Fortress World: Refugee Protection during (and after) the COVID-19 Pandemic

Y.Y. Brandon Chen, "Fortress World: Refugee Protection during (and after) the COVID-19 Pandemic" in Jean-Louis Denis, Catherine Regis & Daniel M Weinstock, Des, Pandemic Societies (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021) 308.

Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2021-13

13 Pages Posted: 18 May 2021 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021

See all articles by Y.Y. Brandon Chen

Y.Y. Brandon Chen

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section

Date Written: February 26, 2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the fragility of the international refugee protection system. It turns out that on account of public health concerns, many high-income countries, Canada included, are quick to abandon their legal duties with respect to the right of asylum and non-refoulement, as well as their commitment to responsibility sharing in the context of refugee resettlement. This has led to an immobility crisis among asylum seekers and refugees, exacting a heavy toll on this already-marginalized group.This paper explores such impact of COVID-19 related travel restrictions on international refugee protection. It begins by providing a bird’s-eye view of the global situation before zeroing on the Canadian context. It shows that as the global demand for asylum persists, travel restrictions either trap asylum seekers and refugees in precarious circumstances or force them to attempt more dangerous routes to arrive at intended destinations. Leaning on international law as well as Thomas Pogge’s theory of global justice, this paper argues that affluent countries have a duty to ameliorate these harms perpetrated against one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Keywords: COVID-19; refugees; border; immobility; Canada

Suggested Citation

Chen, Yin-Yuan, Fortress World: Refugee Protection during (and after) the COVID-19 Pandemic (February 26, 2021). Y.Y. Brandon Chen, "Fortress World: Refugee Protection during (and after) the COVID-19 Pandemic" in Jean-Louis Denis, Catherine Regis & Daniel M Weinstock, Des, Pandemic Societies (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021) 308., Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2021-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3847337 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3847337

Yin-Yuan Chen (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Pvt.
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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