For Immediate release
March 14, 2005

Montreal.  The Canadian Council for Refugees and the Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI) call upon the Canadian government to correct the inadequacies of the Canadian refugee determination system highlighted by a recent decision of the U.N. Committee Against Torture (CAT).

In December 2004, the CAT rendered a major decision regarding Canada in the case of Falcon Rios vs. Canada. In addition to finding that the Canadian refugee system failed the claimant, a victim of torture, the decision highlighted some problems with Canada's refugee determination system, notably the lack of any effective appeal or recourse for correcting errors in decisions by the Immigration and Refugee Board. The decision gives Canada 90 days to inform the CAT of what actions it will take to address the situation. That period has now ended but the Canadian government has yet to issue a public response.

“Mr Falcon Rios’ case confirms what we have been saying for years: errors made in Canada’s refugee system go uncorrected,” said Janet Dench, Executive Director of the Canadian Council for Refugees. “We hope that this international criticism will push the Canadian government to finally implement the appeal for refused claimants, which has been in the law for almost three years. The errors in the Falcon Rios case would likely have been corrected if he had the right to such an appeal. And we have no idea how many other refugees face return to persecution, due to a bad decision, without the same opportunity to have their case reviewed at the international level.”

Ms. Dench will be speaking on Wednesday, March 16th at 12 noon at a conference entitled: Judging the Canadian Refugee System - Canada before the Committee against Torture: the Falcon Rios Case.  She will be joined by Mr. Falcon Rios himself, Mr. Stewart Istvanffy, the lawyer who represented Mr. Falcon Rios before the CAT, Mr. François Crépeau, Professor of International Law at the University of Montreal and Director of the Canada Research Chair in International Migration Law and Ms. Delphine Nakache, PhD student and Research Associate at the Chair in International Migration Law. Prof Crépeau and Ms. Nakache are part of a multidisciplinary team which previously cited the Falcon Rios case as illustrating examples of problems with the Canadian refugee system.

The conference will be held at the Université de Montréal, Pavillon J.A. Bombardier, salle 1035 (auditorium) on Chemin de la Polytechnique (continuation of Queen Mary) on March 16, 2005 from 12 to 2 pm.

For further information contact:

Rick Goldman, Table de Concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes, (514) 272-6060 ext. 5
Janet Dench, Executive Director, Canadian Council for Refugees, (514)277-7223 ext. 2
Delphine Nakache, Canada Research Chair in International Migration Law, Université de Montréal, (514) 343-6111, ext. 8777 (also to reserve parking)
Stewart Istvanffy, lawyer in private practice, (514) 876-9776

Link to the CAT decision.

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 180 organizations involved in refugee sponsorship and protection and in newcomer settlement. The CCR serves the networking, information-exchange and advocacy needs of its membership.