In the news


CRS/YCAR Annual Student Conference – Call for Papers

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Announcing new CRS Assistant Director: Aderomola Adeola

CRS is pleased to welcome Dr. Aderomola Adeola as the CRS Assistant Director for 2021-22.

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Syria Response and Refugee Initiative (SRRI): Final Report

From Fall 2015 until the end of April, 2019, the York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative (SRRI) led York’s participation in the Pan-GTA Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge to sponsor Syrian refugees and helped educate, mobilize and work with York students to promote awareness and become engaged in refugee issues on campus and with the wider community.

In July 2019, Project Lead John Carlaw prepared a Final Report on the project for the Centre for Refugee Studies.

In light of renewed interest in refugee resettlement in Canada due to the crisis in Afghanistan, we are publicly posting the Report in the hope that it may be of use to other institutions:

 Final Report


Announcement: Recipient of the 2021 Anthony Richmond Scholarship

The Centre for Refugee Studies is delighted to announce that Michael De Santi has received the 2021 Anthony Richmond Scholarship. This scholarship recognizes promising graduate student research on the intersections of forced migration and environmental changes, such as climate change, flooding, drought, forest fires, and land or sanitary degradation.

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CRS-hosted Refugee Law Lab Associate Director Petra Molnar is featured in a Globe and Mail article about the growing prevalence of surveillance technology at Canada’s border. 

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 Job Posting: CRS Assistant Director

The Centre for Refugee Studies is looking for an emerging scholar to serve as a part-time
(0.6 FTE) Assistant Director who will oversee the CRS Summer Course, assist with
CRS administration (with a particular focus on student programs), and pursue a
research project. The aim of the position is both to assist CRS and to provide a refugee
studies scholar who has completed a PHD but who has not yet secured a tenure track
position with a transitional opportunity that will enhance their candidacy for tenure
stream positions.

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The Refugee Law Lab is delighted to announce the launch of the Refugee Law Lab Reporter

The RLLR publishes positive decisions from the Refugee Protection Division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. We publish these decisions because the vast majority of Canadian refugee decisions published elsewhere involve refugee claims that were denied at first instance. The disproportionate publication of refugee decisions that involve negative first instance decisions distorts jurisprudence, prevents lawyers from drawing on positive examples in their arguments, and makes it difficult for scholars to study refugee adjudication.

The RLLR obtains redacted RPD decisions through Access to Information and Privacy requests. If you would like to see us publish a specific decision or a particular type of decision, you can let us know on the our webpage.

Check us out here:

This project was made possible through funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Clear safeguards needed around technology planned for border checkpoints

Automated systems can affect decision-making for things like immigration and refugee applications

Moria 2.0: The EU’s sandbox for surveillance technologies

The three camps of Lesvos, Old Moria, Moria 2.0 all tell a story of the multi-layered ecosystem which gives rise to the allure of quick fixes facilitated by technology. Yet the complexity of human movement is nothing but simple, writes Petra Molnar, Associate Director, Refugee Law Lab

Refugee Law Lab Receives Grant to Build Free Legal Analytics App

February 12, 2021

The Refugee Law Lab is delighted to announce that we have received funding from The Law Foundation of Ontario to build a legal analytics app for refugee lawyers and others interested in Canadian refugee law decision-making.

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Message from the Director

January 2021

Well, 2020 didn’t go exactly as we had planned!

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Announcing the winner of the CRS 2020 “Haiku Your Research Challenge”!

கப்பல் (kappal – ship in Thamil)

Tamils flee by sea
Arrive, detain, separate
Waiting in limbo

Congrats to Harini Sivalingam (PhD candidate, Socio-Legal Studies, York University) whose research examines how Tamil maritime forced migrants from Sri Lanka who arrived to Canada aboard the MV Ocean Lady and MV Sun Sea conceptualize and navigate their experiences prior to and during their maritime journey, and upon encounter with the Canadian state. By focusing on this ‘hypervisible’ example of maritime forced migration, the research investigates how Tamil forced maritime migrants experience their journeys and arrivals to Canada. More specifically, the research is interested in ways that Tamil maritime forced migrants make sense of their experiences in the context of dominant and intersecting concerns with securitized, criminalized and humanitarian governance of forced migration that influence Canadian law, policy, and decision making in this domain. While formal state and civil society responses surrounding the governance of maritime arrivals of forced migrants are studied in this research, the primary focus is on the voices, decision-making, and experiences of the Tamil forced maritime migrants.

