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Refugee Protection in Canada

    October 05, 2017

    Joint Submission to UN by HR Groups Says Treatment of Children and Persons with Mental Health Conditions Violates International Obligations

    Toronto, October 5, 2017 — A United Nations review of Canada’s human rights record should urge Canada to make concrete commitments to meaningfully address its treatment of vulnerable persons in immigration detention, the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law (IHRP) said today.

    The IHRP, in conjunction with international and national human rights organizations — including Amnesty International, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Justice for Children and Youth — delivered a joint submission to the UN today stating that immigration detainees, particularly children and non-citizens with mental health conditions, continue to suffer significant human rights violations.

    September 06, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the initiative of the Canadian government, and non-governmental partners Rainbow Railroad and Russian LGBT Network, which has brought dozens of gay men from the semi-autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya to Canada as government-assisted refugees. This unique government and civil society partnership comes in response to a coordinated campaign against men in Chechnya who are believed to be gay.

    In early April, the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over a hundred of men believed to be gay had been recently abducted, sent to undisclosed detention centres, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and forced to disclose other LGBTI individuals known to them. Chechen officials have also supported ``honour killings`` of gay men by their families. Amnesty International documented the practice of extrajudicial executions of gay men in Chechnya and elsewhere in the region earlier this year.

    August 21, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada welcomes the efforts of the Canadian Medical Association to protect migrants and refugees, including children, within our borders. The CMA will discuss refugee protection when it meets for its annual meeting in Quebec City August 19-23.

    The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has supported the motion to advocate that “concrete legislative change be made to protect migrants and refugees from being arbitrarily and indefinitely detained in jails and jail-like facilities in Canada”. The CMA has a longstanding mandate to advocate for health-related human rights issues.

    Dr. Shobana Ananth, volunteer Health Network Coordinator, Amnesty International Canada, made the motion stating “As health professionals, we know that detention impacts the mental health of both children and adults resulting in suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and in children, the deterioration of developmental milestones.”

    September 22, 2016

    By Hanna Gros

    Canada prides itself as a place where immigrants and refugees are welcome -- a safe haven strengthened by its diversity, where multiculturalism flourishes. Canada also prides itself as a defender of human rights at home and abroad. Canadians played an important role in drafting the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms has served as a model for human rights instruments worldwide.

    But in recent years Canada has come under harsh criticism from the United Nations and civil society organizations for its immigration detention regime, which deprives children of their fundamental human rights. Under current law and administrative procedures, children affected by the immigration detention regime enter a Kafkaesque world of prison conditions, uncertain lengths of detention, and separation from their parents, that robs them of the opportunity to develop normally.

    June 20, 2016
    Written by Amnesty Canada Refugee Coordinator, Gloria Nafziger @refugeescanada  Champions. Prevention. Solidarity. Rights. Empowerment

    I’m not at home, I’m a refugee. I left my rights behind.

    In the world today we need to ensure that no rights are ever left behind. 

    May 20, 2016

    Sixty-six percent (66%) of Canadian respondents say our government should do more to help refugees fleeing war or persecution.  Younger Canadians are much more likely to think that their government should do more to help refugees (76% agree).  This is the arresting result of an international survey, the Canadian portion of which was conducted from March 7 to 24, 2016, only days after the Government of Canada met its objective to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and the end of February 2016.  The survey was carried out by internationally renowned strategy consultancy GlobeScan and polled more than 27,000 people in 27 countries.

     

     

    Has Canada done enough?

    March 31, 2016
         Sherihan from Syria, resettled in Norway with her husband and son     They said: ‘We have a gift for you. You can come to Norway!’. We didn’t know anything about Norway, but we were so happy.

     

    Over one million people reached Europe last year in fragile, overcrowded boats.

    Why did such a staggering number of refugees and asylum-seekers pay smugglers thousands of dollars to risk their lives? It’s simple: Because they had no other option. With borders slammed shut, few can hope to reach another country safely and legally.

    No one should have to gamble their life on a dangerous journey to get the protection they’re entitled to. And governments could quite easily stop this happening.

    How? By offering people alternatives.

    Canada, for example, has opened its doors to 25,000 Syrian refugees since last November. Every single one reached their new home country in the only obvious way: by plane. They were able to do so because of a solution called resettlement.

