Interrogating the efficiency paradigm : a study of language analysis as evidence in refugee status determination
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 12:15 by Erin Colleen Pease
In 1993, Sweden commenced the unprecedented practice of using Language Analysis (LA) as evidence in refugee status determination. Since that time, Western governments trying to cope with the perceived refugee crisis have similarly adopted the tool to corroborate and undermine the nationality claims of asylum seekers crossing borders without identity documents. During this same period, language professionals, lawyers, various news media, and others across the globe have proceeded to fuel international controversy on the subject, largely challenging the linguistic integrity of the tool, while investing less energy addressing the political context of use, as well as the implications for violations of refugee rights. In 2007, Canada reflected prioritized concerns for efficiency when it made public a pilot project to address the value of this language tool in aiding status decision-making. This paper interrogates the Canadian efficiency paradigm through the Australian lens of LA in practice. In exposing the ethical and legal sites of likely disengagement should Canada proceed with implementation, this paper cautions against LA becoming the most recent assault on a Canadian protection regime already under siege.