Immigration Law – Law is Cool http://lawiscool.com The law school blog and podcast from Canada Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:10:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 1338880 New Immigration Rules for International Students by Carlos Vera http://lawiscool.com/2014/06/02/new-immigration-rules-for-international-students/ http://lawiscool.com/2014/06/02/new-immigration-rules-for-international-students/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 08:43:20 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3641 NEW IMMIGRATION RULES FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

FROM JUNE 1st 2014

 

Starting from this June 1st, are new rules that apply for international students in Canada[1]. The main consequences of these new rules we can summarize in 3 points[2]:

  1. To get a student visa, the student have to be accepted by a “designated learning institution”.
  2. Is not required any more a work permit (in or off campus) to work in Canada if the person hold a studding visa.
  3. The student who hold a study permit must keep enrolled in his or her program of studies and ended in a reasonable frame of time, with a reasonable progress.

We could say that one of the most important changes in the rules for international students, is that all students who hold a valid visa to study in a designated institution are able to work immediately, and do not need to wait six months from the arrival date to Canada, as it used to be under the old rules.  In this way, all new comers to Canada, under a study permit, are able to work from his or her first day in Canada.

Also, the students who want to work off campus, do not need an “off campus work permit” any more, if the student met the criteria, is allow to work off campus just from the beginning of his or her studies, with a maximum of 20 hours per week, while is studying, and without limits on studies breaks.

The Federal government justify the changes in the base that they are trying to improve the immigration system and save money too. From these changes, the requirement that established that only can apply for a study permit the students accepted by an designated learning institution, is the most important in terms of the Government control about who is allowed to entry and stay in Canada, because all the provinces and territories must nominated and appointed the institutions that can be designated, and just the students accepted for these institutions can get a study permit. These change is necessary, according to the Federal Government, because some institutions, with no good reputation, are taking advantages from international students, whom use these institutions as a way to come and established in Canada with different purposes, and not really to study in Canada.

Is just a matter of time to see the results of these changes, and if they are positives to the Country and are helpful to the new comers to Canada as students, to integrate better to this society meanwhile they live here, and if there was a good decision from Federal Government make all these new rules.

 

 

By Carlos Vera

300773325

 

[1]  Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations SOR/2014-14 January 29, 2014 at http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2014/2014-02-12/html/sor-dors14-eng.php.

[2] With information from  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-changes.asp

]]>
http://lawiscool.com/2014/06/02/new-immigration-rules-for-international-students/feed/ 6 3641
Change in Immigration law and Komagata Maru Incident http://lawiscool.com/2014/06/02/change-in-immigration-law-and-komagata-maru-inccident-by-deepika-choudhary/ http://lawiscool.com/2014/06/02/change-in-immigration-law-and-komagata-maru-inccident-by-deepika-choudhary/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 06:04:24 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3633 By Deepika Choudhary

Komagata Maru—

A Japanese ship was chartered by Gurdit Singh from India to Vancouver containing 376 Indians, among whom 340 were Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus. The ship entered Vancouver on May 23, 1914, by crossing through Hongkong and Shanghai, but the ship was not allowed to arrive in port. While, the ship remained posted there from May 23 to July 23, 1914. Moreover, out of 376 Indians, only 20 were successful to land in Vancouver by showing their residence Status. This incident of being denied entrance to Indian immigrants into Canada upon their arrival in Vancouver is remembered as “Komagata Maru.”

Moreover, this is the not the end of injustice done to them, when the ship reached back to India (Calcutta) on September 27, British army (as India was under British rule) killed 19 passengers and imprisoned the remaining. The occurrence is known as “the Budge Budge Riot”.
The 100th anniversary of Komagata Maru was observed on May 23, 2014. On 26 May, 2014, Canada Post issued the stamp of about 31mm x 38mm on the Komagata Maru to honour the centenary of the Kamagata, which was considered as a black day in the history of Canada. The releasing of the stamp was the sort of realising the wrong done in the past .Even the Punjab government (India) has not taken such a big step to show respect to the people of that incident. However,issuance of a stamp by Canada post is a kind of undo to the injustice done 100 years ago. This incident is relevant as it embarks on the biggest change in the Immigration law and thinking of the Canadian government.

Earlier Law

In order to end the Brown invasion, the Canadian government passed the Continuous Passage Act in 1908, according to which if an Indian wanted to come to Canada, he has to come via direct passage. In addition to this, $200 per person fee was set as the requirement to enter British Columbia, Canada. This act was hardship to the brown immigrants keeping in mind the money and distance from Canada to India. Moreover, they made Asian Exclusion Act to stop the entry of the Asian Immigrants in 1908.

Both the federal and provincial government of British Columbia felt sorry for the incident of the Komagata Maru. The monument in the memory of the Komagata Maru was made public on July 23, 2012.Upon being acknowledged as the part of Canadian history, many books, documentary and plays were made on the incident of Komagata Maru.

