Practicing Essentialism? explores how Norwegian and Canadian immigration authorities approach asylum seekers claiming religious conversion.
Illustration: The Blue Diamond Gallery
Relying on the objectives of GOBA, this subproject examines the refugee status determination procedures of Norway and Canada, reviewing how these procedures assess the nature of religious conversions claimed by asylum seekers, and the nature and extent of judicial review of these decisions.
The project draws on the review and assessment of a broad selection of different sources to shed light on how claims of religious conversion are processed, including:
- The relationship between the concept of 'religion' in the 1951 Refugee Convention article 1A(2) and the right to freedom of religion or belief, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) article 18.
- The origin, scope, interpretation and impact of the UN High Commissioner of Refugee's Guidelines on International Protection: Religion-Based Refugee Claims (2004)
- Case law from the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice
- The legislative history of the Norwegian Immigration Act (2008) and the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (2001), with a particular emphasis on how religion-based asylum claims have been approached.
- Country of origin information on religion and conversion in selected countries provided by the Norwegian Landinfo, by the Research Program of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board and by the European Country of Origin Information Network
- Case law and guidance notes from the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, including their assessments by appellate courts.
In addition to these sources, the project will feature an extensive literature review of the relevant publications in the area. Each source will be reviewed in a separate section of the finalized article, and will be linked from this website as they appear.
If you have comments and suggestions, please get in touch with the author, Helge Årsheim.