IAFL: The International Association of Forensic Linguists


IAFL Minutes

The minutes from IAFL meetings are now available. Click on the appropriate year to view them.

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Article

"Guidelines for the use of Language Analysis in Relation to Questions of National Origin in Refugee Cases" by the Language and National Origin Group. (In .PDF format).

Graeme Neate's paper at IAFL 2003

Graeme Neate's Paper "Land, law and language: Some issues in the resolution of Indigenous land claims in Australia" was extremely well received at the IAFL Conference in Sydney 11-12 July 2003, and there were numerous requests for an electronic copy. You can download it here, in MS Word format. (Warning: it is 78 pages long!)

Press Release

30 July 2003
Language and Law conference condemns "unprofessional and unreliable" language tests on refugees in Australia

The International Association of Forensic Linguists held its biennial conference in Sydney last week. At the Business Meeting one of IAFL's long-standing members, Dr. Diana Eades, put forward a motion condemning the Australian governent's use of so-called language tests in determining the national origins of asylum seekers.

Dr. Eades and her colleagues had carried out independent research on such tests and found that they were not a reliable means of determining where a refugee had originated from.

The motion, which was passed unanimously, reads as follows:

MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY AT THE BUSINESS MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORENSIC LINGUISTS 12 JULY 2003, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

"This conference notes that the Australian government is currently engaging several European companies to provide "language analysis" in the determination of the nationality of refugee claimants.

"A preliminary examination of this process by a group of five Australian linguists* has raised serious concerns about the underlying assumptions as well as the methods being used in this so-called "language analysis".

"Delegates at the conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists unanimously reject this so-called "language analysis" as unprofessional and unreliable. We call on the Australian government to refrain from using this process, unless and until its reliability has been independently established."

Note:
* The report is "Linguistic identification in the determination of nationality: A preliminary report" by Diana Eades, Helen Fraser, Jeff Siegel, Tim McNamara and Brett Baker. February 2003.

It appears that the British government is starting to use the same controversial tests. See the Guardian report on 12th March 2003.

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