Action Alert

Despite Canada’s action taking in 25,000 Syrian refugees in a few short months, overlooked is the fact that Canada’s assistance to refugees isn’t free to refugees. Rather, it comes in the form of an interest-bearing loan, worth up to $10,000. The truth is that refugees admitted to Canada are expected to pay the government back… Read More


Action Alert – Reform Refugee Loans

Despite Canada’s action taking in 25,000 Syrian refugees in a few short months, overlooked is the fact that Canada’s assistance to refugees isn’t free to refugees. Rather, it comes in the form of an interest-bearing loan, worth up to $10,000.

The truth is that refugees admitted to Canada are expected to pay the government back for all costs related to their screening and flights into our country. Canada is the only country that charges refugees interest on this type of loan.

To date, Canada has only made exceptions to this rule for Syrians fleeing Islamic State’s atrocities, while refugees from Iraq and all other armed conflicts are still required to pay. Although the plan – to spend $245 million over five years towards processing and resettling 10,000 more Syrian refugees – presented in last Tuesday’s federal budget is a good step, this approach needs to be extended to all refugees fleeing from high-conflict regions undergoing mass human rights abuse and civil war.
Join STAND Canada’s call to reform the Immigration Loan Program. We are calling for:

  • Abolishing interest from refugee loans;
  • Abolishing repayment of refugee loans altogether for refugees fleeing from high-conflict regions undergoing mass human rights abuse and civil war; and
  • Making the program more transparent and understandable to foreigners seeking refuge in Canada.

We’re also responding to Canada’s non-use of of the word “genocide” to describe Islamic State’s ongoing attempts to suppress, persecute and eliminate ethnic and religious minorities within the territories it controls. On March 15, the United States House of Representatives recognized these atrocities as genocide, but in response, Ottawa backtracked on a previous recognition.

Please also join our call to have Canada recognize IS’ atrocities as genocide, and to take steps to prevent further atrocities.

Please feel free to copy and paste our suggested letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and edit as you wish:

Dear Prime Minister:

I am writing to you regarding Canada’s Immigration Loan Program, which the vast majority of refugees entering our country still pay. Refugees admitted to Canada are expected to pay the government back for all costs related to their screening and flights to our country, plus interest. To date, Canada has made only made an exception to Syrians fleeing Islamic State’s atrocities, while refugees from Iraq and all other armed conflicts are still required to pay.

Although the Government of Canada’s 2016 budget plan to spend $245 million over five years toward processing and resettling 10,000 more Syrian refugees is a good first step, this generosity needs to expand to all refugees fleeing from high-conflict regions undergoing mass human rights abuse and civil war.

I therefore ask your government to:

– Abolish interest from refugee loans;

– Abolish repayment of refugee loans altogether for refugees fleeing from high-conflict regions undergoing mass human rights abuse and civil war; and

– Make the Immigration Loan Program more transparent and understandable to foreigners seeking refuge in Canada.

Furthermore, I ask that your government formally recognize the atrocities committed by Islamic State as genocide in order to provide leadership and impetus to the rest of the international community to also recognize the genocide and take steps to prevent further atrocities. Official acknowledgement that genocide is being committed in the region is a critical first step to opening up both national and international avenues for greater action in terms of humanitarian aid, refugee assistance and international criminal proceedings.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

 

TO: Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister

Subject: (ie: Concerns Regarding the Immigration Loan Program)

Your Name:

Your Email:

City:

Province:

Postal Code
NOTE: If the Message field of this form is left blank, our suggested message will not be sent to the Prime Minister's Office!

Action Alert – South Sudan Atrocities

After nearly two years of inquiry, the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUISS) has released a report on the human rights violations and abuses committed during the still on-going conflict in South Sudan that broke out in December 2013. While international dialogue surrounding the conflict has always made mention of the rising death toll, human rights abuses and the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis in the region, the AUISS report has brought to light a far more horrific reality in South Sudan than what was thought. Evidence of war crimes by both the government and the rebel paramilitaries has been revealed, including such deplorable acts as massacre, rape, beheading, forced cannibalism, and ethnic cleansing.

While the report makes clear the nature of the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, it also makes recommendations on how best to begin the reconciliation process amongst the South Sudanese people and create a climate of accountability. Under Canada’s new Liberal Government, it is apparent that a commitment to international peace and security is a major part of Liberal foreign policy. To reflect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sentiments on making “Canada a constructive and committed player on the international stage” and reclaiming its global identity of peacekeeping, it is vital that our government act decisively in the face of such a report. South Sudan is currently a Canadian country of focus, and thus it is our responsibility to respond to evidence of war crimes and human rights abuse swiftly and strategically.

