On 7 June, the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) called on Parliament to abandon the use of security certificates, in favour of a strategy of criminal prosecutions and full disclosure of evidence. The CCR also made public a submission intended to assist Parliamentarians in making the choice between amending security certificate procedures or simply abandoning their use, following the Supreme Court of Canada’s Charkaoui decision in February 2007.
The CCR is concerned at the increasing use in Canada of secret evidence, and rejects the suggestion that it can be made acceptable by the introduction of a special advocate. The Supreme Court clearly stated that, because of the use of secret evidence, those subject to security certificates are denied a fair hearing.
Canada has also been criticized by United Nations human rights bodies for using immigration processes rather than criminal prosecutions in security cases, as well as for the use of secret evidence.
The CCR’s submission is available at www.ccrweb.ca/documents/Certificates07.pdf. For a summary version, see http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/certificateskey.htm.
For the press release, see: www.ccrweb.ca/eng/media/pressreleases/7june2007.htm
CCR members and other non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives participated in the Annual Tripartite Consultation (ATC) on Resettlement in Geneva from 28-29 June 2007. The ATC takes place annually between the UNHCR and NGOs and governments from resettlement countries.
The medical needs of refugees, especially claimants with HIV/AIDS, were on the meeting agenda, as well as the UNHCR’s proposal for an Anti-Fraud plan of action. The CCR collaborated in presenting a workshop on engaging civil society in the resettlement of refugees, highlighting Canada successful experiences with private sponsorship and the Host program.
For the coming year, the CCR will be the NGO focal point. As focal point, the CCR will be responsible for promoting networking among resettlement NGOs around the world. The CCR plans to work over the coming year with the Canadian government, which will chair the ATC, to ensure productive, truly tripartite discussions focused on making resettlement as effective as possible in meeting the needs of refugees.
On 16 June, the Canadian Council for Refugees joined other national organizations in sending a letter to Parliament opposing implementation of the ‘no-fly list’. In spite of concerns that the program is open to abuse, the Canadian government launched the so-called ‘Passenger Protect’ program on 18 June.
Major concerns with the ‘no-fly list’ include:
- The danger of racial and religious profiling
- The particular risks to refugees and other newcomers with the potential for sharing private information with other countries
- The lack of democratic accountability in the process
- The curbing of civil rights for everyone living in Canada
The coalition of groups opposing ‘Passenger Protect’ is continuing efforts to call on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to examine the plan and to hear public submissions on the issue of the ‘no fly list’.
For a copy of the letter sent to the Standing Committee on Public Safety, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/noflyletter.htm
For a copy of the press release, issued by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, see: http://www.crr.ca/Load.do?section=4&subSection=6&type=2
Before it adjourned for the summer on 15 June, the Senate began second reading of Bill C-280, the bill to implement the Refugee Appeal Division.
Thank you to everyone who has contacted Senators in their region to urge them to support the bill. We have had terrific feedback from CCR members and allies.
Please continue to contact Senators over the summer break and let us know of any responses that you receive. When the Senate reconvenes in mid-September, Bill C-280, calling for the immediate implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division, will be back on the Order Paper. With your help we can promote a speedy passage through the Senate and the establishment of the Refugee Appeal Division after more than five years of delay.
You can find names and contact information of Senators by region at http://www.parl.gc.ca/common/senmemb/senate/isenator.asp?Language=E.
For a guide on how to approach this meeting and on what to say, please follow the links below:
- For a one-page backgrounder on the Refugee Appeal Division to give to a Senator: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/RADSenate.pdf
- For tips on how to organize a phone or in-person meeting with a Senator: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/meetingRADsenate.pdf
For more information about the Refugee Appeal Division, please see:
- A backgrounder on the Refugee Appeal Division: www.ccrweb.ca/RADbackgrounder.pdf
- The CCR’s Refugee Appeal Division webpage: www.ccrweb.ca/RADpage/RADpage.htm
Do you want to be part of efforts to promote rights for refugees? Want to participate in in-depth discussions on pressing issues affecting refugees and immigrants in Canada? Looking to share information and strategies with others from across Canada? Come to the CCR Summer Working Group meetings in Montreal!
Moving forward on issues, Getting involved: For people who have participated in CCR consultations in the past, the Working Group meetings are a chance to advance many of the projects and positions adopted during CCR Consultations. Where CCR Consultations are packed with workshops, training and caucus sessions, the Summer Working Group meetings are a chance to zoom in on issues: getting into greater depth and planning actions, in a setting that encourages greater individual participation. It’s also a chance to become more involved in CCR activities, lending your experience and perspectives to the CCR’s work.
