Monday, June 18, 2007

World Refugee Day (Wed.June 20)


I’m on the BC/Yukon regional Amnesty International list and they always send out great events. I won’t be in Vancouver for this one, but check it out if you can! (check out the international website at www.amnesty.org to find your local group).

Celebrate World Refugee Day - Wednesday, June 20

The Canadian Red Cross and Vancouver Refugee Council present "TAKING REFUGE
AMONG US" ... a series of activities and events throughout the day to help
people explore refugee experiences in Canada, and Canada’s role in offering
them protection and assistance. Vancouver Public Library, 350 W. Georgia
St
. For more information, contact Jenny Moss (604) 709-6662 /
jenny.moss@redcross.ca

12:00 – 2:00 pm – How do refugees come to Canada?
Learn from agencies and refugees themselves how Canada protects refugees
through government assistance, private sponsorship and the claimant
process. Library Concourse.

5:30 – 6:30 pm – A day in the life of a refugee claimant: a simulation
experience for yourself, what it is like to arrive in Canada and request
protection. Discussion to follow simulation. Alice McKay Room (downstairs).

7:30 – 9:00 pm – Facing facts: myths and misconceptions about refugees and
protection. Participate with speakers from the refugee community, legal and
community services and government agencies who together will outline the
legal, humanitarian response to the refugee reality and help us explore how
we can all contribute to a positive start in Canada for refugees fleeing
persecution. Alice McKay Room (downstairs). Admission is free.

To celebrate this day, I wanted to find out more about refugees, women, and Canada.

I found this article:

“Gendering Canada’s Refugee Process” by Catherine Dauvergne, Leonora C. Angeles, and Agnes Huang. The research and publication was funded by the Status of Women Canada. Here is a link to the pdf file (it’s really long).

http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/pubs/pubspr/0662435621/200607_0662435621_e.pdf

I can’t do the article justice by summarizing it, I would really recommend checking it out though, there are some very interesting issues raised. There are great stats tables at the end (e.g. p.117 Appendix B for the gender break-down of refugee claim outcomes 1989-2003) as well as 79 recommendations to the Canadian government in areas such as conducting gender-based analyses of the Canadian refugee process (changing guidelines aren’t enough! We need to push for follow up).

Here is a brief sample of the concluding paragraphs. Please look at the article when you have a minute though, it’s fascinating!

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act makes an unprecedented Canadian legislative commitment to include a gender-based analysis in annual reporting of actions under the Act. This report considered how this is being carried out in the area of refugee determination. Our conclusion on this point is that while planning is underway to begin a gender-based analysis, the analysis phase has not truly begun.

The IRB’s Guidelines on Gender-Related Persecution were the first in the world. They are important for women seeking refugee protection, and are well institutionalized at the IRB. However, they are only relevant to one aspect of a woman’s experience seeking refugee status in Canada. This process begins when she first says she would like to make a claim, and ends when she is a permanent resident reunited with her family, or when she leaves Canada. There are policies, procedures, rules and processes along the way. Few of these take gender-related persecution into account. We have some recommendations about making the guidelines, or their use, better. Most of our recommendations address other things: what happens to a woman before she enters the hearing room, and after she leaves it. The guidelines alone do not settle the issue of gender in refugee determination.


Happy reading, let us know what you think!

Edith (who feels way more passionate about refugee rights after going through that article!)

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