29 April 2002

UNHCR disappointed by decision to postpone creation of Refugee Appeal Division

UNHCR was disappointed to learn today of the Canadian government's decision not to implement for the time being a key part of the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Bill C-11),namely, the Refugee Appeal Division. UNHCR had welcomed the planned creation of this Division at the Immigration and Refugee Board, as envisaged in the law which received royal assent on
November 1, 2001.

"An appeal mechanism is a vital part of the refugee determination process," said UNHCR's Representative in Canada Judith Kumin. UNHCR had long urged Canada to introduce a review instance in its asylum procedure. "An efficient appeal procedure would not only correct first instance
errors, but could help to ensure consistency in decision-making and relieve pressure on the Federal Court," Kumin said. UNHCR had not objected to other elements of the new Act, because they were balanced by the creation of the Refugee Appeal Division.

Canada is one of just a few industrialized countries which do not have an appeal on the merits in their refugee determination systems.
For further information please contact Nanda Na Champassak (613) 232-0909