April 22, 2015
Proposed Solutions for a Refugee
Many migrants go to great lengths to reach the shores of another country and seek asylum. It is important to consider what these migrants are aspiring to, apart from an escape from what might be truly unfortunate circumstances in their home countries.
The domestic laws of countries offer varying degrees of protection for refugees. However, most Western countries, including Canada have signed on to the 1951 United Convention on the Status of Refugees, as well as the related 1967 Protocol (together, the Convention). The underlying rationale of the Convention is to provide surrogate protection to refugees who are unable to receive protection from their own nation state.
Subsection A(2) of Article 1 of the Convention defines a refugee as an individual who:
Owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
Once these individuals obtain protection, what sort of protection is envisaged for them?
There are three “durable solutions” adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) for refugees, each of which is based on the idea of protection. They are:
(1) voluntary repatriation to the country of origin when safe to do so;
(2) local integration in the host country; and
(3) resettlement to a third country in situations where it is impossible for a person to go back home or remain in the host country (UNHCR).
Canada, as with most countries which have signed on to the Convention, has adopted the key elements of the above definition of a refugee in its domestic law – namely, through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Furthermore, Canada goes beyond offering just protection to refugees in the forms outlined above. Once an individual is recognized as a refugee, s/he might be able to obtain permanent residency and eventually, citizenship. This makes obtaining refugee status in Canada a viable path to a permanent home in Canada.
For more information on claiming refugee protection in Canada, please contact us.