Present law

Canadian immigration law has traveled a long distance from the Komagata Maru incident to the present time.The Canadian government is opening more and more avenues for people from different countries to settle in Canada. The recent relaxing of federal skilled category and increasing the number of occupations in the occupation list is a preset example. Canada is now being recognized as a cosmopolitan country, with minority communities from different countries being equally respected.

]]>
http://lawiscool.com/2014/06/02/change-in-immigration-law-and-komagata-maru-inccident-by-deepika-choudhary/feed/ 3 3633
Review of Dennis Edney’s Lecture, “The Rule of Law in an Age of Terror” http://lawiscool.com/2011/09/23/edney-lecture/ Fri, 23 Sep 2011 21:10:52 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3217 “Human rights have a dysfunctional relationship with justice. The language is certainly beautiful, but it’s all dressed up with nowhere to go,” charged Dennis Edney in a scathing lecture at the Faculty of Law at UBC on September 15.

Edney worked from 2004 to 2011 on Omar Khadr’s defence against charges stemming from the July 2002 firefight death of a US soldier. Khadr, who is Canadian, was 15 at the time. American forces interrogated him for three months in the US-operated Bagram Theatre Detention Facility in Afghanistan, before transferring him to Guantanamo Bay, where he remains. In 2005, Khadr’s chief interrogator from Bagram, US Sergeant Joshua Claus, was found guilty of offences relating to the routine torture and homicide of Bagram prisoners. Claus received a five-month prison sentence. He testified at Khadr’s military trial in 2010.

In April 2009, the Federal Court ruled that Canada was complicit in the US’s torture of Khadr and ordered Ottawa to seek his repatriation. The Federal Court of Appeal concurred, but the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that though Canada was violating Khadr’s human rights, it was not obliged to seek his repatriation.

In October 2010, after insisting on his innocence for years, Khadr pled guilty in a military trial to terrorism-related offences, in exchange for a promise from Canada to repatriate him by October 2011 to serve the rest of his prison sentence in Canada. On September 20, the Conservatives tabled the controversial omnibus Bill C-10, which adds “additional criteria” to decisions about “whether or not to allow the transfer of a Canadian offender back to Canada to serve their sentence.”

Shortly after the trial, Edney declared that Khadr “would have confessed to anything, including the killing of John F. Kennedy, just to get out of this hellhole” and that if he had refused, Khadr would have been faced with “an unfair [military] trial based on evidence that would be inadmissible in a real court.” On Thursday, Edney said the detainees are entitled “to all kinds of international protections, but our governments are not asking for them. And by not asking, we become complicit.” There are nearly 800 prisoners in Guantanamo, but only 4 have been charged and given a trial. Detainees cannot see the evidence used against them.

In his lecture, Edney denounced the Canadian government for perpetuating a culture of fear in the camp’s defence. Edney stated that “since there has always historically been terrorism, and since there will always be terrorist threats, this war on terror – if allowed to be one – is unlike any other, because it is never-ending.” Thus, last decade has been marred by “habeas corpus being abandoned, secret courts being created to hear secret evidence, guilt inferred by association, torture and rendition nakedly justified.”

“I went into Guantanamo Bay as a lawyer and I came out as a broken father,” said Edney. “I never thought that in my lifetime I would go to such an evil place and see such evil being done.” Of the infamous cages, Edney said that “people go into those cages thinking they’re having a holiday in there.” He drew attention to Camps 5, 6, and 7. The first two are “designed for enhanced interrogation tactics: torture.” He said about Camp 7 that “We are not allowed to talk about it. We have prisoners in there who came from Europe, about a year and a half ago, and they’re going to be there forever, because there’s no one there to help.”

Edney discussed the 9/11 witch hunt, in which “the US government detained hundreds, if not thousands, of people of colour on the suspicion of terrorist activity, some of them up to a year, all without charges.” He continued that “almost none of those individuals were found to have been in any way connected with terrorism. Yet many continue to be held without being formally charged with any crime or immigration violation.” In this way Guantanamo “provides powerful evidence of how America and the West are making war on terror synonymous with the war on Islam. No white Anglo-Saxon goes to Guantanamo Bay. Any American picked up for terrorism offences gets due process in a federal court system in New York.”

One audience member suggested that the camp must serve some purpose, because otherwise US President Barrack Obama would have followed through on his promise to shut it down. Edney responded that the camp primarily functions as “an important propaganda tool.” He argued the Obama administration has in fact “systematised” the culture of torture normalised under George W. Bush, for instance by disallowing victims of extraordinary rendition from suing Washington for torture suffered overseas.

Edney was also critical of “lazy” media and academics who have persisted in “slotting events into a sort of juicy clash of civilisations story,” as exemplified by mainstream media coverage of Anders Behring Breivik’s terrorist attack in Oslo. He killed 69 people in July, avowedly to protect Europe from Muslims. Edney said, “as soon as the bomb went off, media organisations began reporting on jihadist organisations.” This, he said, “fit perfectly the story we have all been telling each other since 9/11 that who else, who else could be so hateful, so crazy, so disrespectful of life but Muslims.” He pointed out that though Breivik is a white Norwegian Christian, “we don’t hold Christians or conservatives or liberals responsible for Brievek’s despicable acts.”

