Refugee appeal board long overdue, Canadian bishops tell government

.- The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has expressed its disappointment regarding the federal government’s decision not to introduce the refugee appeal mechanism, which is provided under Canadian law.

The introduction of appeal proceedings is written into the current Immigration Act, adopted in 2001, but the federal government has stalled its implementation. “The right to an appeal process is a fundamental question of human rights to be recognized for every person,” said Archbishop Roger Ebacher, chairman of the CCCB’s Social Affairs Commission and Human Rights Committee, in a letter to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Giuseppe Volpe.

“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,” he said.

In his Nov. 8 letter, the archbishop of Gatineau pointed out that the government has not moved on the appeal board even though, on two occasions this year, “members of four federal parties presented to Parliament an ecumenical petition containing over 24,000 signatures, demonstrating the concern of Canadians on this issue.”

“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,” said Archbishop Ebacher.

“We must welcome and promise to protect refugees in accordance with our duty to humanity and according to international law.”

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