Media Advisory: Human Rights Groups Protest Draconian Refugee Bill

TORONTO March 15, 2012 – In response to Bill C-31 – an act that would penalize refugees, undermine Canada’s refugee claim process, and could lead to the deportation of permanent residents – several prominent human rights organizations have come together to call for the withdrawal of this bill.

The newly formed Justice for Refugees and Immigrants Coalition is comprised of Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and the Canadian Council for Refugees.

Calling C-31 “unconstitutional” and “un-Canadian”, the Coalition views this Bill as creating a fundamental change to Canada’s refugee system.  These groups felt the need to take strong action in light of provisions that would arbitrarily detain groups of refugees; keep parents, children and spouses apart for years; undermine the fairness of the refugee claim and protection process;  introduce the use of biometrics; and authorize the stripping of permanent residence from refugees.

In addition, the Coalition objects to the Bill as bad policy, that

“gives Ministers broad, unfettered and unprecedented powers.  The concentration of enormous and vaguely defined powers in a Minister, with no mechanisms of judicial accountability, displays a dangerous inclination away from the rule of law and principles of responsible and democratic governance.”

The coalition will hold a press conference and an event on March 26.

For the Coalition’s statement of principles, click here.

Media contacts:

Amnesty International
Elizabeth Berton-Hunter
Cell: 416.904.7158

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers
Mitchell Goldberg

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv
416.363.0321 ext. 225
Cell: 647.780.9802 // 416.658.5150 

The Canadian Council for Refugees
Colleen French
514.277.7223 ext. 1
Cell: 514.476.3971