He said that “since September 11 2001, race, ethnicity, and religion have become proxies for suspected terrorist activity, which in turn has become a pretext for the application of Canadian immigration laws in an unequal manner towards Arabs, South Asians, Muslims and so on.” In an apparent nod to Bill C-4, the anti-refugee bill that the Conservatives tabled on Tuesday despite widespread condemnation, he noted that “we just have to listen to media descriptions coming out of Ottawa when we talk about refugees today. We call them queue jumpers and potential terrorists.”

Edney also expressed anger at the public’s willingness to be lulled into complicity. He described the transfer of the prisoners to Guantanamo “in rows in aircraft, hooded and shackled for transportation across the Atlantic” as similar to eighteenth century slave ships. He maintained that for “the watching world, no knowledge of international humanitarian conventions is needed to understand that what was being witnessed was simply unlawful.” He blamed public apathy for “allowing anti-Muslim sentiment to become part of our mainstream conversations.” He said, “I say to you we cannot tackle manifestations of intolerance, unless we learn and understand how the constant use of fear pervades our everyday life, and how that fear is being used to influence how you and I think and how you and I act. It’s that same manipulation of fear that has allowed military escapades into countries beyond those who bombed the twin towers. It is that same message that has been exploited by participating countries to reduce civil liberties and infringe upon human rights by allowing such places as Guantanamo Bay to exist.”

The need for action had been a prevailing theme throughout the lecture. Edney returned to it at his lecture’s close: “Not only does it [Guantanamo] continue to exist, they continue building it. Guantanamo is going to be there for a long, long time, unless you do something. Unless you really do something about it.” He concluded that “the only crime equal to wilful inhumanity is the crime of indifference, the crime of silence, the crime of forgetting.”

In that vein, we cannot afford to forget that Guantanamo Bay’s precedents in the West include Canada’s own internment camps, built in BC expressly to detain Japanese-Canadians during WWII. Similarly, Bill C-4’s predecessors include the Chinese head-tax policy.

]]>
3217
Jason Kenney’s Failed Immigration Reforms http://lawiscool.com/2011/03/29/jason-kenneys-failed-immigration-reforms/ http://lawiscool.com/2011/03/29/jason-kenneys-failed-immigration-reforms/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2011 03:53:47 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3159 Jim Creskey at The Embassy:

Kenney—with some help from Prime Minister Harper and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews—used the arrival of two boatloads of Tamil asylum seekers in an attempt to prod public opinion toward the idea that “bogus” refugee claimants were overrunning Canada.

Pretending to punish smugglers—who were largely phantoms out of reach of Canadian authority—he put forward Bill C-49, which resolutely set out policies that would punish the refugees themselves.

C-49 was a profoundly flawed piece of work that proposed building special prisons for refugees who had the good luck to escape to Canada from foreign murder and mayhem but the bad luck to have been caught using the help of a smuggler. Further punishments included the withholding of family reunions as well as healthcare and other services.

It was a strategy that promised to sweep up more votes from ordinary Canadians who could be sold the idea that they needed to be protected from a flood of illegal arrivals. It was pure theatre, with the two ministers and even the prime minister turning up at the two rusting hulks, the Ocean Lady and the Sun Sea, to promote their bill, the extremely wordy Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act.

]]>
http://lawiscool.com/2011/03/29/jason-kenneys-failed-immigration-reforms/feed/ 2 3159
You’re not the boss of me http://lawiscool.com/2011/02/19/kenney/ http://lawiscool.com/2011/02/19/kenney/#comments Sat, 19 Feb 2011 15:55:23 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3116 Audrey Macklin and Lorne Waldman explain the concept of judicial independence to Jason Kenney:

“In a speech to the University of Western Ontario’s law faculty last week, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney launched an attack on Federal Court judges for rendering decisions he didn’t agree with. He suggested the judges were preventing him from properly administering the immigration program. […]

The judges do not work, and should not be seen to work, for Prime Minister Stephen Harper or his immigration minister. And because of their special role in society, they aren’t expected to participate openly in the political process. Indeed, you haven’t heard the Federal Court respond to Mr. Kenney, despite his misrepresentation of cases, jurisprudence and statistical evidence. Judges don’t reply because they understand the importance of not becoming politicized.

When Mr. Kenney publicly criticizes judges for interpreting the law in a manner that diverges from his own preferred outcome, he shows contempt for judicial independence. That’s not to say the minister can’t take action when he disagrees with a court’s decision. As a member of cabinet, he has the power to introduce into Parliament amendments to any federal law. The cabinet may also pass regulations implementing existing law. The government possesses the unique jurisdiction to change the law to conform to his views. But using an address to a law school – of all places – to take potshots at judicial decisions the government doesn’t like is an inappropriate exploitation of political office.”