We urge you to contact Prime Minister Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau by email to demand a response to the AU report. We have provided a sample text of what to say in this Action Alert Email, but please feel free to use your own personalized message as well.

Alternatively, you can also email your Member of Parliament outside of this form. Your MP’s email address can be found here.

After nearly two years of inquiry, the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUISS) has released a report on the human rights violations and abuses committed during the still on-going conflict in South Sudan that broke out in December 2013. While international dialogue surrounding the conflict has always made mention of the rising death toll, human rights abuses and the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis in the region, the AUISS report has brought to light a far more horrific reality in South Sudan than what was thought. Evidence of war crimes by both the government and the rebel paramilitaries has been revealed, including such deplorable acts as massacre, rape, beheading, forced cannibalism, and ethnic cleansing.

While the report makes clear the nature of the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, it also makes recommendations on how best to begin the reconciliation process amongst the South Sudanese people and create a climate of accountability. Under Canada’s new Liberal Government, it is apparent that a commitment to international peace and security is a major part of Liberal foreign policy. To reflect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sentiments on making “Canada a constructive and committed player on the international stage” and reclaiming its global identity of peacekeeping, I feel it is vital that our government act fast in the face of such a report. South Sudan is currently a Canadian country of focus, and thus i strongly believe it is our responsibility to respond to evidence of war crimes and human rights abuse swiftly and strategically.

The Canadian government should:

1. Respond to the recommendations made by the AUISS to bring perpetrators of war crimes to trial through an African-led internationally supported court. Our government must work with key international bodies to:

    a. Pressure members of the African Union to fast-track and approve the request for the union to have a functioning court of its own.
    b. Find other ways to hold the government of South Sudan accountable internationally, as South Sudan is not a member of any International Court.

2. Work with partners on the United Nations Security Council to send more peacekeepers to South Sudan to enforce the ceasefire.

3. Re-instate the Sudan Task Force (STF) and:

    a. Study the effects and actions of the STF during its years of operation and if it’s disbandment has negatively affected both regions.
    b. Implement a specific STF assignment with a focus on South Sudan to aid in human rights abuse prevention.

4. Work with local South Sudanese groups and humanitarian organizations, such as the UN, International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the church-led Committee for National Healing, Peace, and Reconciliation in South Sudan, to encourage reconciliation initiatives between the Nuer and the Dinka.

Thank you for your attention.

Select your recipient ,

Subject: (ie: Concerns Regarding Abuses Outlined in the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan)

Dear

Sincerely,

Your Name:

Your Email:

City:

Province:

Postal Code

By Camilla Shearman, Blog Writer   The following excerpts are taken from STAND Canada’s Roundtable Discussion on Iraq and Syria, held on September 10th, 2015. Participating in the discussion were STAND Canada Policy Co-Director Priya Ramesh, and UBC Chapter Vice President Julian D’Souza. Moderating the discussion was STAND Canada Chapters Co-Director Adi Burton. A link… Read More


By Camilla Shearman, Blog Writer   The following is an excerpt from STAND Canada’s Roundtable Discussion on Iraq and Syria held on September 10th, 2015. Contributing to the conversation were STAND Canada’s Policy Co-Director Priya Ramesh and UBC Chapter Vice President Julian D’Souza, moderated by Chapter Co-Director Adi Burton. A link to the full discussion… Read More


Action Alert – Syrian Refugees

Post-Election Update:
Thank you for your interest and efforts in sending an action alert to the Canadian federal government! We have disabled the form as several ministers will have not been re-elected and we are currently experiencing a government in transition.
In the meantime, please support our efforts by signing our Youth Anti-Genocide Declaration!

This Wednesday at about 5:30pm Eastern time, our Members of Parliament will vote on Paul Dewar’s Conflict Minerals Act. If you haven’t already, please sign our online petition telling Canada’s MPs to support the bill. If you can spare the time, please also email your local MP today to support the bill. In situations like… Read More


As Parliament resumes today, it is important important more than ever to email your MP to support Paul Dewar’s Conflict Minerals Act. Members of Parliament are due to vote on the bill in the coming days, and your vocal support is key. Visit the Conflict Minerals Act page of the STAND Canada website about emailing… Read More


STAND Canada is proud to support the Conflict Minerals Act, also known as Bill C-486. The bill, introduced March 26th, 2013, would require Canadian companies to exercise internationally recognized due diligence standards to keep mined minerals from fueling conflict and funding groups engaged in human rights abuses. The Conflict Minerals Act is is set to… Read More


Dear STAND members, On Friday, October 11, The Globe and Mail revealed that the Government of Canada abolished a key body responsible for Canada’s operations in the Sudans: the Sudan Task Force (STF). It was responsible for co-ordinating Canada’s three-pronged strategy of aid, diplomacy and security in the region. With the resurgence of violence in… Read More