UN warns of impact of smart borders on refugees: ‘Data collection isn’t apolitical’

Petra Molnar, Associate Director of the CRS Refugee Law Lab, is quoted in this story in the Guardian about a report on new tech and migration by UN Special Rapporteur Tendayi Achiume.

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Report: Technological Testing Grounds: Border tech is experimenting with people’s lives

A new report from the Refugee Law Laboratory and EDRi (European Digital Rights) investigates how new technologies are increasingly being used at the border and to manage migration. Technological Testing Grounds is based on over 40 conversations with refugees and people on the move and shows that much of this innovation occurs without adequate governance mechanisms and does not account for the very real impacts on people’s rights and lives.

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York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies awards the 2020 Anthony Richmond Scholarship

The Centre for Refugee Studies is delighted to announce that Dahabo Ibrahim is the inaugural recipient of the Anthony Richmond Scholarship.

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York University to grant master’s degrees to first cohort of refugees in Kenya

York research explores refugee participation in Kenyan camps

York University doctoral student Mohamed Duale documents the dilemmas faced by refugees in extended exile in his recent report for the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN), a team of researchers and practitioners committed to promoting protection and solutions with and for refugees.

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York PhD student examines the diversity of refugee experiences

CRS Going Virtual

Dear CRS members,

York University has continued to  shutdown the physical campus due to COVID-19 for the Fall 2020 semester. While some essential staff will be on campus, most services will take place virtually.

Fortunately, much of our work can be done online – research development, budget preparation, reports, grant applications and submissions, payroll, expense reimbursements, and so forth.  If you would like to schedule virtual meetings with your colleagues and research partners, we are here to help if you have technical capacity issues – just give us a heads up.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Stay well. 

New publication from CRS affiliate Obiora Okafor

Announcing the publication of Refugee Law after 9/11 from UBC Press!

As a special introductory offer, UBC is offering 40% off of the hardcover book to friends and colleagues.

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New publication from the Refugee Research Network

Mobilizing Global Knowledge: Refugee Research in an Age of Displacement

Edited by Susan McGrath and Julie E.E. Young

Available for purchase or a free PDF download at







Appointment of Prof. Sean Rehaag as CRS Director, 2019-2022

 CRS is pleased to announce that Professor Sean Rehaag has been appointed as CRS Director for 2019-2022.

Professor Rehaag is an Associate Professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. He specializes in immigration and refugee law, human rights, legal process and access to justice. He frequently contributes to public debates about immigration and refugee law, and he engages in law reform efforts in these areas. His research focuses on empirical studies of immigration and refugee law decision-making processes, including quantitative research using large data-sets to study extra-legal factors that influence outcomes in Canadian refugee adjudication. He is also pursuing research using experiments to help better understand how refugee adjudicators make credibility assessments. Prior to joining the Osgoode faculty in 2008, Professor Rehaag was a visiting scholar at the Université de Montreal’s Chaire de recherche du Canada en droit international des migrations. He has also been a visiting scholar with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at UC Hastings, a visiting researcher at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and an instructor at the University of Victoria and the Université de Sherbrooke. He holds an SJD from the University of Toronto, an LLB and BCL from McGill University, and a BA from the University of British Columbia. He is the recipient of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers Scholarly Paper Award (2013), the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers Advocacy Award (2012), the Osgoode Teaching Excellence Award (2011) and the Alan Marks Medal (2008). From 2015 to 2018, he served as the Academic Director at Parkdale Community Legal Services.

Support York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies

Research about refugees and others displaced by violence, persecution, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation is more important than ever. The number of refugees and other displaced people around the world is at record levels. Refugee and forced migration issues are hot button topics in Canada and elsewhere, with increasingly polarized political rhetoric and proposed policy responses. In that context, it is essential that public conversations about refugees and other displaced people be informed by the best possible evidence and by well-developed theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives – including perspectives that engage meaningfully with people who have lived experience with displacement. Your contribution will help CRS pursue innovative research, education, and policy engagement dedicated to advancing the well-being of refugees and other displaced people in Canada and around the world.

