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: St. James the Apostle Church, 1439 St. Catherine Street West, Montreal QC (metro: Guy-Concordia)
For more information, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/meetings.htm
For electronic copies of the proposed agendas, send an email to Colleen French at: email@example.com
In mid-July, the government issued its response to the Parliamentary Committee on Public Safety’s sub-committee report on the Anti-Terrorism Act and security certificates. It affirms the government’s intention of continuing to use security certificates. Although the Supreme Court’s central finding in the Charkaoui case was that the security process violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the report suggests that the Court simply ruled that “the Government could do more to protect the rights of the individual”. The report also states that the government is continuing to review the idea of a ‘special advocate’ procedure and will table legislation on this issue in the near future.
In late August, the government also issued its response to the Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration’s report on detention conditions for security certificate detainees. The response rejects most of the recommendations, including significant ones such as using criminal prosecutions rather than immigration procedures, having the Correctional Investigator oversee the Kingston facility, and having a complaints mechanism for Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The government reported some changes in line with recommendations such as: improved telephone access, better canteen facilities, and suspending the head count. The only recommendation it welcomed is the call for adequate resources for police and intelligence services.
The government response to the report on the Anti-Terrorism Act and security certificates response is available at: http://tinyurl.com/2ylkq8
The government response to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration’s report on security certificate detention is available at: http://tinyurl.com/2bctk4
The CCR has published a position in follow up to the Charkaoui decision, available at http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/Certificates07.pdf
For media coverage of the report on the Anti-Terrorism Act and security certificates, see:
‘Tories launch bid to restore anti-terror powers’, The Globe and Mail, 19 July 2007. Available online at: http://tinyurl.com/2sfs8t
For media coverage of the report on security certificate detention, see:
‘Sex, cooking not allowed for detained terrorism suspects’, The Globe and Mail, 28 August 2007. Available online at: http://tinyurl.com/28tcfc
Once it begins sittings on September 18th, the Senate will resume second reading of Bill C-280, the bill to implement the Refugee Appeal Division.
Senators who are supportive of the bill tell us that it is important for Senators to hear from Canadians that they want the bill passed. Letters and telephone calls make a difference. Please continue to contact Senators. When you write, copy the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Senator Yoine Goldstein. Please let us know of any responses that you receive. 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://tinyurl.com/eyuxb.
Once the bill is referred to committee for study, it will be important to contact the members of the committee (we don’t yet know which committee it will be sent to).
For a guide on how to approach a 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
Are you and your organization active within the CCR? Are you interested in taking your participation to a deeper level? You might consider nominating yourself or a member of your organization to the CCR Executive Committee. The CCR is calling for nominations for eight new members of its Executive Committee, including the positions of President, Vice-President, and six counsellors/board members (members-at-large of the Executive).
The deadline for nominations to the Executive Committee is 27 October 2007. Elections will take place at the CCR’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday 1 December 2007 in Ottawa.
For more information on nomination criteria and the responsibilities and expectations of elected Executive Committee members, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Executive Nominations’ in the subject heading.
In May, CCR members in the Immigration and Settlement Working Group agreed to establish a subcommittee on migrant workers. This is part of an effort to define the CCR principles and guidelines relevant to migrant workers and develop priorities for advocacy. The subcommittee will be open to participation from all CCR Working Groups and will meet mainly through conference calls. The first task of the subcommittee will be to define its mandate in relation to the general mandate of the CCR, taking into consideration the resolutions already adopted with respect to migrant workers.
If you are interested in participating in the subcommittee or wish to have more information, please contact Meissoon Azzaria at email@example.com
The Lives on Hold Coalition, including the Canadian Council for Refugees, has developed a factsheet answering common questions about moratoria on removals, the rights of people from moratorium countries living in Canada, and steps to take while living in legal limbo in Canada (applications for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds). The final section includes a list of useful contacts. If your organization provides resources for nationals from moratorium countries living in limbo and you would like to be added to this list of contacts, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The factsheet is now available in English and French on the Internet at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/moratorinfo.htm (English version)
http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/infosheetmoratoria.pdf (downloadable and printable version)
Please share this resource with individuals and organizations that you know of who are either living in legal limbo or who work with clients from moratorium countries. For more information about the Lives on Hold campaign, see www.ccrweb.ca/livesonhold.htm
In 1999, Anne-Marie Kabongo arrived in Canada, asked for asylum and found her first home at Refuge Juan Moreno in Montreal. Refuge Juan Moreno, a short-term shelter for women, children and unaccompanied minors who are seeking asylum in Canada, has since become Anne- Marie’s permanent home, and its staff her family. After roles as a resident and then the night supervisor at the Refuge, Anne-Marie is now its Coordinator. In pursuing this work she maintains her commitment to fight for what she believes in and her father’s legacy: the protection of human rights.
Led by her strong belief in the freedom of speech, Anne-Marie was drawn to the CCR and attended her first CCR Consultation in 2001. That experience and her natural curiosity have led her to become more involved: she is presently a recipient of the CCR’s Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund. The Fund encourages the participation of refugee leaders at CCR meetings and covers their travel costs. For Anne-Marie, her experience in this program has been “fabulous”: “I understand the issues better. I go to learn and to meet with people with experience in the work that we do.”
Her advice to others looking to get involved in the CCR? “Don’t be shy. No one knows everything and no one has all of the explanations, but I understand the issues better. I am humbled by what I learn.”
Interested in learning more about the Amina Malko Refugee Participation Fund or participating in the CCR’s Refugee Leadership Development Program? More information is available at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/refugeeparticipation.htm and http://www.ccrweb.ca/refleadership.pdf
Applications for both of these programs will be available in November 2007 on the CCR website, announced in the CCR Chronicle and posted on the CCRLIST listserve.
**Know an individual or program related to the CCR or that you would like to see featured in the CCR Chronicle? Please send your suggestions to Colleen French at email@example.com**