Refugee Rights Day in Canada- panel discussion

April 4, 2016 @ 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College
4700 Keele St
North York, ON M3J
James Simeon

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Apr 4, 2016, 12pm-2pm, Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College

Panel discussion with:

Chair:  DAVID LEYTON-BROWN, Master of McLaughlin College and Professor of Political Science, York University.


DEBBIE DOUGLAS, Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. (OCASI)

MICHAEL CREAL, Professor Emeritus, York University, and Chair of the Southwestern Ontario Sanctuary Movement

RANA KHAN, Legal Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

REEM ALHAJ, York University Keele Campus WUSC Committee Co-Chair & WUSC-sponsored Refugee Student  ;

Peformance by “Straight outta Global Health” – Student “Spoken Word” Artists on Canada’s response to the global refugee crisis

Refugee Rights Day in Canada is celebrated each year on April 4 to recognize and to acknowledge the Supreme Court of Canada’s famous 1985 decision in Singh. This was one of the first decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) based on the then new constitutionally entrenched 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In essence, the judgement stated that Section 7 of the Charter, “life, liberty and security of the person,” applied to everyone who was in Canada, whether they had status, that is, citizens, permanent residents, valid visitors etc., or they did not have status, refugee applicants, undocumented persons, etc. The 1985 Singh decision is also famous for striking down the then existing refugee determination system because it did not adhere to the principles of fundamental justice. What followed in the wake of this major judgement was the establishment of a new refugee status determination system and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

Co-sponsored by the Office of the Master, McLaughlin College, School of Public Policy and Administration, Centre for Refugee Studies, York Centre for Public Policy and Law, the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies, and the York Collegium of Practical Ethics

Event Contact:  JAMES SIMEON

In addition to Refugee Rights Day planning, York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, students and student groups have been mobilizing around Refugee Rights Month as a whole. Student groups involved in planning include Amnesty International at York, the Centre for Refugee Studies Student Caucus, RefugeAid, UNICEF/MSF at York, and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Keele Campus Committee. These groups have been tabling in Vari Hall and meeting regularly to plan their participation in the month’s activities.

They have been promoting photography of York community members with welcoming messages and pledges concerning refugees and refugee rights while tabling at Vari Hall, and in other settings. Examples are available on their project instagram page .  This activity is part of York’s participation in the Amnesty/Amnestie International(e) Canada/ Canadian Council for Refugees’ Refugees Welcome Here! campaign. ( .

Show up a few minutes early to the event and have your photo taken with messages in support of refugee rights in Canada!