Research-a-thon Aims To Challenge Safe Third Country Agreement

This Saturday, law students across Canada will unite in response to Donald Trump’s executive order banning nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries. This is the first time that Canadian law students have coordinated an effort of this magnitude.

The “research-a-thon” will gather information for a legal challenge to the Safe Third Country Agreement, which requires certain refugees to be turned away at our border. The event will also raise funds for any resultant litigation pursued by the Canadian Council for Refugees.

“We are mobilizing law students across the country to guarantee that American xenophobia does not compromise refugees’ right to a fair consideration of applications for asylum,” explains Adil Abdulla, a first-year student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

In less than twenty-four hours, the project went from a local initiative at the McGill Faculty of Law to a nationwide mobilization, with simultaneous events confirmed at twenty-one of twenty-two Canadian law schools. This type of coordinated effort by law students from coast to coast has not previously been attempted, and its nature makes it difficult to ascertain exact numbers. However, it is likely that well over five hundred law students are participating.

“We want to come together as a united front, with a message that the next generation of lawyers will not accept laws which needlessly put already-disadvantaged individuals at further risk,” says Adil.

Currently, there are approximately twenty-five U of T law students and alumni participating in this event. The event at U of T is being supported by the library, administration, and faculty. The national event is being sponsored by LexisNexis, which is providing research assistance as well as coffee and snacks.

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