Queen's University

Problems with new legislation on Canada's refugee system

2010-04-01

Queen’s University Law professor Sharry Aiken is available to comment on legislation introduced today to improve Canada’s asylum system that is intended to deliver quicker decisions on asylum claims and provide faster protection to those in need.

“The proposal would deny access to the appeal to persons from ‘safe countries of origin.’ The concept ‘safe country of origin’ introduces an inherently unfair, two-tier system, which will deny some claimants access to the appeal based on nationality,” says Professor Aiken. “Having a list of ‘safe countries of origin’ politicizes the refugee system. There will be new diplomatic pressures from countries unhappy about not being considered ‘safe.’ It is a mistake to politicize the refugee system.”

She adds, “claimants that will be particularly hurt include women making gender-based claims, and persons claiming on the basis of sexual orientation or sexual identity. In many countries that otherwise seem fairly peaceful and ‘safe,’ there can be serious problems of persecution on these grounds.”

Professor Aiken’s research focuses on the controversies, complexities and challenges posed by immigration and border security measures as well as the impact of these measures on asylum seekers, refugees and the communities they have established in Canada.

To arrange an interview, please contact Jeff Drake, 613-533-2877 or jeff.drake@queensu.ca or Michael Onesi at 613-533-6000 ext. 77513, michael.onesi@queensu.ca, at News and Media Services, Queen’s University.

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