Networking, Learning: For people who are new to the CCR, the Working Group meetings provide an excellent opportunity to get to know others working on issues affecting refugees and immigrants. With an entire day devoted to the business of each working group’s issues, new participants can also see the links between many of the issues nationally, as well as the relevance to their work and their local communities.
When: 7-8 September 2007
Where: YMCA Centre-Ville, 1440 Stanley Street, Montreal QC
For more information, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/meetings.htm
On 19 June, the Canadian government announced that they are extending the length of the temporary resident permit for victims of humans trafficking to 180 days.
While the CCR supported the extension of the temporary resident permit, the CCR continues to call for more effective measures, including a possibility of permanent protection, for trafficked persons.
The CCR has developed a detailed proposal (link provided below). We are asking other organizations to join the CCR in urging the government to adopt this proposal. Efforts to promote protection of the rights of trafficked persons will include a Lobby Day in Ottawa in November 2007. Further details will be available on the CCR’s trafficking campaign website, www.trafficking.ca, in the coming weeks.
For the CCR’s Proposal for Legislative Amendment to Protect Trafficked Persons, see:
For the new release from Citizenship and Immigration Canada on the new changes, see: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2007/2007-06-19.asp
For months the CCR and other organizations and politicians have been decrying the government’s failure to make appointments and reappointments of members to the Immigration and Refugee Board. As a result of this failure, refugee claimants are forced to wait in a quickly growing backlog, unable to get on with their lives and separated from any family members abroad.
The recent appointment and reappointment of a dozen board members, though a step in the right direction, is only a fraction of what is necessary. As of the end of May, the Board had close to 50 vacancies.
In early June the government announced the appointment of Brian Goodman as the Chair of the IRB. He replaces Jean-Guy Fleury, who stepped down in the midst of tensions over the appointments process.
For the CIC news release announcing the appointment of Brian Goodman as IRB Chair, see: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2007/2007-06-04.asp
The Canadian government is not living up to its obligation under the law to review the status of the US as a safe third country. The CCR has made two submissions on this matter to Cabinet, but there has been no substantive response. The second submission adds to the extensive documentation of the first submission by the CCR in November 2006, showing that the US is not now, if it ever was, a safe third country.
The CCR is urging organizations to write to Cabinet to remind Ministers of their obligation to review whether the US meets the definition of a safe third country. Please encourage your organization to send a letter, with a copy to the CCR and to your MP. For more information about what to say, contact Colleen French at firstname.lastname@example.org.
General information about the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement, including the CCR’s two submissions, can be found at http://www.ccrweb.ca/S3C.htm.
- Report from ‘Successful Integration of Refugees and Immigrants’, CCR Spring Consultation, May 24-16 2007, Edmonton
The CCR held a successful spring consultation in Edmonton, attended by over 300 participants. Highlights included a powerful theatrical performance highlighting the problem of trafficking and a visit from Geneva of Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Head of Resettlement Service. Many thanks go to the members of the local organizing committee and the numerous CCR members who contributed to the success of the consultation.
To read the report on the Conference sessions, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/consultmay07.htm
To read the resolutions adopted in May 2007, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/resmay07.htm
- CCR Submission to CIC on Excluded Family Members
As part of our efforts to address the problem of Regulation 117(9)(d) the CCR recently made a submission to CIC analyzing the reasons why R. 117(9)(d) should be eliminated, and possible changes to guidelines and procedures that could be adopted while waiting for the Regulation to be axed. A big thank you to all CCR members and allies who contributed to the submission.
Regulation 117(9)(d) excludes certain family members from ever being sponsored if they were not examined by a visa officer when the sponsor immigrated to Canada.
To read the submission on Excluded Family Members, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/excludedfam.pdf
For background on 117(9)(d), see http://www.ccrweb.ca/excludedfam.html
- ‘ Popular ‘Facing Facts’ myth-buster now available in PowerPoint
Are you planning a presentation to a group? Are you looking for resources to help bust common myths about refugees and immigrants in Canada? To complement the popular ‘Facing Facts’ pamphlet, the CCR has created a PowerPoint presentation for group presentations and multimedia displays.
You can download both the ‘Facing Facts’ pamphlet and the ‘Facing Facts’ PowerPoint presentation from the CCR’s website at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/FFacts.htm