/ NEW REFUGEE INTERVIEWS FOR HUMANITARIAN AND COMPASSIONATE CONSIDERATIONS: COSMETICS AND REALITIES
The past decade saw an unprecedented incrprnent in the number of asylum seekers in Canada mating backlogs in the proclessing of claim On December28th, 1988, the Federal h4inister of Immigration and hployrnent8 Hon. Barbara McDougaU announced there were approximately 85,000 backlog re!fugeecases;currentestimatesplace the vohrrneat 100poO. Inorder to handlethe immense volume of applications, the Federal government established a new refugee determination System effective from January 1989, under
... fl C-SS. CIaimanQ appear before a special two-person panel, composed of an a d j u a a b o r a n d .~o f t h e~ di*dtkInanJgnticmudRehrgec Borp.d(TlRB,whonruff~~tolPjbCt r c h i a If either panel member ~a c r e d l M e b a s i s~a c l r i m , theapplicant will beatfowed to apply lor permanentxeddemx. Beforeattedjq the panel. w, ho-8 refugee drimants hve to attend intenkva to ktheircaseainitianyursessedby Immigration officers, to determine Wbetkrthem~anyhumaniMnn ~-8roundsf-='ws tbeir dr$na In thelightof arecent RdexaICourt t g C b i 0 r r t h . t d -hw r e~I O P B e a n s i d e r a t i o n d ?oienatrl c k b m t s on "humanitariana and compassionate" grounds, the Rdugo+BaddogaeuanceCentrehrs m a compeUed to arrange new n&mhm T h c h p o r b m e d a r h a ~~b e~C I M d r scctumittedb a=%= -Llarnb.fdr=Arnargrnay ther things, the assessment for umanitarian and compassionate rounds ensures that refugee claim^ tMch poseesb these tnslpdients will be I d wit)tktennrgfrtoenaMe theboard to aave time and remums for dealing with the tremendous backlog. However, after interviews with clients who have appeared before this n a~~p r o c e s b~o~h~b that it not only lacks the crucial ' . . . this acceptance r d is tmibly iturpproptiatc, and a umt$bl indic#tion crf the sorroeoful state af the newinterPietos.Thclow acceptance rate creates the anbnrrm*ng illusion that theaascs@hesec#cnb aYepn$mdlyinadequate foroonsidet.ationon humanitarian grounds.' charackribtics which can adequatdy a r s u n~t i o n 0 n h r m u n l t u l . n u d~L c~b u t . b o a e w e s r o a a l c u t t e d a~b~u p the whole procesr of refugee determination while masking the hhemntcontndkrbbm. Ofthe2,3!EdientswhoappePredat the new intendem between late March and late May, 1990, only 587 of them were accepkd. This might appear 8cceptabk to aome commcntrtor8. H a m o a , t o 1~1~w # e p t u r e~b trrriBlp tnrppmpriate, ud . wochrl t n d t c a t b n o f t h c a a m v f d s t a~d~ newinkwkwa ThebW8ccqhmmte ~leawh-iuusionttVLttht casea of these clients are profoundly inadequate for consideration on h~t a f i a n~h a u r e s t h n a t b n , it is thevery natured shudweoftheae interview, which impede the acceptability of clients. Our focus in this article is the examination of these new intendews in order to bring out the inherent wedmess and its unsuitability for 00nsJBeratlon of r e f u g e e~t s o n b o t h h u m a n b h dOOmpBdeSOnategrarmds.Rnt~ summons to t h e inkrviews state: "Interpreters will not be provided. ~~youreriuirehnguasplease bring a friend or dative to i n~~y o~,~~~~* R e ~t i o n B o a r d i s d e d d n g t h a t i t is not its qxmdbuty to errruro that dient8~hO~notpIofidentinBngtbh w m u n d e n b t a n d *~~ intooonsSdentlonttVLt~isnotthc fimt language of an overwhelming majority of such clients, such a pactice m a k e s n o~d t h e m a n d . & o f t h e whole intewkw -acon&kation of ctientsontkbmisdhumdtarlanand compassionate grounds". For those clients who do not have Mends or relatives who can adquately and aPPgPsiaec31pwldt----whoa3.-=Q to d t through the rerdon without ~~m d n~o f a c n r d tkmmhtmdeKIrf8te. Seamdly, the sembe hrPc been hasty,nwhedand that-lived. A typiaJ sesdonnmsbrfifteenmtnoldea M i a t o o~m p p s s e d b the fate of people on the bod, ot hummitrriur ud c o m~n a t e ~~m f n l e r v i e P v s d l o r & i r .rtldestraedthrSdna!&Wlrdcrrdm i s m~i t E s n D t~p I y i q e w SS00baoHdtsedasotrhwyer~ The structure of the supposedly fair interviews has become fetter discouraging solidtation of legd -btkrG a mdd aspect ofudhimescl.