Translator error sinks woman’s refugee hearing

Adrian Humphreys – National Post (Canada) – Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

Refugee woman Samirah Mohamed Neheid's lawyer, Raoul Boulakia
Lawyer Raoul Boulakia’s client, Samirah Mohamed Neheid, faces a new hearing after a poor translator disrupted her last one. Image: Tyler Anderson/National Post

A woman claiming political persecution was on the verge of deportation to her native Kenya — after her testimony at a refugee hearing was deemed incoherent and evasive — when it was revealed a Swahili translator had “butchered” what she was saying.

Last week, a Federal Court of Canada judge gave the woman another chance to state her claim — clearly, this time.

That such potentially grave consequences stem from a translator deemed “incompetent” by other language specialists, and who has been previously removed for similar problems, highlights “systemic” problems with the Immigration and Refugee Board, critics say.

Refugee law experts decry the IRB’s translation services as a “crisis” leading to injustice for legitimate refugees, delays in hearings and costly litigation. . .

. . . read complete article at National Post (Canada) . . .

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