18, 1993, reviewing the serious problems with the Post-Determination Refugee Claimant in Canada Class (PDRCCC);
- The post determination review process under the current regulations has resulted in an acceptance rate of less than one percent and this process is wholly unsatisfactory to the NGO community and unfair to the refugee claimants;
- The regulations adopted to define this process are unduly restrictive and do not permit many worthy cases to be considered fairly;
- The CCR has received evidence of instances which may amount to cruel or inhuman or degrading treatment of victims of torture and other persons of concern to members;
- The CCR call for an independent and impartial inquiry into this treatment;
- The CCR demand that the government revise the criteria for the review process so that the immigration officials' discretion not be unduly fettered and normal humanitarian considerations be addressed;
- The CCR ask that the government make a clear commitment not to deport torture victims, and particularly victims of rape, unless there be clear and imperative reasons to deport these persons related to serious criminality;
- The CCR request that the evaluation under the post-determination review be completely separated from the officials in charge of deportation and that the review officers receive proper training in Canada's international obligations;
- The CCR call upon the government to address in an effective and open fashion all the concerns raised by the recent report by the CCR.
- Res.: 7Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:That the CCR request the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to take measures so that the Immigration officers not consider Section 19(1)(b) of the Act when establishing whether a single mother, or other woman who has parental responsibilities for children in her care, meets the admissibility criteria.
- Persons accepted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds must meet the admissibility criteria as set out in Section 19 of the Immigration Act;
- According to Section 19(1)(b) of the Act, anyone who represents a burden on society, among others women who receive social assistance, is inadmissible as an immigrant;
- This clause is seriously prejudicial to single mothers and other women who have parental responsibilities for children they have in their care, who have been accepted on humanitarian grounds, or who would have been accepted were it not for this provision;
- Res.: 12Whereas:
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.
- 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;
- 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;
- Medicals are beginning to expire as a result of the long delays;
- These people have not been considered for resettlement in other countries because of their acceptance by Canada;
- Tension in camps is rising and there is fear of refoulement;
- Res.: 15Whereas:
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.
- The government has announced that it will no longer offer full immigrant processing at all visa posts and will centralize immigrant processing worldwide;
- There is already a limited number of visa posts with full immigration consulars;
- This creates hardships particularly in affected countries and more particularly creates hardships for women who are restricted financially and socially from accessing these posts;
- Res.: 20Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:
- 85% percent of the world refugee population are women and children and the number of refugee children exceeds 10 million;
- Refugee children are the most vulnerable sector of refugees all over the globe;
- Refugee girls are persecuted for their gender and refugee children bear responsibilities for childcare and for parenting of younger children;
- Refugee children suffer regular violations in camps which rarely gain attention and condemnation in the media, including hard physical labour, malnutrition, epidemics, rape and are deprived of adequate schooling and education opportunities;
- Unaccompanied children and minors suffer detention in many countries;
- The defense and protection of refugee children has not received adequate attention in educational material and international legal conventions;
That the CCR take action with the Canadian government and relevant international organizations to:
- Call for an international legal instrument for the protection of refugee children as a supplement to the Geneva Convention and Protocols;
- Call for an increase in relief aid and educational resources to refugee children, especially those in camp situations;
- Increase the numbers of unaccompanied minors resettled in western countries, after suitable efforts at family reunification have been exhausted;
- Demand an end to the detention of refugee children and call for the use of other more humane mechanisms to accommodate these children;
- Call for measures to eradicate prostitution, rape, female genital mutilation and other abuses in refugee camps, and for resources to be made available to assist in the healing of children victimized by these abuses;
- Call for humane measures concerning international adoptions of refugee children.
- Res.: 25Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:That the CCR intervene in this case if leave is granted, subject to availability of funds.
- The Federal Court of Appeal recognized in the Cheung case that a woman fearing forced sterilization in P.R.C. is a member of a social group and a Convention refugee;
- In a subsequent decision, the Chan case, the Federal Court of Appeal maintained, with a dissent, that a man fearing forced sterilization is not a member of a social group and is not a Convention refugee;
- This latter decision is pending leave to appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada;
- This latter decision has the effect of restricting the scope of the definition of social group as developed by the Supreme Court in the Ward case;
- Res.: 5Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:
- The intent of training is to improve the quality and accessibility of settlement service delivery for immigrants and refugees by improving the skills of settlement workers;
- The demand for training in all regions of the country is increasing;
- Training programs do not exist in most parts of the country, and where they do exist they are underfunded;
That the CCR play a leading role in advocating to the federal government for the expansion of existing and the creation of new funding programs for settlement training.
- Res.: 10Whereas:
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.
