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Refugee Protection in Canada

    August 14, 2018

    Amnesty International and ESCR-Net welcome a ground-breaking decision of the UN Human Rights Committee, which, in upholding a complaint against Canada for breaching the right to life and non-discrimination, ruled that protecting the right to life requires states to ensure that people who lack a regular immigration status – also known as irregular migrants – have access to essential health care services.

    “This is the first time a human rights body has affirmed that irregular migrants’ rights to life and equality include access to essential health care,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch. “In recognizing our common humanity this case sends a strong signal that the right to life can never be compromised by one’s immigration status and that essential health care must be available to everyone who lives in a country – regardless of immigration status.”

    Life-saving treatment wrongly denied  

    August 09, 2018

    In a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau (attached), organizations from across Canada have laid out concerns and questions regarding the appointment of a new and unprecedented Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.

    The key concerns outlined in the letter include:

    June 12, 2018

    The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship House of Commons
    Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

    Dear Minister,

    Re: Independence of Canada’s refugee determination system

    An independent review of refugee determination procedures at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) was established last spring to examine opportunities for enhanced efficiency and productivity.  To date, the results of this review have not been released. There are concerns that the government is considering undermining the role of the IRB as an independent quasi-judicial tribunal responsible for refugee determination in Canada. We are writing to insist that in any new scenario, the independence of the IRB and refugee determination system in Canada be preserved, and that the idea of eliminating the independent adjudication of refugee claims not be taken any further.

    May 25, 2018
    Campaign and Local Organizing Committee of the 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees National Youth Action Gathering

    Brought together by shared passion and commitment for inclusivity, youth empowerment and human rights, the Local Organizing Committee for the 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees’ Youth Action Gathering (YAG) is working to bring together immigrant and refugee youth from across Canada to share, learn and network on strategies to address common challenges. The Local Organizing Committee consists of a partnership between York University’s  Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) and Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, Amnesty International at York and the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC)  Keele Campus Committee. All of them have been active long term participants in the York U Refugees Welcome Here! Campaign.

    December 12, 2017

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) welcomed the order made yesterday by the Federal Court granting the organizations public interest standing, in the legal challenge of the designation of the United States as a safe third country for refugees.

    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'

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