25 June 2013

CALL FOR PAPERS: International Human Rights Law in Refugee Status Determination: Comparative Practice and Theory

CALL FOR PAPERS

International Human Rights Law in Refugee Status Determination: Comparative Practice and Theory
Venue:  Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Date:  London, 13-14 November 2013

Dear Colleagues,

We write to share news of the forthcoming conference on ‘International Human Rights Law in Refugee Status Determination: Comparative Practice and Theory’ that will take place at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London, on 13 and 14 November 2013.

This 1½ day conference brings together leading experts to reflect comparatively on the practical and theoretical impact of international human rights law upon refugee status determination. Three panels will explore comparative practice from around the world and one will be addressed to broader cross-cutting thematic issues. Some further details can be found in the outline below.

For the final thematic panel, we are keen to receive additional contributions, particularly on the following broad topics and their implications for our understanding of the scope of refugee definitions: sexual and gender identity; combatants and military service; permissible limitations to rights (such as the freedom to manifest one’s religion); and internal protection/flight alternative.

If you wish to propose a paper to be presented on this panel, please submit a short abstract of up to 300 words to bruce.burson@justice.govt.nz and david.cantor@sas.ac.uk by Friday **5 July 2013**.


Please note that presenters will be asked to submit a draft paper of 5 000-8 000 words by 1 November 2013 to enable paper-sharing in advance among the participants. Local accommodation will be offered to selected presenters, as well as a contribution towards economy travel expenses of up to £50 (UK), £150 (Europe), £500 (World). After the event, revised papers will be submitted to Martinus Nijhoff for publication in an edited collection.

The conference is organised by the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London, jointly with the Centre for Refugee Studies (York, Canada), Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (Harvard, USA), International Refugee and Migration Law Project (UNSW, Australia), International Refugee Law Research Programme (Melbourne, Australia) and other institutions, and includes papers by prominent academics and practitioners.

Registration for the conference will be opened shortly. If you are interested in participating other than as a presenter, please email the convenors so that we can keep you informed.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Bruce Burson
New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal

David James Cantor
Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study, University of London
  

CONFERENCE OUTLINE:

International Human Rights Law in Refugee Status Determination:
Comparative Practice and Theory

International Conference
London, 13-14 November 2013

International human rights law (IHRL) has assumed an increasingly important role in refugee status determination (RSD) over the past twenty years. At the same time, the legal consequences of this interaction remain a source of considerable contention. Whilst much of the debate has taken place in abstract and general terms, the conference seeks to shift the focus to a detailed comparative analysis of how this relationship is configured by different jurisdictions in practice.

The simple fact that RSD takes place within a wide range of different jurisdictional contexts requires a new point of departure. Indeed, these express a vast variance based, inter alia, on the refugee and IHRL instruments ratified by the country, the ways in which these have been incorporated into domestic law, the interpretation of these instruments through the lens of local legal cultures, and the differing nature of RSD procedures internationally. The conference will provide an important new perspective on the divergent ways that such factors have moulded the relationship between IHRL and refugee law at the level of national RSD practice.

As well as generating important new practical understandings of RSD, the resulting analysis will feed back into wider theoretical debates about the influence of IHRL in RSD. For instance, the obviously uneven cross-jurisdictional terrain raises serious questions about the capacity of IHRL to cohesively shape RSD at the international level. Questions about transnational processes of borrowing between different jurisdictions also arise. Whether IHRL should be used to interpret refugee law and, if so, in which of its components, is also an important issue.

Broad questions to be addressed from both theoretical and comparative perspectives include:

1. Does IHRL influence RSD in practice at the national level? If so, what are the key factors that determine the degree and nature of such influence?
2. Are there particular areas of refugee law interpretation where the influence of IHRL is especially pronounced in national practice?
3. Has the IHRL influence on RSD – and refugee law - been broadly positive or negative?
4. Does IHRL facilitate the convergence of RSD processes at the international level?

The conference provides the opportunity both for a stock-taking of transnational developments over the past twenty years and for the identification of future challenges. Given the scope of the material, it will be of interest to lawyers, judges, practitioners and scholars in the areas of refugee, human rights and EU law, as well as humanitarian workers and academics, government authorities, policy researchers and students.


If you wish to propose a paper to be presented on this panel, please submit a short abstract of up to 300 words to bruce.burson@justice.govt.nz and david.cantor@sas.ac.uk by Friday **5 July 2013**. 

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