]]>
http://lawiscool.com/2011/02/19/kenney/feed/ 1 3116
The Inhumanity of Refugee Detention Camps in the West http://lawiscool.com/2011/01/22/refugeedetentions/ Sat, 22 Jan 2011 08:42:54 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3094 What makes this ruling is significant is that a high court is here recognising that the detention camps in which refugees are held in the West can themselves be inhumane to the point of that sending people to them would be illegal. This is of particular relevance for analyses of Australia’s detention camps, which arguably some of the worst worldwide; the abuses are such that they’re driving more and more of the refugees to suicide and hunger strikes (some by sewing their mouths shut).

Human rights court slams EU asylum policy as inhumane

In a landmark ruling the European Court for Human Rights has criticized the EU’s asylum policy. It said forcing refugees to apply for asylum in the country of their entry into the EU was inhumane.

The European Court for Human Rights on Friday ruled illegal the deportation of an asylum seeker from Belgium to Greece.

The Afghan national first entered the European Union in Greece but then traveled to Belgium to apply for asylum there. Under current EU regulations, asylum applications must be processed in the country of entry into the 27-nation bloc.

Yet the judges at Europe’s top human rights court said that the appalling conditions in Greek refugee camps were inhumane and humiliating – and most importantly that Belgium was aware of those conditions but still sent the Afghan back.

The court ruling could mean that the European Union will have to rethink its entire asylum policy.

“This is a historic moment for the protection of Human Rights,” Marei Pelzer of rights group ProAsyl told Deutsche Welle.

“The ruling will have fundamental consequences in so far as the EU can not simply pretend that the situation with regards to asylum seekers is the same in all EU member states. And it’s crucial that refugees should not be forced to stay in Greece just because Greece happens to be the country where most of them arrive.”

Almost 90 percent of all illegal border crossings into the EU take place via Greece. The country has repeatedly come under fire for appalling living conditions in its refugee camps.

Human rights groups have long been calling for a more coherent EU policy that would make all member countries responsible for asylum cases in the same way.

Appalling conditions in Greece

The circumstances and procedures that refugees are exposed to in Greece are the worst in Europe, according to a recent report on asylum seekers by rights group Amnesty International.

The European Commission has also already proposed a reform to the current regulation in an effort to take some of the pressure off countries such as Greece, Italy and Malta, which see the main influx of refugees from outside the EU.

Germany has so far rejected the Commission’s proposals for reform yet rights groups hope that the Strasbourg ruling will have Berlin rethink its position. But Reinhard Grindel, member of parliament for Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats insists the solution to the problem in Greece has to be fixed by Athens rather than by watering down EU regulations.

“All EU member states guarantee the international human rights standards,” he told Deutsche Welle. “We do have one problem case, and that’s Greece. However, what this means is not that we have to change EU rules but rather that Athens has to get its house in order.”

“For Germany a change to the current EU regulations would be a catastrophe,” he warned. “It would mean a flood of asylum seekers coming to Germany. And that’s something that everyone who now calls for changes of EU rules has to realize.”

And yet, to a certain extent, Germany has already changed its position. Berlin earlier this week announced that for one year it would stop sending back any refugees to Greece, because of what Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere described as “appalling conditions” for refugees there.

Britain, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have also stopped sending refugees back to Greece.

]]>
3094
Political Prisoner in Iran – A letter to the supreme leader http://lawiscool.com/2010/11/23/political-prisoner-in-iran-a-letter-to-the-supreme-leader/ http://lawiscool.com/2010/11/23/political-prisoner-in-iran-a-letter-to-the-supreme-leader/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 21:20:04 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3024 Mr. Ali Khamenei,

I am a first year law student in a Canadian Law School.  I lived in Iran until the age of thirteen.  My family and I immigrated to Canada in 1997 because of the lack of freedom of expression in Iran.  As immigrants, we were not always treated well and we suffered discrimination and were pushed back to work within our own small Iranian community in Toronto.  We loved Iran but actions by some Iranians have embarrassed our people at an international level.  In this letter, I will explain to you how I have personally suffered as a result of these actions.  If you and I, as Iranians do not treat each other well, how can we expect the international community to truly and genuinely respect our people?

One of the latest actions that bring disrepute to all Iranians all over the world is in regards to Blogger Hossein Derakhshan, 35, a dual Canadian-Iranian national.  He has been unfairly tried and sentenced on 28 September 2010 to 19 and a half years’ imprisonment on vaguely worded charges relating to national security. He was detained without charge for about 19 months prior to trial and denied regular access to his family and lawyer. Amnesty International believes he is likely held solely for the peaceful expression of his views, and if so should be immediately and unconditionally released.   

