Resolution 1993.05 Canadian Immigration Policy to Protect Women at Risk of Gender-Related Persecution

October 26, 2013

Whereas, Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees, to the United Nations Convention on Torture, to the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances and has supported the Principles of the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra Legal Arbitrary and Summary Executions; and

Whereas, the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board and the Government of Canada do not interpret the United Nations Definition of ‘social group’ to include women who are persecuted on the basis of their gender or who are victims of violence and abuse; and

Whereas, women are being removed from Canada to countries where they have been persecuted and abused; and

Whereas, women are being removed from Canada to intermediate countries where there is no guarantee that they will not be returned to the country of abuse; and

Whereas, there is no category in the Post Determination Refugee Claimants in Canada Class to allow women fleeing gender persecution or abusive situations to remain in Canada; and

Whereas, there are no criteria under the Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration Process to allow women fleeing gender-related persecution to remain in Canada; therefore, be it

Resolved, that the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in 73th annual national convention assembled, commend the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board for the development of guidelines to be used when women make gender-related claims to be Convention Refugees; and be it further

Resolved, that the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in 73th annual national convention assembled, urge the Ministry of Public Security to further develop a comprehensive policy on refugee status in gender issues, this policy to include: a broader interpretation by Canada of the refugee definition to include women in the ‘social group’ category for credible claim and to recognize the validity of claims of class persecution on the basis of gender; criteria for the visa officers abroad to assess women refugees on the basis of cultural and ethnic practices that discriminate against women; a category for persons with a well-founded fear of gender persecution that should be added to the Post Determination Refugee Claimants in Canada Class; a policy of ‘non refoulment’ (non return) for women who have been the victims of violent abuse, sexual abuse and torture in their country of origin or in the country where they are destined to be returned; a policy of non-removal to an intermediate country that is unable or unwilling to guarantee that the women will not be returned to the country of abuse; and be it further

Resolved, that the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in 73th annual national convention assembled, request to be included as a participant in the national consultation process announced as an initiative by the former Minister of Employment and Immigration, The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, January 1993.