‘Mass Influx? Law, Policy and Large-Scale Movements of Refugees and Migrants’

2nd Annual Conference, Refugee Law Initiative, University of London

5 - 7 June 2017


The 2nd Annual Conference of the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) took place from Monday 5 June to Wednesday 7 June 2017 at the Senate House of the University of London.

The chosen theme for this year’s conference -‘Mass Influx? Law, Policy and Large-Scale Movements of Refugees and Migrants’ - reflected a need to re-examine complex issues surrounding large-scale sudden movements of persons across borders, as we build towards the Global Compacts in 2018. The three day event, hosted at Senate House, brought together 200 participants from across the globe from governments, courts, NGOs, international organisations and agencies, legal practice and academia, to debate and exchange ideas on the protection of forced migrants and stateless persons.

  • The conference considered law and policy relating to large-scale movements of refugees and migrants and facilitated a large range and depth of contributions and debate on this area, ranging from conceptual approaches to mass influx situations and challenges to the international protection framework itself, to specific challenges surrounding mass flight from war, conflict and climate change.
  • It addressed not only securitisation and externalisation measures being practiced by the EU, the US and other countries in the Global North, but also regional approaches and practices being employed in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Importantly, the conference considered protection of refugees and other forced migrants within the broader context of migration and mobility, and also featured a range of contributions focusing on the protection of refugees, IDPs and others seeking international protection, including specific groups of persons and avenues of protection in practice.

The full programme can be found here.

Keynote speakers and special guests

In addition to over 60 papers presented, the RLI was pleased to welcome a number of distinguished keynote speakers to the conference. These included: Volker Turk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR; François Crépeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants; Alexander Betts, Director, Refugee Studies Centre; Loren Landau, African Centre for Migration and Society, among others. Podcasts from the keynote's presentations are available here.

The RLI was also pleased to welcome a number of students from its distance-learning MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies. Delivered through the University of London International Programmes, the MA in Refugee Protection is currently the largest programme on forced migration in the world. Full details of the MA programme (and how to apply) can be found here.

Presentations and Posters

A selection of presentation slides of papers that were presented at the three day conference are available here.
MA students and others presented their research in a special poster session attached to the conference. A selection of the poster presentations are available here.

...and the Third Annual Conference

The RLI annual conference serves as a dedicated forum for bringing together decision-makers and practitioners, policy-makers, academics and students to share, discover and debate the latest thinking and developments in the refugee protection field. Join our mailing list here for our newsletter and news of how to gain early bird booking for next year!

* With thanks to support from the John Coffin Trust and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

Cover photo: © Brendan Bannon / IOM / UNHCR
Photos below: © Genna Naccache

RLI 2nd Annual Conference