     

    March 31, 2016

    Canadian Council for Refugees / Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés (CCR)
    Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers / Association canadienne des avocats et avocates en droit des réfugiés (CARL / ACAADR)
    BC Civil Liberties Association / Association des libertés civiles de la Colombie-Britannique (BCCLA / ALCCB)
    International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) / Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles
    Amnesty International Canada

    March 25, 2016

     

    A poison pen letter has been circulating through e-mail and social media for several years now, which falsely claims that refugees receive significantly more income assistance than Canadian pensioners.  Readers of the missive are invited to share the author’s outrage.  But the provocative claims have been disproven by the Government of Canada and by the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR).

     

    For example, the Cholokian family will not receive any government assistance from Canada or from their new home province, British Columbia. They came to Canada as privately sponsored refugees.  Mania, her spouse Asved, and their two sons arrived on December 31, 2015.  The family fled Syria because of escalating violence and spent three years as refugees in Lebanon.

     

    “Refugees come to Canada in different ways, but no matter the category, refugees receive very limited income assistance from the government,” states the CCR.  So here are the facts:

     

    March 21, 2016
    Garnotte - Refugee 'choices'

    Take the Refugees Welcome Here Pledge! 

    March 08, 2016

    Toronto, ON  – Human rights organizations across the country reacted today to news that an individual has died while in the custody of the Canadian Border Services Agency. The individual died in the Toronto East Detention Centre. The individual’s identity has not been released.

    “Nobody should die while they are in the custody of CBSA” said Mitch Goldberg, President of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. “The public needs answers. What was the cause of death? Could this death have been prevented? Did some action or inaction on the part of CBSA and the correctional facility that they use to house their detainees contribute to their deaths?”

    “It is a shameful fact that since 2000, at least 13 people have died in the custody of CBSA and its predecessor agency,” said Samer Muscati, director the University of Toronto Faculty of Law’s International Human Rights Program (IHRP). “This latest death is a further stain on CBSA’s reputation and highlights the urgent need for reform of the way immigration detention is practiced in this country.”

    March 07, 2016

     

    “You have to understand that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land,” writes Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet. 

     

    On Friday, March 4, 2016, a Turkish court sentenced two Syrian nationals found guilty in the smuggling of 3 year old Alan Kurdi and his family.  The photograph of Alan’s lifeless body on a beach in Turkey became the catalyst for an outpouring of sympathy for Syrian refugees in Canada and beyond.  Alan’s father, Abdullah must live with the devastating result of joining his family on a tiny boat in the hope they would all find safety.  His wife and two sons, as well as two other people, perished on that journey.  Far from abating, the number of refugees attempting dangerous maritime crossings continues to grow.

     

    Refugees are fleeing desperate situations and will do whatever they must to save their lives.  Often they have no choice but to turn to smugglers to help them escape.

     

    November 24, 2015

    These four Kurdish Syrian family members are traveling on foot. This group of brothers and a slightly older uncle left the town of Amuda located in the Kurdish region of Syria 10 days ago. As ISIS fighting was closing in to only 30kms from Amuda, they decided to leave. After making their way to the Turkish border and meeting their smuggler contact, they each had to pay 350 USD to cross the Turkish border on foot, under the cover of night. They made their way to the coastal city of Izmir from which they embarked on an inflatable boat for a perilous 15 minutes journey to Mitilini, Greece. They all had to pay 1200 USD each for this part of the trip. Upon arrival in Greece, they registered as EU refugees and then took a ferry to the Greek mainland where they then travelled by bus to Serbia.

     

    By Gloria Nafziger, Refugee Campaigner for Amnesty International Canada
     

    September 21, 2015

    By Gloria Nafziger, Amnesty Canada's Refugee Coordinator.

    The recent announcement to bring 10,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to Canada by September 2016 has the appearance of being a step in the right direction. Without a doubt, in the face of the most urgent refugee crisis in the past 40 years anything that can be done to expedite the resettlement of vulnerable refugees is a step in the right direction. 

    But it is a very small and disappointing step forward.

    June 17, 2015

    For a good part of the past year I received almost weekly phone calls from Abdi.   He told me he was stateless and had spent most of his childhood in a refugee camp.  He and his family arrived in Canada with as Convention Refugees.  Twenty two years later he found himself in a maximum-security Provincial jail on an immigration hold, while the Canadian government tried to find a way to remove him to his country of birth. His birth however had never been registered, and his birth country did not recognize him as a citizen.
      

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