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2010-07-19 07:31:32  来源网站:大中报

Ottawa reforms Canada’s “broken” refugee system


In an effort to fix an asylum system Canada’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration calls “broken,” new reforms are on the way to both expedite the approval and settlement of refugees who need protection, and to speed up the removal of those who do not.


The reforms, announced at the end of June by Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney, will save taxpayers almost $2 billion dollars over five years, mainly because of the fast-tracking of claimants with fraudulent claims or from countries thought to be safe.

《平衡的难民改革法案》,也就是Bill C-11,在6月29日获得参议院通过,并获得皇室批准。

The Balanced Refugee Reform Act, otherwise known as Bill C-11, was passed by the Senate, and received royal assent on June 29.


“These reforms would lead to faster protection for victims of torture and persecution, and faster removal of failed asylum claimants including those who try to abuse Canada’s generosity,” said Minister Kenney in a statement.


“Failed asylum claimants would have access to a new fact-based appeal at the Refugee Appeal Division, while taxpayers would save an estimated $1.8 billion over five years because failed claimants would no longer be able to stay in Canada for years.”


Under the new system, a hearing will be held in 90 days, as opposed to 18 months under the old system. And it will now be 60 days for claimants from a designated country of origin.


According to the Citizenship and Immigration, designated countries of origin are countries that do not normally produce refugees, have a “robust” human rights record, offer state protection or have “strong democratic, judicial and accountability” systems to protect citizens.


Rejected claimants will be able to appeal to a new appeal division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), which now will “expedite the processing of an appeal of a claim that has been determined to be…unfounded by the Refugee Protection Division.”


Decisions on appeals will be rendered within 120 days, but appeal decisions for claimants from designated countries of origin and claimants with manifestly unfounded claims will be rendered within 30 days.


A manifestly unfounded claim is one where the decision maker is of the opinion that the claim is “clearly fraudulent.”


Another change is the time it will take to gather information on the claimant’s case. An information gathering interview will take place “no sooner than 15 days” after the claim has been referred to the IRB, as opposed to the 28 days it took before with the claimant filling out an information form.


And under the new system, a refugee could still have a “pre-removal risk assessment” done after the final negative decision on their claim, but the risk assessment period is limited to one year and the claimant can be removed from Canada during that process.


Kenny also announced planned increases and resettlement of refugees to Canada by 20 per cent. That, according to Kenny, means the resettlement of an additional 2,500 refugees per year.


The minister pointed to refugee claimants from two countries in particular who he said could benefit from the reforms: Refugees from Iraq who are fleeing persecution, and dissidents, gays and lesbians looking to flee Iran.


According to reports, the reforms aim to shrink the number of claims from countries such as Mexico and Hungary, who have democratically-elected governments and “generally” adhere to international human-rights standards.


According to the ministry website describing the reforms, Canada’s asylum system has been “crippled by an ever-increasing number of new unfounded claims, and it can take years to deal with them,” bogging down the government’s ability “to help those who truly need…protection.”


According to ministry, between 2006 and 2008 there was a 60 per cent increase in the number of refugee claims made in Canada. Yet last year, fewer than half of the claims were accepted.


The number of claims plus the amount of time it currently takes to render a decision has contributed to a backlog of around 60,000 claims currently pending before the IRB.


According to data sent to Chinese News by the IRB, from 1989 to 2008 China was somewhere on the top-ten list of refugee referrals to the IRB every year, with the exception of only 1995.


Between the years 2000 and 2008, there was an average of 1,956 refugee claims each year from China, with an average of 967 accepted each year. The remaining claims were either denied, abandoned by the claimant, or still pending.

虽然IRB发言人Melissa Anderson未能说明中国难民前来加拿大寻求庇护的具体原因,但她提到难民申请有一些众所周知的、来自中国团体的成员。有报道说这些人的人权被践踏。

While IRB communications officer Melissa Anderson could not provide specific reasons refugees from China seek asylum in Canada, she did talk of members of well-known groups from China that have reportedly had their human rights violated and who have become claimants.

“法轮功就是其中的一个例子。” Anderson称,“我不知道我们接收了多少维吾尔人,但我们看到许多西藏人申请难民。但具体有多少我也说不清。”

“A good example from China would be Falun Gong,” says Anderson. “I don’t know how many Uighurs we get, but we do see Tibetans, that’s a big one. But how many? I can’t say for sure.


China’s “human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas,” according to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of State.


According to the report, the Chinese government stepped up its suppression of ethnic minorities and continued to “monitor, harass, detain, arrest and imprison journalists, writers, activists and defense lawyers and their families, many of whom were seeking to exercise their rights under the law.”

编注:英翻中:贾宁扬。Translator (English to Chinese): Jack Jia. 如果你对本文有任何评论,或有任何社区、社会和生活问题需要大中报回答或调查,请将你的评论或问题细节以电话留言(416-504-0761 转215分机),或传真(416-504-4928),或电邮([email protected]sgroup.com),或电邮给Terry Davidson ([email protected])。你可以匿名为本报提供调查线索,但调查线索应包括当事人的联系电话或地址、发生问题的时间及地址等信息。


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