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2012-01-19.The Canadian State.doc

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1130
Alina Marquez

2012-01-19 The Canadian State & “The Refugee Question” in Historical Perspective: Altruistic or Self-Interested? Should Canada open or close its doors to asylum seekers? • Refugee debate not new • Been affected by social and economic climate conditions • Not a new debate • Tend to focus on three areas o Legitimacy of the claim o Do we have the capacity to absorb refugees o Security Defining Refugees • Difference between internally displaced persons and refugees? o Much in common o Displaced internally displaced due to persecution or war o Difference is internally displaced do not cross international boundaries while refugees do o Crossing border to seek asylum does not automatically make someone a refugee o Uprooted, but remain asylum seekers o Legal definition: Both international and national yard sticks to determine if someone should be granted refugee status o 1951 U.N. Convention (and the 1967 Protocol)  Person who has a well founded fear for reasons of being persecuted for reasons of face, 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  After 1951, main source of refugees became the third world  Created a crisis of major proportions  In 1999 over 20 million displaced persons • Refugee is a social construction, a legal entity • Must meet certain criteria developed by the international community (1951 agreement, 1967 protocol) • As it is a social construction, therefore it can be changed based on new circumstances • Laws are made by people, should be subject to scrutiny • 3 criteria taken in to account to create a sociological definition (Zolberg reading) o Activist o Target (1951 Convention identifies Activist and Target) o Victim • Should move away from a definition based on cause, to a definition based on
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