Refugee Determination Complexity

David Matas

Abstract


Refugee determination systems are complex and unfair. This combination is surprising. Why has government after government in Canada and around the world generated refugee determination systems that are both complex and unfair? The answer is that governments intrude into systems that would otherwise be both simple and fair, in order to assert control. They assert control in order to achieve other, non-refugee protection objectives. These nonrefugee protection objectives are inappropriate for the design of a refugee determination system. A refugee determination system should be devised with four objectives in mind: fairness, internal consistency, simplicity, and compliance with international standards. The article examines Bill C-31 and makes recommendations for its improvement with these objectives in mind.

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