For immediate release
11 November 2004
Refugee Families Endure Years of Separation
Montreal. The Canadian Council for Refugees today released a report,
More Than a Nightmare
, showing that refugees in Canada wait years to
reunite with their spouses and children abroad.
“Keeping families separated is cruel, unnecessary and unworthy of Canada,”
said Nick Summers, President. “We call on the government to solve the
problem by allowing families of refugees to travel immediately to Canada to
be processed here.”
Many of those affected by delays in family reunification are children.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has criticized Canada, in 1995
and again in 2003, for taking “insufficient measures aimed at family reunification.”
As a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Canada is obliged
to deal with applications for family reunification for a child “in a positive,
humane and expeditious manner.”
Among the case examples included in the report are the following:
· Mahmoud and Samira (not their real names) last
saw their two teenage daughters four years ago. Processing of their
application for family reunification has been going on for more than three
years. According to Mahmoud, “It’s more than a nightmare for me. The
stress is making me ill. Four years and no result.”
· Farideh (not her real name) was forced to leave
her son in Iran over four years ago. She applied for family reunification
two and a half years ago and processing doesn’t even seem to have begun.
She was jailed for five years with her son as a small child and tortured in
her home country.
Long delays put family members overseas at risk, especially when they are
facing persecution or in countries at war. Prolonged separation also
leads to family breakdowns and makes it more difficult for refugees to integrate
into their new home in Canada.
More than a Nightmare: Delays in Refugee Family Reunification
available at www.web.ca/~ccr/nightmare.pdf
(or from the “What’s New” page)
Nick Summers, President, (709) 682-9329
Janet Dench, Executive Director (514) 277-7223 (ext. 2)
To speak to refugees separated from their family: Catherine Balfour (514)
277-7223 (ext 1)
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.
6839 Drolet, #302, Montréal,QC, Canada H2S
2T1 TÉL.: 514 277-7223 FAX : (514) 277-1447
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org WEB SITE: www.web.ca/~ccr/