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Unfit to Print || March 15, 2017

March 15 episode: Reclaiming Queer Arab Stories & Gaps in Canadian Refugee and Immigration Law

Content warning: Discussion of Islamophobia, homophobia.

The first segment of this episode features an interview with Saleem Haddad, the author of “Guapa”, a political and personal coming of age story of a young gay man living through the Arab revolutions in 2011. The novel, published in 2016, was awarded Stonewall Honour and received critical acclaim from the New Yorker and the Guardian. Haddad was selected as one of the top 100 Global thinkers of 2016 by Foreign Policy Magazine. The interview highlights Haddad’s inspiration for the novel, and the struggle to reclaim the narrative around Queer Arab stories. Haddad draws on the works of queer Arab activists and his own personal experience to discuss the struggle for freedom and equality in the Arab queer movement. Haddad was a speaker of the event, “Reclaiming Queer Arab Stories” hosted by the McGill Students for Palestinian Human rights.

The second segment features excerpts of Jenny Jeanes’ presentation on the gaps of Immigration and Refugee law in Canada. The presentation was a part of “The Future of Refugee law in Canada”, an event hosted by The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) McGill. Jeanes discusses gaps and policy loopholes affecting refugees and those with non-legal status. She problematizes the lack of accountability in detention laws, given the amount of discretion given to immigration officers. Jeanes draws on recent cases of removal, where immigration policies failed to protect those seeking protection in Canada. These cases highlight enforcement measures that leave refugees at risk of a limbo, with no legal protection. Jeanes is currently the program coordinator of Action Réfugiés Montréal detention program. She has visited the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in Laval, Quebec on a weekly basis since 2005.