For immediate release
20 June 2006

International detention coalition launch marks World Refugee Day

Toronto – On this World Refugee Day the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) welcomes the launch of the International Coalition on the Detention of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants. The coalition has been formed by more than 100 human rights groups worldwide, including the CCR, to challenge immigration detention.

“Every day in hundreds of places around the world, refugees and migrants are put into detention,” said Janet Dench, CCR Executive Director. “We have allowed our governments to gradually criminalize the act of seeking asylum and to demonize migrants. Even children are locked up. We have formed this coalition to say a loud “no” to the sweeping use and abuse of detention.”

Detention policies and practices around the world have been highlighted in Toronto these past few days by NGO representatives attending the CCR’s International Conference on Refugee Rights (June 17-19). Among the NGOs represented are the Refugee Consortium of Kenya, A Just Australia, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, and the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM), Malaysia.

Events to launch the coalition are also being held in USA, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa, India, Australia, Lebanon, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Malta, Ireland and Switzerland. Among the members of the coalition are Amnesty International, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Jesuit Refugee Service, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, World Council of Churches, and a number of national NGOs.

The website of the International Detention Coalition is

Janet Dench, Executive Director, on June 20 - (514) 835-2046, after June 20 (514) 277-7223 (ext. 2)
Colleen French, Communications and Networking Coordinator, on June 20 (416) 578-5354 to arrange to speak to one of the NGO representatives from
other countries currently in Toronto.

The Canadian Council for Refugees is a non-profit umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada. The membership is made up of over 170 organizations involved in refugee sponsorship and protection and in newcomer settlement. The CCR serves the networking, information-exchange and advocacy needs of its membership.

6839 Drolet #302, Montréal, QC, Canada H2S 2T1 TEL.: (514) 277-7223 FAX : (514) 277-1447