Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 1 Issue 1, 3 April 2006

A Manifesto on Family Reunification will be launched on Refugee Rights Day, April 4th 2006.  Copies of the Manifesto (in English and in French) are available on the CCR website at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/Manifesto.pdf We encourage you and your organization to endorse this important document and to have organizations in your community do so as well.  The CCR has launched a campaign website to promote family reunification for refugee and immigrant families.  Check it out at: www.reunification.ca.

April 4th, Refugee Rights Day, marks the Supreme Court of Canada’s Singh decision that says that everyone in Canada, including refugee claimants, is entitled to justice when life, liberty or security of person are at stake.  CCR members around the country are organizing events to highlight the challenges that many refugees continue to face in Canada.  Check out downloadable and printable Refugee Rights Day 2006 materials on the CCR website at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/RRDay.html

b) The CCR Criticizes Canada’s Treatment of Non-citizens

The CCR published its report to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights criticizing Canada for its failure to respect the basic rights of non-citizens.  The report highlights family separation as one of the key problem areas for Canada.  The report also highlights how Canada discriminates against non-citizens in distributing government benefits and services and its failure to respect the rights of temporary workers to organize and bargain collectively.  Canada will be examined by the UN Committee in early May.

For a media release announcing the report, see: www.web.ca/ccr/releaseCESCRMarch06.html

For a copy of the submitted report, see: www.web.ca/ccr/CESCRsubmission.pdf

For supporting background information, see: www.web.ca/ccr/CESCRbackgrounder.pdf

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International Canada (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) announced the filing of legal submissions in their challenge of the Safe Third Country Agreement, which largely closes the US-Canada border to refugees on 29 March 2006.  The submissions, which include an extensive series of affidavits from US experts, argue that the US is not a safe country for all refugees and that the Safe Third Country Agreement therefore violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as Canada’s international human rights obligations.

A press release on this issue is available at: www.web.ca/ccr/releasesafe3March06.html

Groups at Harvard Law School published a report echoing these concerns at:

www.law.harvard.edu/academics/clinical/asylum_law/

Background to the Safe Third Country Agreement
Since the Canada-U.S. border was largely closed to refugee claimants in December 2004, far fewer refugees have been able to enter Canada for protection.  At the end of December 2005, the CCR published “Closing the Front Door on Refugees: Report on the First Year of the Safe Third Country Agreement”.  (Find the report at: www.web.ca/ccr/closingdoordec05.pdf).

d)   Petition Deadline Extended: ‘Lives on Hold: Nationals of Moratoria Countries Living in Limbo’

Don’t forget the ‘Lives on Hold: Nationals of Moratoria Countries Living in Limbo’ petition!

We can accept petition signatures until the end of April, despite the date listed on the petition. Send your signed petitions to the CCR office.

Online copies of the petition are available at: www.web.ca/ccr/P%C9TITION%20Ang.pdf

You can find the ‘Lives on Hold’ report at: www.web.ca/ccr/livesonhold.pdf

Copies of the ‘Lives on Hold’ brochure is at: www.web.ca/ccr/livespamph.pdf

Background to the ‘Lives on Hold’ campaign:
People from Afghanistan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe who have been denied refugee status are living in legal limbo in Canada.  The Canadian government recognizes that they cannot return to their home countries because of generalized insecurity in their country of origin, but it does not give them any status in order to get on with their lives.  The ‘Lives on Hold’ campaign calls on the Canadian government to grant permanent residence to nationals of moratoria countries who have been in Canada for three or more years.

e) Lives on Hold: Day of Action in Ottawa, 9 May 2006

In collaboration with refugee communities from countries on which Canada has placed a moratorium on removals, representatives from the CCR, La Table de concertation des organismes au services des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes, and La Ligue des droits et des libertés will be taking this campaign to Members of Parliament in Ottawa where the petitions will be tabled in the House of Commons. If you would like to be part of this campaign, send a message to ccr@web.ca

The CCR is holding an International Conference on Refugee Rights in Toronto, ON from 17 to 19 June. For more details, see www.web.ca/ccr/intconf.htm. Anyone interested in refugee rights and networking across borders to promote those rights is warmly invited.  Special registration rates are available for refugee and youth delegates.  Please help us promote the conference.

g)  People’s Commission on Immigration Security Measures

The People's Commission intends to provide a forum for the voices of people affected by immigration security measures.  The CCR has endorsed the People’s Commission to draw attention to the injustices involved in immigration security measures in the months leading up to the Supreme Court hearings on security certificates.  As you may know, the cases of Adil Charkaoui, Hassan Almrei and Mohamed Harkat, three of the men under security certificates are being heard in June. The CCR is applying for intervenor status as part of a coalition.

The organizers of the People’s Commission would like to have as many endorsements as possible, to help the project gain momentum. The names of endorsing organizations will be included on the website and other publicity materials. The organizers are also welcoming financial contributions (for travel subsidies to key witnesses for the hearings) and assistance with promoting the initiative through your networks.

Endorsements are needed no later than 15 April.  For more information about the People's Commission, visit their website at www.peoplescommission.ath.cx or contact Mary Foster at (514) 846-9325, email mfoster@web.net.

 

About the CCR Chronicle

Want to find out the latest developments in immigrant and refugee rights advocacy in Canada? Want to know more about promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees in your community? Then you will be interested in the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Chronicle a monthly digest keeping you in the loop on refugee and immigrant rights advocacy in Canada.

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