World Refugee Day - Fighting Human Smuggling or Criminalizing Refugees?

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Nevana Aksin

How should we treat irregular migrants in search of a better world? Nevena Aksin is contributing to a research project which calls into question the criminalization of refugee claimants who have helped other applicants to enter the country without authorization.

Area of research
Alongside criminology Professor David Moffette, Master's student Nevena Aksin is working on a study which explores the treatment of asylum seekers who enter Canada through irregular means, as well as the criminalization of individuals who assist them.

In light of the global refugee crisis, Nevena believes it is important to examine how immigration and refugee policies are rationalized by various stakeholders. By asking how and not simply what, she wishes to uncover a deeper understanding of the socio-political constructions that inform immigration and refugee policies as well as their impact.

She is particularly interested in three areas touching on the treatment to refugees: fairness, security and protection. In addition to an adequate legal framework, their protection requires cooperation and political will. For example, while some parties argue that certain policies will make the immigration and refugee system faster and fairer, others argue that it subjects refugees to criminal treatment and will consequently lead to irreversible psychological harm.

Integration, a shared concern
The reception and integration of refugees must be the concern of everyone, as human lives are at stake. We must learn civility and empathy. Fortunately, some people are there to help those who have departed into the harshness of exile. We must show the world that despite the unimaginable tragedies they have experienced, everyone can contribute to society with their talents, skills and strength the human spirit.

View additional student research on issues pertaining to refugees.

The University of Ottawa launch a program to helps refugees

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