Bordering on Legality: Canadian Church Sanctuary and the Rule of Law

Refuge, Vol. 26, No. 1, p. 43, 2009

14 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2010

See all articles by Sean Rehaag

Sean Rehaag

Centre for Refugee Studies & Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Date Written: September 22, 2010

Abstract

This paper examines church sanctuary incidents in Canada involving unsuccessful refugee claimants seeking to avoid deportation. The author contends that when faith-based communities develop formal screening mechanisms to determine who among the many that request it is accorded sanctuary, they apply similar norms and procedures as those found in Canada's official refugee determination process.

The author argues that although sanctuary practices are often criticized as a form of civil disobedience that poses a threat to the rule of law, it is also possible to understand sanctuary practices as a means through which faith-based communities prevent the state from violiating both Canadian and international refugee law, thereby upholding rule-of-law norms.

Keywords: Sanctuary, Refugee, Canada, Rule of Law, Religion, Legal Pluralism, Civil Disobedience

JEL Classification: K3, K4

Suggested Citation

Rehaag, Sean, Bordering on Legality: Canadian Church Sanctuary and the Rule of Law (September 22, 2010). Refuge, Vol. 26, No. 1, p. 43, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1681043

Sean Rehaag (Contact Author)

Centre for Refugee Studies & Osgoode Hall Law School, York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/rehaag-sean/

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