Bewildered wrote: ↑
Sun Feb 04, 2024 1:03 am
Woodchopper wrote: ↑
Fri Feb 02, 2024 2:16 pm
nekomatic wrote: ↑
Fri Feb 02, 2024 12:30 pm
The logic seems to be that someone who is known to be a sex offender has a higher likelihood of going on to commit a horrific crime like this one, so if someone who is known to be a sex offender applies for asylum then they should be rejected and removed in order to protect us from the possible horrific crime. But if that's the argument, the vast majority of known sex offenders are not people who were granted asylum, so a far more effective use of effort would probably be to look at how we can prevent sex offenders in general from going on to commit horrific crimes, rather than fixating on the very small proportion of crimes we could stop by rejecting a few asylum seekers.
The issue isn't recidivism as such. There is such a low conviction rate for sexual offenses that convictions aren't a useful guide to offending. The problem is that what we do know suggests that people who commit sex offenses tend to do so multiple times. The biggest risk factor is whether someone has done it before. So if someone has been convicted there is a good chance that they will still be motivated to commit further sex offences after they are released.
The problem is that psychologists, criminologists and the people involved in incarceration have spent getting on for a century trying to find out how to reduce re-offending among adult sex offenders. But they haven't had much success. There are treatment and therapy programmes, but they don't appear to have a dramatic effect, especially if longer time periods after the programme ends are taken into account. I mention adults because it does appear to be possible to successfully work with children.
So it doesn't look like there will be ways to reliably prevent reoffending anytime soon.
Ill add that someone who committed a sex offence while their asylum claim was being assessed would seem to have a serious lack of impulse control. Something which IMHO would be an argument against granting them asylum.
Regarding the last paragraph, this doesn’t make sense to me. I think it’s a basis for a harsher sentence for the crime (it affects how likely they are to continue to pose a risk to the public upon release) but not for an asylum claim which should depend an whether they are indeed in need of asylum, not whether they are a good person or will benefit the country.
To explain the context, in terms of international law, refugees have always had an obligation to obey the laws of whatever country they find themselves in. See for example the 1951 refugee convention
which in Article 1 specifically excluides from refugee status anyone who:
has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;
Article 2 goes on to state that:
Every refugee has duties to the country in which he finds himself, which require in particular that he conform to its laws and regulations as well as to measures taken for the maintenance of public order.
Article 33 prohibits the expulsion or return of a refugee:
in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
However, an explicit exception is made for:
a refugee whom there are reasonable grounds for regarding as a danger to the security of the country in which he is, or who, having been convicted by a final judgement of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of that country.
So in terms of the earlier discussion, international law at least explicitly provides for sending someone to a place where they might be tortured or killed, if there were reasonable grounds for suspicion that the refugee had committed a serious crime.
Such principles are not only present in the refugee convention.
For example, Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
These aspects are reflected in the Statute of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
which also in Article 7d explicitly excludes from refugee status those for whom:
there are serious reasons for considering that he has committed a crime covered by the provisions of treaties of extradition or a crime mentioned in article VI of the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal or by the provisions of article 14, paragraph 2, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Alternatively, Article 1(5) of the Organization of African Unity's Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa
similarly excludes from refugee status people who have committed serious crimes (in the same manner as the refugee convention).
Certainly the above do not cover all and any crimes and exclusion is limited to serious offences. It is up to each state to decide where that threshold lies. We can debate whether the type of sex offences committed by the man in question should count as a serious enough crime. We can also debate whether it would be moral to expel a refugee who had committed crimes that do cross the threshold of seriousness.
But the overall principle is well established that at some point a refugee could be expelled if they have committed a serious crime.