Deportations of asylum seekers from Israel to Rwanda and the legality of transfer/relocation agreements

Deportations of asylum seekers from Israel to Rwanda and the legality of transfer/relocation agreements
22 February 2018, 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Woburn Suite, G22/26, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Panel discussion hosted by the Refugee Law Initiative

On 1 January 2018, the Israeli government announced plans to indefinitely detain or forcibly 'relocate' thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, should they refuse to leave voluntarily (and receive a  lump sum payment) by 31 March 2018. Israel currently hosts around 35,000 asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan (the latter are mostly from Darfur).

The plans have drawn considerable media attention and opposition from many, including UNHCR. Notwithstanding international outrage, the deportation plans represent a steady progression of Israel's asylum policy, and certain parallels can be drawn to relocation/third country agreements pursued by other countries. In a year when two new global compacts, on refugees and for safe, orderly and regular migration, will be debated, do such policies speak more to the future prospects for responsibility-sharing and protection than these global initiatives?

For further analysis of the situaton, please see the recent RLI blog post by panel chair Dr Ruvi Ziegler.

This timely and important panel discussion will draw together experts on International Refugee Law, on refugee policy and practice within Israel, and from UNHCR to speak about the legality of prospective deportations from Israel from a refugee law perspective, and explore what such policies might mean for global refugee policy moving forward. 

Chair and moderator: 

  • Dr. Ruvi Ziegler, Associate Professor in International Refugee Law, University of Reading; Academic Fellow, Inner Temple


  • Shani Bar Tuvia, PhD candidate, 'Human Rights Under Pressure' programme, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Kees (Cornelis) Wouters, Senior Refugee Law Advisor, Division of International Protection, UNHCR (Geneva) (via skype)
  • Dr. Violeta Moreno-Lax, Associate Professor, Queen Mary Law School

The panel discussion will be followed by a drinks reception. 

This event is open to the public and we encourage attendance by students, activists, academics, practitioners and anyone interested in these topics. Tickets are £5, but please contact us at if you're unable to cover the ticket fee.


Refugee Law Initiative
020 7862 8668