I have personally seen that in Europe, the situation is even worse for Iranians.  In addition, videos of Iranian refugees in places like Greece and Australia speak to the failure of our 1979 revolution.  In my opinion, you and your government are partly responsible for ensuring the well-being of all Iranians.  Your actions, though it highlights some of the malfunctions in the Iranian culture, have nevertheless followed innocent Iranians everywhere we have sought refuge.  Most Europeans and North Americans today look down on Iranians because we have created a bad image of ourselves.  We have been intolerant to women, homosexuals, bloggers, religious minorities, racial minorities and almost every other group that is different than the majority. 

I was born in Iran but see myself as belonging to the 6.8 billion people on Earth, and yet, the actions of the Iranian government constantly undermine my attempts personally to make a good living.  Mr. Khamenei, this is how your actions at the macro level results in problems for an Iranian like me at a micro level.  It is time to address the negative image that Iranians have created for us.  Iran was the first country in the world and Iranians are a warm and passionate people who have many beautiful cultures.  You as an Iranian and selected leader need to promote the positive aspects of our culture.  It is easy to shout and be critical of individual bloggers and exploitative foreigners.   Maybe it is time to pick the difficult path of self-reformation.  Why divide people based on their differences such as religion, race, and way of thinking when we can bring them together through our similarities?  We don’t need enemies in this world; we don’t need to shout “death” at others; what we need is to show that we can respect people who think different, act different, and live different than the majority.  The strongest people are the most merciful and the kindest.  

Releasing Hossein would be a first micro step that would help all Iranians show how we are a kind people.  As the leader you are responsible for reforming a positive image for all Iranians especially in Europe and North America.  The world watches how we treat one another as Iranians, and they treat us in the same way that we choose to treat each other.  Please act in a way that Iranians will be treated better from now on inside and outside of the land where both you and I opened our eyes to this world.

]]>
http://lawiscool.com/2010/11/23/political-prisoner-in-iran-a-letter-to-the-supreme-leader/feed/ 1 3024
Martin Sheen Targets US Immigration Policies http://lawiscool.com/2010/11/08/martin-sheen-targets-us-immigration-policies/ Mon, 08 Nov 2010 21:20:49 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3004

See the full interview tonight on CBC Television.

]]>
3004
IRB Seeks to Halt Investigations http://lawiscool.com/2010/10/24/irb/ Sun, 24 Oct 2010 06:02:18 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=2987 Montreal Gazette » Appointments investigated after serious flaws found in IRB hiring practices:

The Public Service Commission is investigating 13 appointments made by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, some involving its most senior officials.

The investigations were sparked by a 2009 audit that found serious flaws in the Ottawa-based IRB’s hiring practices. The PSC is probing whether the 13 appointments were based on merit and followed “guiding values” laid down in the Public Service Employment Act.

The IRB claims the investigations “violate the rules of procedural fairness.” It has asked the Federal Court to halt them until the court can rule on a judicial challenge of their methodology. If allowed to proceed, it says in court documents, the investigations will cause “irreparable harm” to the IRB.

The IRB is Canada’s largest independent administrative tribunal, making more than 47,000 decisions on refugee protection and immigration matters every year.

Its effectiveness depends on maintaining the public’s trust, the IRB argues in a memorandum filed with the Federal Court. “Any adverse finding on an appointment can permanently breach the public’s trust in the IRB and erode public confidence in the administration of justice.” One of the commission’s investigations was completed in June and found the appointment in question was not based on merit. The other 12 are ongoing.One of the high-profile officials under investigation is the director general of the IRB’s immigration division, according to an affidavit filed by the agency’s executive director, Simon Coakeley.

Its the circularity of the logic that gets me — because the revelation that the IRB may be doing irreparable harm to people’s lives may do irreparable damage to the IRB’s reputation, we can’t reveal the study’s results.

This argument seems to stems from the fundamental concern that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done. But what would normally be understood as an edict on transparency gets used to justify the propping up of false reputations. This isn’t to suggest that all IRB adjudicators are terrible people or terrible judges, but that the tribunal is badly in need of an overhaul, and refusing any independent examination into the IRB only makes trusting it that much more difficult.

]]>
2987
Blawg Review #278 http://lawiscool.com/2010/08/23/blawg-review-278/ http://lawiscool.com/2010/08/23/blawg-review-278/#comments Mon, 23 Aug 2010 10:35:43 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=2856 Blawg Review is a blog carnival that rotates to a different law site every week, usually emphasizing a specific theme. Last week’s review was by R. David Donoghue.

August 23 is the “International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition,” established in 1997 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during the 29th session of the General Conference (Volume 1).

The purpose of the day is to examine:

  • the historical study of the causes and workings of the transatlantic slave trade,
  • the clarification of the consequences and interactions to which it gave rise, and
  • the contribution of the project to the establishment of a culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence between races and peoples.

This year UNESCO has developed a documentary for this day Slave Routes: A Global Vision.

A companion document has has been released with the film, and will be referred to periodically throughout this post.

