The 7th Annual Conference took place in person at Senate House from 21-23 June 2023.
The conference offered a forum to share and debate the latest research and cutting-edge developments in refugee protection. This conference built on previous annual conferences by uniting academics, practitioners, policy-makers and students to consider pressing challenges in refugee law and policy.
2023 Dedicated Theme and Panels
The 2023 dedicated conference theme – ‘Inequality and Fairness in Refugee Protection’ – asked how law and policy can address the profound challenges of inequality and unfairness experienced by refugees and other displaced persons in many parts of the world.
Alongside keynote presentations, about half of the panel sessions were devoted to this theme. Some topics for paper or panel submissions included the following:
- What are the main forms of inequality faced by refugees today and historically? To what extent are they specific to the situation of refugees and/or connected to broader issues of injustice in global/national/local society? What does the pursuit of fair or equal treatment for refugees imply philosophically or sociologically?
- How do law and policy at the national and international levels redress inequalities experienced by refugees in their enjoyment of civil and political rights? How about in the economic, social and cultural sphere? To what extent do laws and policies create inequalities rather than resolving them? How could they be made fairer?
- How do refugee definitions in the Convention and in regional instruments (or in national law) engage with different kinds of inequality in the country of origin? Do they engage with issues of exclusion and inequality in economic status or climate change exposure, for example, as well as political or civic representation?
- Is it fair or even permissible to distinguish between refugees in order to treat them differently? What are the legal, policy and ethical implications of such inequality between refugees? Do they depend on the reasons for unequal treatment, e.g. distinctions on the basis of nationality, mode of entry or other criteria?
- How do inequalities between countries at the global, regional or even bilateral level shape their responses to the refugee issue? What does fairness or equality at this level of refugee law and policy sphere really mean, especially in relationship to so-called ‘responsibility-sharing’, given a fundamentally unfair world?
- What is (or should be) the role of different institutions in the refugee regime in relation to addressing inequality or promoting fairness? Do these considerations differ across institutions, including federal States, sub-national governments, courts, international agencies, NGOs, refugee and host communities, universities etc.?
- How do concepts of equality and fairness relate to debates about the representation of refugees, whether in terms of their inclusion in national society, policy processes at the national, local and international levels, or academic research and teaching? What about the role of host communities and other displacement-affected persons?
Presentations from the conference can be found here.
You can find the programme for the conference here.