SOC383 October 4, 2012
Women as refugee claimants
Equity is the sameness / fairness, absence of biases. Inequity sometimes leads to
o E.g. bathroom – women’s bathroom line is longer because there is the same
amount of cubicles in men and women’s bathroom. It takes longer for women to
use the bathroom on average. The is equal but inequitable.
Equality is being equals / having the same rights
Recap: women in flight
1) Resettlement of UN refugees
o Suitability criteria or
o Special programs
2) Refugee claimants
Women at risk (UNHCR definition)
Women targeted after they have been raped, don’t have family as social supports
Women have fear of persecution and the state can no longer protect them. May not
qualify under suitability criteria
Men cannot support or as single head of family
List of violence and abuse
Trauma, being deprived of a normal family or support or cultural ties, abrupt change
in roles and status -- causes them to be more vulnerable than others
Definition and consequences
Suitability criteria does not apply if you show up at the border or the airport. Charter
of Rights and Freedoms forbids it, however, you must still meet the UN definition of a
o Equity problems?
o As part of the charter rights, human rights were established as a fundamental
principle in the way Canadian society is run.
o cannot use the suitability criteria
Must meet the UN definition of refugee
o Fear cannot be used as a reason
Protocol – you must be received by the Canadian Border Services Agency or CIC. If
the claims are deemed legitimate, the individual goes to IRB for a hearing.
Resettlement in Canada (protocol)
IRB (International Refugee Board): What is it and why?
All claims for protection made within Canada are received by a Canada border
services agency immigration officer at a port of entry (border, airport, port) or at a
citizenship and immigration Canada (CIC) immigration center. All claims deemed
eligible by the officers are referred to the IRB for a hearing.
o Hearing - explain why they are a refugee, have a judicator who is familiar with the
law and will decide whether you will be admitted.
Established in late 1980. Government funded and run. Need to exhibit experience
with refugees/immigrant groups, or with the justice system in Canada. SOC383 October 4, 2012
Mandate: hear immigration appeal cases (cannot appeal if you have criminal record -
serious crimes against property and people)
People with criminal records in country of origin are kicked out.
PIF: personal information form
Fast track process: yes or no to claim
Once accepted, then you can go apply for permanent resident.
Indictable offense: cannot appeal or apply (e.g. Fraud)
Resettlement in Canada: refugee claimant
Who is a refugee?
Answer may handicap women as refugee claimants
Why? (3 reasons)
1) Women usually do not have usual refugee profile
o Imprisoned, tortured for political activity etc - "androcentric model" (1954
convention on refugees) SOC383 October 4, 2012
o Public vs private sphere
i. Public - economic, politics, etc. men are more likely to be participants in that.
Whereas women are more involved in invisible labour such as housework.
Men are typically the ones who engage in public scenes, political
warfare/activities, especially in the combat scene (e.g army)/ women are
expected to be in home -- gender roles. Thus will more likely be thrown into
o Persecution in privacy settings may not be recognized - assault, beatings, death,
forced marriages, mutilation, etc. May be construed as a private act of an
i. Bride burning - India. Burn bride if no longer want them (dowry came with was
ii. More hidden
2) Fillies of state to protect less obvious
o Women may be persecuted because of their relationship to others
o Women may be persecuted because they are women (state discriminates or fails
i. Hard topic in law. How do we define what women are as a group? Fear of
imposing a Western definition
ii. Shooting of the Afghan women. Boyd thinks that it was due to her being a
iii. Some Saudi Arabian women find it a Western imposition to challenge their
assertion that women can’t drive.
iv. Women from Iran wearing provocative clothing, admitted to Canada on the
basis of discrimination as a woman
3) Gender roles may add to adjudication difficul