The Causes and Workings of Transatlantic Slavery

The origins of the Transatlantic slave route go back to the Iberian wars, between the Christian and Muslim kingdoms of Spain and Portugal. Both sides engaged in the enslavement of captives of war. As Slave Routes notes, the institution of slavery existed well before the Transatlantic route, both internally within Africa and to the Near East. But something different began with the European enslavement of Africans from the 15th c. onwards.

The first known African slaves sold in markets of recognizable European states was in Lisbon, Portugal in 1441, obtained from what is now Mauritania. The Portuguese had good reason for attempting to circumvent the Atlas Mountains and raiding the West African coast. In 1086 a black African dynasty originating from this area known as Al-Murabitun (Almoravids in English) provided military support and temporarily halted the expanse of the Christians. Soon after, Pope Alexander II provided the papal standard (vexillum sancti Petri) and an indulgence to the Christians in the conflict in 1063, making it officially a holy war that would culminate centuries later in the Spanish Inquisition.

The motivation for European slavery of Africans was therefore initially military, as an extension of the Western Crusades known as La Reconquista, or the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula by the Christians. In reality this term was probably too broad and an exaggeration, as many of the diverse peoples in the Muslim kingdoms of Spain and Portugal included native Iberians who had adopted the Islamic faith.

A permanent Portuguese fort was established at Arguin in 1448, and the 1452 Dum Diversas papal bull of Pope Nicholas V specifically authorized Alfonso V of Portugal,

…full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be… and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.

This established the basis for a racialized slavery, hereby unknown to Africa or any region engaging in African slave trade. As the motivations for slavery shifted from military goals to economic incentives, sheer greed resulted in a complete and utter destruction of African civilization and society. This is what made the Transatlantic slavery exceptionally devastating and worthy of particular scrutiny.

Web resources on the subject are expanding, archiving historic documents for amateur historians looking to deepen their knowledge on the subject. J.L. Bell has a post on Boston 1775 announcing American Slavery Debate, a new database of primary source documents.

Marco Randazza thinks slavery would be a pretty good alternative to some judicial punishments out there.

In some ways we’re all a slave to something. Those of us starting out in our legal careers are often a slave to the billable hour, or a slave to making partner. Norm Pattis is eying some of the pro bono work big firms are doing and wondering if they can spare him a partnership. Ronda Muir gives some tips to young lawyers on how to be a better lawyer by improving specific behaviours. Social media might boost a career, but Adrian Dayton cautions on a guest post at Above the Law that it takes time and dedication to get true returns.

If we don’t make it seems like we’re all likely to move back in with our parents. Stephanie West-Allen discusses these millennials on IdeaLawg. Scott Greenfield just sort of bashes them. Jordan Furlong thinks law firms should pay more attention to a workplace trend:

…a daydream about the courage to quit a job that treats you with less respect than you deserve… As Daniel Gross explains in a Newsweek commentary, “the poor labour market and workers’ antagonism toward employers and customers are actually connected”

Slavery means different things to different people. James T. Harris quotes Alan Keyes, who describes the experience of slavery as a guarantee of shelter, clothing and a job. “Socialism,” and Obama, is a form of slavery, if you buy the Keyes line that government-dominated largess is an infringement on freedom. Blunt Politics gives us more black Republicans who claim that real freedom comes through independence from the state, which they liken to the slave plantation,

This is not the land of guarantee, it’s the land of opportunity… but when you say racism is the problem, you put the power for your future in someone else’s hand.

My take is that the modern descendants of slaves are more likely to find guaranteed food, shelter and clothing in prison. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and African-Americans are disproportionately affected for a variety of reasons. I always wonder why Keyes doesn’t talk more about that, because it seems like race is the problem. Or part of it, at least. If nothing else it makes confidence and belief in the system difficult for minorities in the U.S. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz has his own doubts about police on the Indiana Law Blog after the David Bisard case, where an intoxicated on-duty officer struck and killed a biker and somehow had the charges dropped.

Law enforcement is not always right. James Morton thinks Col. Patrick Parrish is wrong about Omar Khadr. Confessions are only valid if they are free and voluntary. Threats of gang rape in prison usually vitiate that consent.

Eric Lipman reminds us about Terry Nichols in prison, not notable for being African-American, but rather for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing. Seems he’s not too happy with his food in prison due to the lack of insoluble fibre which doesn’t give him regular bowel movements. Seems the judge doesn’t give a…

Consequences and Interactions of Transatlantic Slavery

The most immediate consequence of the Transatlantic slavery was the dominance of European powers in the world. Western civilization as we know it today would not be possible without the hundreds of years of free labour, and the continued exploitation of natural and human resources. Operation Black Vote said,

The UK reaped huge profits for the despicable trade financing the developments associated with the industrial revolution. Britain made unprecedented profits and benefited enormously for the bloody trade. The legacy of racism remains with us some 400 years later.

