A Call For Justice, Equity and Fairness - Refugee Rights Day 2024



Refugee Rights Day 2024 Statement

Toronto / April 4, 2024

Today on April 4, 2024 we commemorate the 1985 Supreme Court decision – the Singh Decision - that recognizes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects refugees’ fundamental rights.

The commemoration is more important than ever this year as we continue to see an increase in people displaced around the world and made refugees as a result of violent conflicts and the impacts of climate change, while governments respond with ever more restrictions and barriers on their right and ability to seek safety. It is important to recognize that Canada has participated in creating the conditions that force migration, including, for example, international trade agreements that have disenfranchised groups around the globe, investments into international conflicts, implementing sanctions on nations, and an unwillingness to divest from corporations that perpetuate violence.

At greatest risk are refugees who are 2SLGBTQ+, women, African, racialized and Muslim – as they are disproportionately scrutinized, surveilled and criminalized often by the very systems that should extend safety and protection. Racial bias, prejudice and systemic racism are evident in the differential and hostile response around the world and here in Canada, in particular to African refugees. The Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States continues to endanger refugees travelling from the US to Canada in search of asylum, and puts their lives in jeopardy.

We call on the Government of Canada to fully honour its domestic and international commitments towards refugees, and:

  • Open additional avenues for refugees and those in need of it to find protection in Canada
  • End the detention of refugee claimants
  • Immediately provide safe and adequate shelter and housing for refugee claimants
  • End processing delays so refugee claimants do not have to wait months to get a work permit, healthcare, supports and services
  • Accelerate refugee family reunification and expand the definition of family
  • Immediately withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States
  • Adopt a rapid response framework to respond to humanitarian crises that is transparent and equitable regardless of race, nationality and ethnicity

Join us in calling for the fair and equitable treatment of all refugee claimants and refugees in Canada.

Toronto Refugee Rights Day 2024 Committee

View information from Canadian Council for Refugees about the "Singh Decision".