Announcements

Report: Technological Testing Grounds: Border tech is experimenting with people’s lives

November 9, 2020

A new report from the Refugee Law Laboratory and EDRi (European Digital Rights) investigates how new technologies are increasingly being used at the border and to manage migration. Technological Testing Grounds is based on over 40 conversations with refugees and people on the move and shows that much of this innovation occurs without adequate governance mechanisms and does not account for the very real impacts on people’s rights and lives.

The investigation supplements an upcoming report on xenophobic discrimination and emerging digital technologies for immigration enforcement by the Ms. Tendayi Achiume, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Both reports find that many countries are exploring technological experiments for the purposes of border enforcement, decision-making, and data mining. From drones patrolling the Mediterranean to Big Data projects predicting people’s movement to automated decision-making in immigration applications, these innovations are justified as necessary to bolster border enforcement. However, these high risk technological experiments exacerbate systemic racism and discrimination and can lead to significant harm within an already discretionary system.

The report’s findings are brought to life with original photography by the Refugee Law Lab’s Filmmaker-in-Residence, Kenya-Jade Pinto

Read the report here: https://edri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Technological-Testing-Grounds.pdf

Refugee Law Lab Releases Annual Data on Canadian Refugee Decision-Making

August 12, 2020

The Refugee Law Lab has released 2019 data on Canada’s refugee determination system. The data, which has been prepared annually by Refugee Law Lab Director Sean Rehaag, reveals significant differences in patterns in decision-making by different decision-makers – with some granting refugee protection in the large majority of cases they hear, and others seldom granting protection.

Access the data here: https://refugeelab.ca/refugee-claim-data-2019

The Refugee Law Lab plans to release more detailed analysis and more granular data drawing on this and other datasets involving Canadian refugee decision-making in the coming months. For updates about our research, consider joining our listserv by writing to: refugeelab@yorku.ca.

Petra Molnar Appointed as Refugee Law Lab Associate Director

July 22, 2020

The Refugee Law Laboratory is delighted to welcome Petra Molnar as Associate Director.

Petra is a lawyer and researcher specializing in technology, migration, and human rights. She is currently working with EDRi, Homo Digitalis, and other partner organizations on a project looking at the impacts of migration control technologies on the lives of people on the move, funded by the Mozilla and Ford Foundations. Petra also works on issues around immigration detention, health and human rights, gender-based violence, and the politics of refugee, immigration, and international law. Her work has appeared in numerous academic publications and the popular press, including the New York Times. Petra is also the co-author of “Bots at the Gate,” an internationally recognized report on the human rights impacts of automated decision-making in immigration and refugee systems. She holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology from York University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Toronto, and an LL.M in International Law from the University of Cambridge.

We are excited to be working with Petra and we are looking forward to seeing where she helps us take the lab!

CRS Receives SSHRC Insight Grant to Create Refugee Law Laboratory

July 7, 2020

The Centre for Refugee Studies is thrilled to announce that we have received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant to establish the Refugee Law Laboratory. CRS Director and Osgoode Hall Law School Associate Professor Sean Rehaag will serve as the Director of the Lab. We are looking forward to sharing more details soon.