A refugee determination system must first and foremost ensure respect for the human rights of those who claim our protection.

Canada has international human rights obligations, notably under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention against Torture: we must not send any refugees back to face persecution or anyone to a risk of torture.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms entrenches our human rights obligations in our constitution.  In adopting the Charter, Canada committed itself to the principle that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”  As the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the 1985 Singh case, “everyone” includes refugee claimants.

Respecting human rights is not always easy or convenient.  Nor is it an optional gesture, for which we can claim we are being “generous”.

<- - -

- - - >

Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 177, http://csc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/1985/1985rcs1-177/1985rcs1-177.html