Transatlantic slavery also created a system of oppression that places people of European ancestry on a higher level in a hierarchy maintained by what Slave Routes refers to as europhilia, ethnophobia and endophobia. It resulted in a far greater polarization of cultures in the world, as those attempting to restructure this hierarchy or seeking independence through an anti-colonial stance invariably adopted a counter-European philosophy. We see this pattern not just across Africa, but all of the colonized world, including the Middle East, across Asia, and Latin America.

August 23 was selected by UNESCO because it corresponded with the Haitian revolution, a major landmark in the resistance against colonialism and slavery. Slave Routes points out,

In the United States, the North America historian, Herbert Aptheker, has estimated that approximately 250 acts of sedition in all were organized by Afro-Americans to free themselves from slavery during the history of that “particular institution” in that country.

These revolts existed throughout the Caribbean and the Americas, and were a far more compelling reason for abolitionism than any humanitarian or compassionate grounds. For more on the Haitian revolution and slave revolts, see Blawg Review #249.

Although the direct domination of the developed world by European powers has largely ceased, the exploitative relationship continues to this day and is a major source of civil unrest and political tensions in the world today.

I came across this poster the other day on Queen Street West stating that “Slavery wasn’t abolished in 1834,”

It’s an advertisement from The Body Shop, who have raised over a million dollars to fight sex trafficking through partnerships with ECPAT USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) and The Somaly Mam Foundation. The greatest consumers of modern sex trafficking continues to be wealthy European and North American citizens.

The Morning Quickie shares a review of Not Natasha, a photo book documenting the lives of survivors of sexual slavery in Moldova.

The key thesis behind Siddarth Kara and Devin T Stewart’s Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery is not that different from the Transatlantic slavery,

…the enormity and pervasiveness of global sex trafficking is driven by the ability to generate immense profits at almost no real risk.

They suggest the most effective way to address the profitability of modern slavery is to elevate the risk.

Not For Sale | Cambodia from Not For Sale Campaign on Vimeo.

Michael Platzer of the U.N.’s Center for International Crime Prevention said,

…200 million people are victims of contemporary forms of slavery. Most aren’t prostitutes, of course, but children in sweatshops, domestic workers, migrants. During four centuries, 12 million people were believed to be involved in the slave trade between Africa and the New World. The 200 million — and many of course are women who are trafficked for sex — is a current figure. It’s happening now. Today.

The Not for Sale Campaign has a slavery map tracking incidents near you revealed largely through law enforcement. The campaign focuses on more than just sexual slavery, and in their 2010 “Stop Paying for Slavery Tour” uses supply chain monitoring programs and looks at various forms of exploitation and economic dependence that result in a de facto rather than de juris forms of slavery.

Or as Jason Mustian recently put it,

Ron Soodalter at the Huffington Post talks about The Slave Next Door, and reaffirms that slavery is alive and well today. He’s calling for California to pass the Transparency in Supply Chains Act. A Heart for Justice reviews the same book.

Bruce Reilly visits the Modern Slavery Museum focusing on agricultural workers. Actually, the museum visited him, because it’s on wheels,

Farmworkers in this country have been the most exploited group of folks since the Abolition in slavery in 1865. As one farm owner puts it, “Before, we used to own the workers. Now we just rent ‘em.”

Faces of Slavery from David Hepburn on Vimeo.

Those interested in learning more might want to attend the Global Forum on Human Trafficking in Yorba Linda, CA on Oct. 14-15, or a number of workshops being held in the UK by UCL.

My Fight Planet gives us an edited version of highlights from “Fight Traffic,” a Mixed Marital Arts (MMA) event raising funds to abolish slavery and human trafficking. Maybe we can do something like that over here, because MMA fights are coming to Ontario.

Not all sports are so philanthropic. Tom Kirkendall is following the Roger Clemens case. Meanwhile, Howard Wasserman is cheering speech at the Sports Law Blog. Lilian Edwards comments on the case of the anonymous star of BBC’s racing show Top Gear trying to reveal his true name to cash in on an autobiography. (Sorry, no hockey here this time).

A Culture of Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence between Races and Peoples

Michael Lynk, one of my former profs at UWO and currently Associate Dean, has the 2009 Rand Memorial Lecture on SSRN, Labour Law and the New Inequality. The premise behind the paper is that poor labour practices that stem from global inequity leads to instability and civil strife, limiting both social capabilities economic potential of these communities. UNESCO is currently mobilizing a response for the Pakistan floods, an issue of global concern to avoid radicalization, militancy and religious extremism in the region.

An obvious prerequisite for the horrors of Transatlantic slavery was the development of racial ideology. Slave Routes notes one of the major obstacles to political independence in Latin America was persistent and divisive racial ideologies. The Human Genome Project and countless scientific studies in recent years indicate the biological impossibility of human “races,” yet the resurgence of eugenics around the world is quite disturbing.

But genes can be used in good ways too. The Innocence Project announces that after 30 years DNA evidence has proven a Virginia man is innocent of rape charges due to the pro bono work of lawyers at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. Another recent exoneree, Michael Anthony Green, wants to become a paralegal to help others wrongfully accused.

