How We Do It
There are three components of the project that offer a unique perspective on religious refugees journeying to Canada, as well as the implications for refugee status determinations at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and worldwide. It features:
An analysis of IRB decisions by the Refugee Protection Division.
This is important in gaining insight into the assumptions that adjudicators apply when formulating their judgments.
An analysis of case law, or the written decisions of adjudicators in appeals of IRB decisions in the higher courts.
This is significant in gaining a perspective on the direction Canada’s refugee law and the implications for decisions worldwide.
A review of literature on the experiences of religious refugees.
This is helpful to develop an understanding of how refugees think about their persecution through the lens of their faith and culture.
Why We Do It
The number of asylum seekers is growing. According to the 2017 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Global Report, worldwide asylum seekers accounted for 3.1 million of the 19.9 million refugees in the world, a figure that increased more than 15% over the year previous. The growth of the refugee crisis worldwide is reflected in the growing caseload in Canada, with pending system claims at the IRB increasing at an average annual rate of 76% from 4,987 in 2013 to 43,250 in 2017. Persecution based on religion is a claim that constitutes a considerable portion of asylum seekers to Canada. An examination of almost 90,000 refugee asylum claims made between January 2013 and September 2017 found that nearly 10,000 of those claims were based on religion.
Meanwhile, there is very little literature on the interpretation of religious persecution claims, and there are no reviews of Canadian practice despite the prominent role Canada assumes in helping refugees and advancing human rights worldwide. There is the serious risk that honest claimants could be sent back to experience continued persecution in their home country. This can have a negative effect on efforts to promote religious freedom and state neutrality in the world.
This project integrates insights about law, psychology, and religion to better support displaced peoples and enhance the practice of those who facilitate their safe passage.