- The United Nations persuaded the Kurds of Northern Iraq to return to their homeland;
- 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;
- Res.: 18Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:
- Anti-personnel land mines that detonate on contact are indiscriminate weapons that remain hidden and lethal long after the end of a conflict;
- Anti-personnel mines have killed or mutilated tens of thousands of civilians and rendered large tracts of agricultural and pastoral land unusable, preventing the subsistence and economic development of rural populations;
- In most countries women and children are especially affected as direct victims through their agricultural and pastoral work or through death and disabling of their husbands and fathers;
- The 1981 United Nations Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby traps and other Devices has failed to prevent the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel mines but unfortunately international law permits the use of land mines to achieve "defensive" military objectives;
- The CCR adopted Resolution 14 at the Consultation in Winnipeg in November 1992 calling for Canada to ratify the Land Mines Protocol and to press other states of the United Nations to do likewise;
- Land mines remain an obstacle to the durable solution of voluntary repatriation for refugees;
- The CCR join a growing number of organizations including Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Medico International, Mines Advisory Group, Physicians for Human Rights and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation in a joint call for:
- An international ban on the use, production, stockpiling, and sale, transfer or export of antipersonnel mines;
- The establishment of an international fund, administered by the United Nations, to promote and finance landmine awareness, clearance and eradication programs worldwide;
- Countries responsible for the production and dissemination of anti-personnel mines to contribute to the international fund;
- The CCR call on the government of Canada to support and promote an international ban on the use, production, stockpiling, and sale, transfer or export of antipersonnel mines;
- The CCR urge the government of Canada to support and promote the establishment of an international fund, administered by the United Nations, to promote and finance landmine awareness, clearance and eradication programs worldwide;
- The CCR call on the government of Canada to urge countries responsible for the production and dissemination of anti-personnel mines to contribute to the international fund.
- Res.: 28Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:That the Canadian Council for Refugees calls on the Government of Canada and the International Council of Voluntary Agencies to request that the Executive Committee of the UNHCR approve and open for signature an international agreement on minimum procedural standards for considering refugee claims.
- The Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees is the only intergovernmental body in the U.N. system which has responsibility specifically for the international protection of refugees;
- The denial of fairness of refugee determination procedures can lead to the rejection of real refugees in error;
- Refugee determination procedures in signatory states to the Refugee Convention vary widely, and often do not provide for fairness in refugee determination;
- Res.: 3Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:
- Refugee claimants come to Canada seeking refuge from persecution;
- The psychological and physical health needs of refugees have been documented to be significant;
- Health has been defined by the World Health Organization and Health and Welfare Canada to be a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity and a fundamental human right;
- Health has been singled out by the United Nations Committee on Social and Cultural Rights as the most important priority under the Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights which Canada has ratified;
- Everyone under Canadian jurisdiction and remaining in Canada for completion of federal processing is in the care and protection of the Federal Government;
- The Federal Minister of Health recognises the emergency health needs of refugee claimants;
- Doctors are required under the medical ethics to provide health services to all in need;
- The CCR urge the Federal Minister of Health to work with the provincial Ministers of Health to find an effective way to deliver equitable health services to all people living in Canada including refugee claimants;
- The CCR contact the Canadian Medical Association and the provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons and other professional health organizations to obtain policy positions on the insurance of health services delivery to ALL those requiring medical intervention;
- The CCR advocate that the Federal Minister of Health, in consultation with the CCR, strike a committee to advise federal and provincial ministers of health on the equitable delivery of health services and that members of this committee come from immigrant-serving NGO's, the Federal and Provincial Ministries of Health and Health Professionals.
- Res.: 8Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:
- Increased violence against refugee women in camps, including rape and female genital mutilation practices, has been documented;
- Recent reports by Africa Watch document widespread rape in the refugee camps in North Eastern Kenya;
- The Somali community has on several occasions raised concern about the lack of security in refugee camps;
- There is very little or no funding for programs to provide physical protection to refugee women;
That the CCR write to:
- The Canadian government to urge that funds be allocated to UNHCR and relevant NGO's for programs providing physical protection to refugee women, and education and eradication of female genital mutilation, particularly in camps in North Eastern Kenya;
- The UNHCR and non-governmental organizations to urge that their workers return to live in the camps so that through their presence there will be better safety conditions in the camps.
- Res.: 24Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:That the CCR and its members now call upon the federal government to suspend removal of persons in the refugee claimant backlog and allow them and their families to be processed for landing in Canada.
- In December 1988 the government promised refugee claimants in the Refugee Claimant Backlog a swift and simple resolution of their cases;
- Since 1989 the CCR and its members have repeatedly responded to evidence of stress and misery resulting from this protracted process by calls to the previous government to allow the persons to proceed to landing;
- Some persons have been denied landing because their spouse has a minor criminal infraction;
- Almost 5 years later in November 1993 there are persons remaining in Canada whose status has not yet been resolved;
- A person has the right to have such a civil suit resolved in a reasonable time, which is less than 5 years;
- Many persons remain under constant threat of removal from a country where they have become established because their situation has not been finally resolved by the federal government;
- Res.: 23Whereas:
Therefore be it resolved:
- The CCR passed resolution #11 and #18 at the May 1992 Consultation;
- The CCR is still concerned with the quality and the independence of the CRDD members;
- To be suitable Board members must have positive attitudes towards people of diverse cultures backgrounds and should not stereotype;
- Board members ought to be sensitive to the unique needs of refugee women claimants and be aware of the special forms of persecution directed at women;
- The previous government addressed part only of the concern by advertising vacancies and allowing for disciplining and removal of members;
- A political culture of cynicism and callousness towards refugees has developed in some regions and among some board members;
That the CCR contact the new Minister of Immigration and request that:
- Resolution #11 and #18 be implemented and a continuous program of sensitivity training be established;
- The CCR and appropriate regional Bars be involved in the review and confirmation of continuing contracts of members;
- The IRB develop a continuous review of Board members who are unsuitable and develop a procedure to remove or discipline such members.