Call for papers – The Evolution of the Principle of Non-Refoulement in International Law: What Role for New Types of International Law-Making?

Workshop in the Context of the 2021 ESIL Annual Conference organised on Wednesday, 8 September 2021

In the framework of the 16th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) (Stockholm, 8-11 September 2021), the ESIL Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law, the ESIL Interest Group on International Criminal Justice, and the Human Rights Research League organize a workshop on the evolution of the international legal norm prohibiting refoulement.

It is a fundamental principle of international refugee law that refugees and asylum seekers and shall not be expelled or returned to persecution. Yet this principle has also become incorporated in international human rights law and international humanitarian law, prohibiting states from transferring or removing individuals within their jurisdiction when there are substantial grounds for believing that this would expose the individual to irreparable harm upon return.

The aim of the joint workshop is to discuss and analyse the evolution of the prohibition of refoulement within and beyond the traditional context of forced migration: How is the scope of non-refoulement evolving within the forced displacement context? How is the balance struck between non-refoulement and state cooperation in the fields of criminal justice and combatting terrorism? How is and can the principle of non-refoulement be used in other contexts? Can one speak of an evolution of non-refoulement as a general principle prohibiting the exposure of individuals to other types of human rights violations or harms that go beyond, for example, torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment?

Moreover, the question arises as to the scope of application of this principle in different contexts, both at the universal and regional levels. It is increasingly accepted that the principle can apply extraterritorially, for instance, when a state intercepts individuals on the high seas, thereby exercises control over those persons and returns them to their point of departure. Yet can similar conclusions arise regarding persons at diplomatic or consular premises? Is it even necessary that a person is transferred across a border? Can or should exposure to human rights violations or other harm within an occupied territory lead to parallel argumentations in terms of refoulement? In addition to the doctrinal potential and limitations, how should we assess these evolutions from a normative or policy perspective?

The co-organizers welcome contributions relating to any of the questions above. We specifically encourage authors wishing to focus on the legal fora, law-making techniques, and actors in which these evolutions (both universally and regionally) can be discerned or could take root to share their ideas for discussion at our joint event.

Abstracts not to exceed 400 words, written in English or French, should be submitted to by 10 July 2021, accompanied by a short curriculum vitae containing the author’s name and institutional affiliation. PhD students, Early Career Researchers, senior academics, and practitioners alike are invited to contribute.

Authors are expected to be ESIL members at the time of presentation. Up to five eligible authors from low-income economies will, if their abstracts are selected for presentation, receive a one-year ESIL membership, including an online subscription to the European Journal of International Law, sponsored by the Human Rights Research League.

Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, the workshop is likely to be arranged in remote mode on Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

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The programme of the ESIL Interest Group Workshop ‘Understanding solidarity under international and EU refugee law’ on the margins of the ESIL Catania Research Forum on 15 April 2021 is now available. The workshop will consist of three panels focussing on: the relationship between responsibility sharing, humanitarianism and vulnerability; the criminalization of solidarity; and externalization and the deflecting of responsibilities. The programme also provides an opportunity to meet other Interest Group members.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 ESIL Research Forum will be arranged in remote mode on Microsoft Teams. All participants attending the ESIL Research Forum and IG pre-conference workshops must register here before 8 April 2021.

Registered participants are expected to be members of the European Society of International Law (ESIL). To join or renew your ESIL membership, please click here.

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Call for papers: 2021 ESIL Research Forum – Catania

On 15 April 2021, the ESIL IG on Migration and Refugee Law will host a Webinar titled ‘Understanding solidarity under international and EU refugee law: Between a rock and a hard place?’.

The Webinar is organised in the framework of this year’s ESIL Research Forum in Catania (‘Solidarity. The Quest for Founding Utopias of International Law’), with the collaboration of the Academy of Law and Migration (ADiM) at the University of Tuscia, Italy. It targets scholars at an early stage of their careers, who have been selected through Call for Papers in 2020.

