CANADIAN COUNCIL FOR REFUGEES
|In collaboration with the refugee communities from the following countries, on which Canada has imposed a moratorium on removals: Afghanistan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.|
Montréal – The Lives on Hold Coalition released a report today showing that current immigration measures provide no solution to many nationals of moratorium countries seeking regularization of their status.
“The government has told us that humanitarian and compassionate applications are the answer for these people who are living in a legal limbo,” said Rick Goldman, spokesperson for the Coalition. “The series of negative decisions received over the last few months shows, on the contrary, that humanitarian applications give inconsistent results – in two similar cases, one is refused and the other accepted. The so-called “humanitarian” solution is seriously lacking in humanity.”
The report analyses a number of negative decisions made in applications for humanitarian and compassionate consideration by nationals of moratorium countries. (Currently the government of Canada has suspended removal to eight countries, Afghanistan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, in view of the situation of generalized insecurity prevailing in these countries). Persons from these countries are allowed to remain in Canada, but don’t necessarily have access to permanent status. Among the findings of the report:
· Many applicants are refused even though they have been in Canada for more than four years and are self-supporting. (Some have been in Canada for 6, 7 or even 13 years).
· Officers each have their own interpretation of the factors that are to be taken into account. For some, four years in Canada do not constitute a “significant period of time”.
· Some officers maintain that nothing prevents the applicants from returning to their country of origin, contradicting the government position that recognizes the situation of insecurity prevailing in these countries.
· Some officers do not take into account the inherent hardship of having to live in legal limbo in Canada.
On 9 May 2006, the Coalition travelled to Ottawa to ask for a solution to the situation of nationals of moratorium countries. At the time, government representatives stated that humanitarian and compassionate applications were the answer.
The recent negative decisions underline the need for a comprehensive solution, which is more urgent than ever. The Coalition asks the government to adopt a regulatory class providing permanent residence to all persons from countries to which Canada does not remove who have been in Canada for three or more years. On 10 May, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration expressed his concern to the House of Commons regarding the situation of persons in legal limbo, but has yet to respond to our proposed solution.
Contact: Colleen French, CCR Communications Coordinator, (514) 277-7223 ext. 1 or (514) 835-2046 (cell)