Previous Events

From a Humanitarian Concern to a Security Threat: Changing Mentality Towards Refugees and Inter-displaced Persons

On June 17, 2015, the NATO Association of Canada hosted a panel event focused on the following questions:

As more countries struggle with the threat of domestic terrorism and instability, will refugees and inter-displaced persons be considered a “security threat” until proven otherwise? And what are the effects of this mentality towards refugee populations by states and societies?
The Gillard Government made a commitment in 2010 to release all children from immigration detention by June 2011, but still 1000 children languish in the harsh environment of immigration camps around Australia. The Refugee Action Collective organised a protest on July 9, 2011 outside the Melbourne Immigration Transit accommodation which is used for the detention of unaccompanied minors.

We were honoured to have the presence of three speakers, including:

Molly Thomas

Molly Thomas photo






Molly is a reporter and host for Context with Lorna Dueck, a faith-based current affairs show that airs on Global across Canada and various networks in the US. In May 2015, she was in Iraq interviewing internally displaced people in both camp and home settings. She also spent time in Jordan, identifying lost scholars, students who were forced out of the classroom because of the ongoing Syrian civil war. Her work has taken her to Rwanda, Uganda, London and Haiti. She is also a 2016 MA Candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Francisco Rico







Francisco is the past president of the Canadian Council for Refugees and has received the William P. Hubbard Race Relations Award of the City of Toronto, as well as the YMCA Peace Medallion. He, along with his wife, are the founders of the FCJ Refugee Centre in Toronto, and have several years of experience working for social justice and human rights. He is a trained lawyer and economist, and came to Canada from El Salvador in 1990.

Dr. Idil Atak

Dr Idil Atak







Dr. Atak is a professor at the Department of Criminology at Ryerson University. She received her Ph.D from the Universite de Montreal’s Faculty of Law. She currently serves on the executive committee of the Canadian Association on Refugees and Forced Migration Studies, and is pursuing research regarding the “intersection of security, irregular migration and asylum.” She also served as a legal expert for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, as well as deputy to the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.


To hear the discussion, you can find the full event on our Youtube page

NATO Association of Canada
The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.