Three options for contributing:

  1. I want to help CRS pursue research today. Select “CRS Support Fund
  2. I want to help make CRS sustainable over the long term. Select “CRS Endowment
  3. I want to help CRS support students who are refugees or without status. Select “CRS Refugee Student Bursaries


Take Note! The Kolkata Declaration

The Kolkata Declaration was adopted on November 30, 2018 in Kolkata at a week-long conference hosted by the Calcutta Research Group. It is a document that advances a regional and postcolonial perspective on refugee protection, in part as a response to the New York Declaration and Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) that was initiated largely by global North actors in September 2016. The GCR process largely left out South Asia and Southeast Asia as regions, states, and civil societies that do a great deal to support and protect refugee who may also be called migrants, but who fall outside the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugee definition and and that in the 1967 Protocol.

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CRS Professor Wenona Giles Invited to Join Royal Society of Canada

On November 16, 2018 CRS resident scholar and anthropology professor, Wenona Giles, was inducted as a Fellow into the Royal Society of Canada, one of the country’s highest academic honours.



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Appointment of Prof. Luann Good Gingrich as CRS Associate Director, 2018-2019

CRS is very pleased to announce that Prof. Luann Good Gingrich has been appointed as CRS Associate Director for the 2018-2019 academic year.

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Humane mobility: A manifesto for change

A deep reimagining of migration is urgently needed. We are profoundly concerned about responses to human mobility, including the Global Compact on Refugees and the artificial separation from wider migration issues. It emerges from exclusionary drafting and decision-making processes that ignore the lived realities of the people and spaces most affected by displacement. It privileges state sovereignty over human beings. It reinforces unequal power relations and waters down existing commitments to human rights and dignity.

In an act of refusal rather than reform we propose this manifesto as one mechanism to re-centre people and spaces of displacement. We hope to contribute to a generative, inclusive movement that finds creative and humane ways to work in solidarity with people on the move, and the individuals, communities and organizations who live and work within these spaces of displacement.

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York University’s distance-education program breaks barriers for refugees

(Globe and Mail, June 20, 2018) “We told [all the students], your success is not based on leaving your classmates behind. In fact, it is the opposite: It is ‘No one left behind,’” Mr. Dippo said. “I think this has helped them to succeed even though there are limits to the supports we can give them.”

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An Information Sheet for People Taking Part in Forced Migration Research

Taking part in a research project gives you a chance to make your voice heard, but it can also be inconvenient, cost you time or money, and/or make you feel physically or emotionally uncomfortable. This information sheet explains key terms and outlines your rights.

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Next Steps and Reflections from Refugee Sponsors and Resettlement Professionals

On June 12th, 2017 York University’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative hosted a meet and greet for sponsor teams across the GTA University Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge (RULSC) at Osgoode Hall Law School’s Professional Development Centre in downtown Toronto.

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Featured article on research ethics from Refuge now available for download

Ethical Considerations: Research with People in Situations of Forced Migration

by Christina Clark-Kazak, with the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies

(From the Preamble) Research involving people in situations of forced migration deepens our understanding of their experiences and has the potential to inform evidence-based decision-making, but also poses particular ethical challenges and opportunities. This document is intended to provide researchers, community organizations, and people in situations of forced migration with information on the particularities of forced migration contexts to complement established ethical principles and frameworks on research with human subjects more generally. They draw on good practices identified in a scan of civil society and government documents and academic literature.

English version

Version Française

Educational Resource: Unit Plans on Migration, Refugees and the Indochinese Refugee Movement in Canada: For all those who are interested in teaching about refugees and refugee issues, and specifically at the primary and secondary levels in Canada, you may wish to visit the material just posted on the Educational website of the IndoChinese Refugee Movement (ICRM) Project Hub at

The Centre for Refugee Studies is very pleased to announce that $1.35 million has been awarded to Prof. Michaela Hynie (Faculty of Health and CRS Executive Committee member) by the  Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) to study Refugee integration and long-term health outcomes in Canada.

This project, with partners from 3 provinces, including some 2 dozen co-investigators, academic and community-based settlement agencies, will compare how government-assisted refugee (GAR) and private-sponsored refugee (PAR) resettlement programs support long-term social integration pathways for refugees and the impact of these pathways on physical and mental health. Research will take place over a five-year period.

Resettled refugees have poorer health than host populations, and studies show that social integration affects wellness; however, there is a lack of research examining how the experiences of settlement and integration contribute to the long-term health of refugees.

“Canada’s private sponsorship program for resettled refugees is unique in the world, and is of considerable interest to other countries, but its effectiveness relative to government sponsorship is largely unknown,” said Hynie. “This grant is an important opportunity for us to understand how, and under what conditions, the different resettlement programs in Canada support the long-term health and well-being of resettled refugees in Canada, and to gain a deeper understanding of the social determinants of refugee health.”