Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review: Refugee Sandwich

Refugee Sandwich is a compilation of short stories written by refugees and members of the Refugee Hearing Board in Canada. Although I have only read a few of the accounts, the book has already touched on a variety of thought-provoking topics. Before the selection of stories begins, the author asks the reader to engage in two quick exercises. The first is to imagine that you are in the position of having to defend yourself to a board of lawyers and judges who will decide whether or not you qualify for refugee status. The second is to imagine that you are a member of this board and you are expected to determine the claimant’s future based on a brief hearing. I thought that these role-playing exercises were extremely useful and provided a great deal of insight into how each party must be feeling as the hearing begins. The author brought up a few things I had never thought to consider: how can Boards rule out the possibility that the claimant is lying? How difficult must it be for individuals who are unfamiliar with our legal system to testify for their lives? How can the government ensure that the people serving on these boards will provide the claimant with a fair trial?

-HCET Intern, Taylor Corcoran

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