Refugee Appeal Board: The Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the CCCB is very disappointed in the refusal of the government

Tuesday, November 08 2005

The Honourable Guiseppe Volpe
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Refugee Appeal Board

Dear Minister:

As Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), I wish to express to you our disappointment regarding the decision of your government to refrain from implementing the refugee appeal mechanism provided under Canadian law.

The CCCB Social Affairs Commission and Human Rights Committee are following the refugee issue closely. We believe that the right to an appeal process is a fundamental question of human rights to be recognized for every person. Faced with a situation in which someone, if deported, risks death, torture or extreme cruelty, human conscience must guide our decisions and action toward Canada’s treatment of foreigners, and in particular of refugees.  The current mechanisms for pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) as well as requests for permanent residence for humanitarian considerations cannot serve in lieu of appeal proceedings.

Under the Immigration Act adopted in 2001, the introduction of appeal proceedings is a supplementary safeguard and a measure of protection for refugees. This mechanism has not yet been introduced, and you are once again refusing to institute it, even though, on two occasions in 2005, members of four federal parties presented to Parliament an ecumenical petition containing over 24,000 signatures, demonstrating the concern of Canadians on this issue.

Mr. Minister, we hope the law approved by Parliament will be taken seriously by your government which should implement this appeal mechanism to ensure justice and equality for persons who seek refuge in our country. We must welcome and promise to protect refugees in accordance with our duty to humanity and according to international law.


Most Reverend Roger Ébacher
Archbishop of Gatineau-Hull
Chairman, Human Rights Committee 
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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