Speaking of wrongfully accused, Christine Corcos reports that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was charged in Sweden for rape and molestation charges. Not so quick though, seems those charges were dropped in a hurry. Other charges of espionage against Assange are contemplated by Kenneth Anderson, but Julian Ku on Opinio Juris says in true spy form that they have to catch him first.

The most effective approach to peaceful coexistence might simply be for people to get to know and understand each other, a variation of the contact hypothesis used in sociology. But sociologists know that contact alone is not enough.

Eugene Volokh thinks Islamophobia is not quite irrational, citing a Time article indicating 46% of Americans believe Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions. Maybe, after several centuries of slavery and colonialism justified through religious practices, to restore some balance or equilibrium in global power. But sometimes, as Simon Fodden points out on Slaw, patience can be just as effective in the face of intolerance.

Volokh does note however that the accommodation laws invoked by many American Muslims today were intended for all religions and have primarily benefited Christians. And although Islamophobia is not a typical form of racism, it does rely on classic Social Darwinism thought.

By the way, Obama is not a Muslim, even though his middle name is Hussein (Can we get over this already?).

Slave Routes rejects the premise that racism is based on xenophobia or ignorance,

Racism can be defined as a process of suppression of the human being, based on socially selected phenotypical traits. This system classifies people according to their external physical characteristics and establishes a hierarchy of groups. In the long run, one of those groups defined as the superior race and the others are placed in inferior positions on the scale. Racism, therefore, is not a product of ignorance, the result of fear or concern over the ‘other’ or a natural phenomenon. [emphasis added]

Racism is more than a word, according to Marco Randazza. One word by a Dr. Schlessinger is what a lot of people are talking about right now. I’ll let you guess the word, but Norm Pattis weighs in too. One of his readers doesn’t agree though,

That someone as smart as yourself would join the oh so ignorant and completely off base “young black men say nigga, why can’t an old white woman say nigger?” team I hope speaks only to a generational divide and a complete lack of understanding of the context in which nigga is used and that it is a different word than nigger.

Where we do typically see racism manifested today is with immigration. Kevin Johnson at the Immigration Prof Blog discusses the 14th Amendment, which gives citizenship to the children of immigrants born in the U.S. Instead of repealing it, the real solution he proposes is immigration reform. Daniel Cubias points out how difficult it is to repeal an Amendment, and the unlikelihood of it happening, while J.E. Robertson considers it an attack on all Americans. Hegemomy notes that repealing the 14th Amendment used to be the talk of the fringe-right, and calls it the rise of the “Old South.” They heavy-handed tactics used in places like Arizona inevitably spill over into the general population, as evidenced by a case presented to us by Scott Greenfield.

What is needed is for group to have meaningful interaction with each other in a shared space and common goals to overcome deeply ingrained stereotypes and prejudices. It’s very difficult to hate others when you have extensive and nuanced encounters with a group that demonstrate the diversity found within them. For example, Martha Minow raises concerns that charter schools in the U.S. have the potential to create self-segregation.

Maybe that’s what the opponents of a new community center in lower Manhattan are really afraid of, that others won’t harbour the same hatred and animosity towards other that they do. Originally Park51 was appropriately called Cordoba House, invoking the city in Spain that was once a Muslim capital of a flowering multicultural and multi-religious literary civilization, extinguished by the same movement that led to the Transatlantic slavery.

Or maybe, as Jon Stewart suggests, Fox News is a terrorist command center (see here in Canada). Randazza doesn’t have much to say about it, aside from invoking through Sam Seder bull-size helpings of Terry Nichols’ favorite prison past-time:

Daniel Luban just calls it “The New Anti-Semitism,”

While activists like Pam Geller have led the anti-mosque campaign and the broader demonization of Muslims that has accompanied it, leaders like Abe Foxman have acquiesced in it. In doing so they risk providing an ugly and ironic illustration of the extent of Jewish assimilation in 21st-century America. We know that Jews can grow up to be senators and Supreme Court justices. Let’s not also discover that they can grow up to incite a pogrom.

It was through Cordoba that toothpaste and under-arm deodorant were introduced to Western Europe, and where literary works were translated freely between Arabic, Hebrew, Latin and Greek. It was in Cordoba that the Golden Age of Judaism flourished, giving birth to rabbinic scholars such as Maimonides.

Despite being one of the most tolerant and inclusive societies on Earth today, and all the lofty constitutional and human rights ideals, the United States has yet to accomplish the same culture of tolerance and coexistence that once briefly existed – in Cordoba.

Perhaps that’s something though we can all aspire to in Park51, if we’re willing to open our minds to it.

—————–

Charon QC has his own little law review going on, and Jordan Furlong has six for the road. Next week’s Blawg Review is by Mirriam Seddiq, a criminal defence and immigration lawyer who posts on Not Guilty. Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

]]>
http://lawiscool.com/2010/08/23/blawg-review-278/feed/ 8 2856