Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


R. K.L. Panjabi

First Page



CLOSING THE DOORS: THE FAILURE OF REFUGEE PROTECTION By David Matas with Ilana Simon Toronto: Summerhill Press 1989

David Matas is a Canadian lawyer who has served on a Task Force on Immigration Practices and Procedures, has participated in the Canadian Council for Refugees, and has spoken publicly on the refugee crisis. He has written a critical, provocative analysis of the response of the Western world to the refugee problem, with emphasis on the policies of the present Government of Canada. His aim is to expose the injustices of the legislative and procedural systems for refugees in Canada. He writes with fluency and clarity, emphasizing his ideas in a manner that appeals both to the head and to the heart of the reader. Closing the Doors will be very useful for international lawyers anxious to understand the system of a country that was, until quite recently, widely regarded as a haven for sanctuary. Americans interested in refugee issues should read this book because the Canadian context can apply to some aspects of the refugee experience in the United States. Human rights advocates and students of human rights will find Matas' suggestions and ideas thought provoking. Though some politicians in the United States and Canada undoubtedly will take issue with his views, they might be wise to take note of his opinions, because his perceptions are widely shared in both North American nations. Matas does not confine his criticism to the Canadian experience. He also describes and analyzes the legal systems and measures for refugees in the United States and in Europe.