Making Canada’s Refugee System Faster and Fairer

Reviewing the Stated Goals and Unintended Policy Consequences of the 2012 Reform
9 mai 2017

The authors of the report write : « The SSHRC research project explores the practical and human rights implications associated with the recent moves towards securitization of migration in Canada. Although our research addresses both migration and refugee policies and legislation, our specific focus in this Working Paper are the refugee measures affected by the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act and the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. The Working Paper’s twofold purpose is, first, to examine whether reforms following the adoption of these Acts – which we shorthand to “the 2012 refugee reform” – work in intended ways and have reached their stated goals, notably protecting the “refugee system’s integrity”, including public safety and security. Second, the Working Paper aims at identifying some of the unanticipated consequences of the new measures. It is argued that the government has not been successful in reaching the stated objectives of the laws and policies under review. In addition, these measures have had some unintended and counter-productive results. We hope that the current government will take seriously the need to make progressive changes to our RSD system, in order to better protect the rights of refugees, restore Canada’s compliance with its international human rights obligations, and ensure smoother overall functioning »

« Making Canada’s Refugee System Faster and Fairer » is a working paper recently published by the Canadian Association For Refugee And Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS). To access the full paper, click here.

  Refugees and German citizens attended an integration seminar last year in Weimar. Photo Credit: Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Refugee integration in Weimar, Germany

Article in The New York Times
8 mai 2017

A very interesting interactive narrative compiled by the NY Times on refugee integration in Weimar, Germany.

« Besides the housing and government-provided food or stipends, Weimar’s refugees found a plethora of student, religious and social service groups providing help navigating the German bureaucracy and offering activities and events to pull them into the life of the city.

Dozens of refugees we met said they had been largely welcomed — or ignored — though many recounted moments of public hostility and even physical aggression. As the months passed, we watched them wandering the cobbled streets of Weimar’s old city, pushing bicycles, pausing at kebab shops, playing table soccer with shaggy university students.

“I think this process of integration is going to be more difficult than people realize,” Anas said one day. “And I think it will come as a surprise to many of the Germans, but it is going to be just as hard for them as it is for us.”

To access the full article, please click here

  Photo Credit:

Montreal – « Ville des droits humains »

May 26-27 - "Une ville. Une cause. Trois événements"
8 mai 2017

« Montréal, ville des droits humains » est un événement global qui se penchera sur le rôle joué par Montréal dans la promotion des droits de la personne.

Cet événement de deux jours est organisé par Amnistie internationale, l’Institut Montréalais d’études sur le génocide et les droits de la personne (Université Concordia), le Comité National Arménien du Québec et le Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

  A policeman monitors the security situation along the underground water runway system that runs along the border. This is often used by smugglers to pass contraband in the USA. Photo Credit: Patrick Tombola

USA : Mexican Drug Smugglers to Trump : Thanks !

Article in The New York Times
5 mai 2017

What is true for drug smuggling is also true for migrant smuggling. If push factors and pull factors remain unaddressed, and a barrier is created preventing fluidity from the one to the other, one has the perfect conditions for an underground market to flourish. The more the authorities repress undocumented migrants, the more they are pushed deeper underground into the hands of unscrupulous smugglers, recruiters, employers and landlords. 40 years of the war on drugs have not significantly reduced the power of the cartels. One should remember that the end of the Prohibition in the Thirties brought an end to bootlegging from Canada and destroyed underground empires such as Al Capone’s. Harm-reduction policies have most often worked better than zero-tolerance policies and allowed law enforcement to target specific threats without having to cast too large a net. As for tackling undocumented migration, taking over the mobility market by providing most migrants with regular, safe, accessible and affordable mobility options and repressing employers abusing the precariousness of their workforce are the only way to progressively eliminate underground labour markets and the migrant smuggling industry.

« When asked whether the border wall promised by President Trump will stop smugglers, he smiles. “This is never going to stop, neither the narco trafficking nor the illegals,” he says. “There will be more tunnels. More holes. If it doesn’t go over, it will go under.”

What will change ? The fees that criminal networks charge to transport people and contraband across the border. Every time the wall goes up, so do smuggling profits.

Today, many migrants pay smugglers as much as $5,000 to head north without papers, trekking for days through the Sonoran Desert. Most of that money goes to drug cartels that have taken over the profitable business…

Strengthening defenses does not stop smuggling. It only makes it more expensive, which inadvertently gives more money to criminal networks »

To access the full article, please click here

  A rally demanding justice for refugees in Melbourne, Australia, last month. Photo Credit: Rex Features, via Associated Press Images

Oceania : Australia’s Immoral Preference for Christian Refugees

Article in The New York Times
4 mai 2017

« Like many Western countries, Australia has agreed to resettle refugees from the wars in Syria and Iraq. Unlike other countries, Australia explicitly favors Christians, even though they are a minority of those seeking refuge…. »

« The Australian approach is in part motivated by a belief expressed in private by government ministers, and in public by Christian groups like Mr. Sheldon’s, that Christians are more likely to integrate into Australia’s Anglo-Christian-dominated culture than Muslims. “They have a worldview that’s more aligned with the founding principles of our society,” Mr. Sheldon said of Christians. »

« Selecting refugees based on their spiritual beliefs is a form of state-supported prejudice that secular societies like Australia have a moral obligation to reject. »

Australia is in urgent need of a constitutional human rights framework which would allow judges, at the request of anyone, to judge the conformity of any legislation or executive decisions to human rights standards, without regard to political controversy or electoral pressure, and to disavow them when they violate the human rights of anyone within Australian jurisdiction and cannot be otherwise justified.

To access the full article, please click here