A new Call for Papers is now open; applications should be submitted to by 10 March 2021, with a short curriculum vitae containing the author’s name, institutional affiliation, contact information (e-mail and phone number), and whether the applicant is member of ESIL. Selected speakers will be notified by 25 March via e-mail. After the selection process, we are not aiming for fully-fledged papers from the selected speakers but for contributions of up to 3000-3500 words (extended abstracts). The eventual short papers (extended abstracts) should be sent to the IG conveners by 10 April 2021 in order to circulate them amongst the panelists prior to the workshop.

The Webinar will deal with the following issues: 1) The criminalisation of solidarity towards refugees and migrants; 2) The crisis of solidarity within the Common European Asylum System; 3) European solidarity towards third transit countries; 4) Other regional approaches to burden and responsibility-sharing in the framework of asylum policies; 5) Solidarity and vulnerability in the Global Compacts on migrants and refugees.

The link to access the Webinar will be shared with the IG members via email in due time

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Newsletter No. 16 (January 2021)

In addition to an update from the Coordinating Committee and an overview of recent publications and reports in the field, the January 2021 newsletter contains information on the Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law’s activities in the framework of the Research Forum in Catania(April 2021) and the the Annual Conference in Stockholm (September 2021).

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Lecture Tineke Strik (the Hague, 18 October)

On 18 October 2019 Tineke Strik, Associate Professor in Migration Law at Radboud University Nijmegen and elected Member of the European Parliament (GreenLeft) will give a public lecture on the need for evidence-based policies in migration management. Her lecture will combine academic insights and political reality. Among many other positions and in addition to her academic career, Tineke has been a member of the Dutch senate for 12 years.

The lecture is organised by the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR) and the Migration & Borders Working Group of the NNHRR and  will take place at the T.M.C. Asser Institute at 16.00 on Friday, 18 October in The Hague, followed by a reception. Both the lecture and the reception are open to academics, researchers, and policy makers.

More info can be found here.

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Interest Group newsletter no. 15

Our latest newsletter is out! In addition to the usual news items, info on conferences etc., it contains further info on our upcoming activity in Athens (12 Sept. 2019) and the convening of our annual IG MigRefLaw business meeting. The newsletter can be found here.

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Programme IG event, Athens (September 2019)

In the margins of the 15th ESIL Annual Conference in Athens (September 2019), the Interest Group on Migration and Refugee law organises a discussion on ‘Children in the context of migration and asylum: a further layer of legal standards limiting state sovereignty?’. The programme and further information is available here.

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Call for papers and panels: Neuchâtel Graduate Conference of Migration and Mobility Studies (Sept. 2019)

The third edition of the Neuchâtel Graduate Conference will take place on 12 – 13 September at the University of Neuchâtel. This year’s topic is Innovative Approaches to Migration and Mobility Studies. The conference provides a stimulating environment in which PhD and PostDoctoral fellows from different universities and research institutions can exchange ideas, establish networks, attend targeted training, and initiate collaborative research. The deadline for submissions is 5 May 2019. More info here.

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News update from the Interest Group: EJIL: Talk! blog symposium on the UN Global Compacts and upcoming IG event in Göttingen (April 2019)

The Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law organised a blog symposium in cooperation with the editors of EJIL: Talk! concerning the UN Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees. Several IG-members contributed, addressing topics from the legal nature of the compacts to the refugee definition. The contributions can be found here.

The Interest Group is also all set for its event in the framework of the ESIL Research Forum, Göttingen. On 3 April, 2019 the Interest Group will discuss the relationship between migration and the rule of law during two sessions. The final programme is available here.


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Migrants’ Rights at a Crossroads @Leicester Law School

The Leicester Law School is hosting a one-day conference on 22 March 2019 on migrants’ rights in the context of the UN Global Compact and the SDGs 2030.

With the recent adoption of the landmark UN Global Compact on Migration, and the explicit integration of migrants’ rights into the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, the issue of the protection of migrants’ rights in international human rights law has never been more topical.

This conference brings together key figures in international institutions and academia working on the issue of migrants’ rights to assess the challenges and opportunities presented by the SDGs and the UN Global Compact for the realisation of migrants’ human rights in the decades ahead.

You can register here.

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