13 January 2003: Following news that the numbers of refugee claims made in Canada plummetted in 2002, the Canadian Council for Refugees calls on the government to renounce recent anti-refugee measures by scrapping the safe third country agreement and implementing the refugee appeal.Approximately 32,700 people made refugee claims in 2002, compared to nearly 45,000 in 2001 and nearly 38,000 in 2000.


“If anti-refugee measures are brought in because of increases in numbers of claims, it is only reasonable to expect that they will be dropped when the numbers decrease,” said Kemi Jacobs, CCR President.“We never accepted that increased numbers could justify treating refugees unfairly.But that was the government’s argument.Let them therefore follow the logic of their own argument, or we will be forced to ask whether the real reason for the measures is that they are hostile to refugees.”

Over the last year, the government used the increased number of claimants in 2001 to justify the two grossly unfair measures that violate refugees’ basic rights.


Safe Third Country agreement: In December 2002, the government concluded an agreement with the United States which will mean that Canada’s doors will be closed to most refugee claimants who try to enter Canada at the US-Canada border.

Non-implementation of the refugee appeal: On June 28, 2002, the government implemented new legislation reducing the number of decision makers hearing a refugee claim from two to one, but did not implement the appeal provided for in the law.As a result, the fate of refugee claimants, who may face return to arbitrary imprisonment, torture and even death, now depends on the decision of a single person, with no right of appeal.The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration promised on behalf of the government that the appeal would be implemented within a year, but in December he showed signs of backing away from his promise, throwing into new confusion the whole question of the refugee determination system

For more information, please call:

Kemi Jacobs, President (416) 588-6288Janet Dench, Executive Director (514) 277-7223