|For Immediate Release|
|20 June 2008|
|Senate vote worth celebrating this World Refugee Day|
The Canadian Council for Refugees joins today in the celebration of World Refugee Day, which comes in a week during which the Senate voted to give refugee claimants the right to an appeal.
This year, World Refugee Day is focused on the theme of “Protecting refugees: Rebuilding lives in safety and dignity”.
“The best way to mark World Refugee Day is through taking concrete steps to protect refugees,” said Elizabeth McWeeny, CCR President. “The Senate has taken such a step by passing Bill C‑280”.
Bill C-280 is a private member’s bill, introduced by Nicole Demers, MP, that will compel implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), created by Parliament in 2001 but never implemented by the government. Without the RAD there is no appeal on the merits available to refused refugee claimants and wrong decisions go uncorrected.
Unfortunately, refugees will still not have the protection of a right of appeal in the near future, as the Senate amended the bill so that the right does not take effect for a further year. The amendment also means that the bill must return to the House of Commons for their approval.
“Every day that the Refugee Appeal Division is delayed means that more refugees risk being denied safety and the opportunity to rebuild their lives,” said McWeeny.
World Refugee Day also offers an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of speedy family reunification to refugees trying to rebuild their lives. The CCR has long highlighted the painfully long separation caused by obstacles in Canadian immigration processing, even in cases where children are separated from both their parents.
Many CCR member organizations are participating in local events across Canada to mark World Refugee Day 2008.
For more information about the Refugee Appeal Division, see http://www.ccrweb.ca/RADpage.htm.
For more information on family reunification issues, see www.reunification.ca.