Blog: Why hasn’t the rise of new media transformed refugee status determination?

by Rosamary Byrne
this blog was originately posted at Oxford University Press Blog

Information now moves at a much greater speed than migrants. In earlier eras, the arrival of refugees in flight was often the first indication that grave human rights abuses were underway in distant parts of the world. Since the advent of the Arab Spring in 2011, the role of new and social media as agents of transformation has become a staple of global assumptions about the power of technology to diversify political expression and facilitate networks for social change. The events of that year also triggered a heightened awareness of the promise of technology to bear witness to human rights violations.

By arming ‘citizen journalists’ with so called ‘liberation technology’ there is now capacity to document human rights abuses on an unprecedented scale. Given the need for better and more individualized evidence of rapidly evolving situations in refugee-producing states, what has been the impact of e-evidence on refugee status determination (RSD)? Continue reading

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Registering Humanity: The EU’s Plan to Halt Citizen-led Response to the Migration Crisis

Reposted from Border Criminologies, University of Oxford (Faculty of Law)
by Mariani Gkliati, member of the Interest Group

Civil society has always been the first responder to humanitarian emergencies. For decades, fishermen, lawyers, and people living in the southern European coast have been rescuing and supporting migrants, replacing the often non-existing government structure.

While those in the frontline of the refugee crisis on the Greek island of Lesvos are being honored with a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, the EU and its member states are moving in the opposite direction, placing a strain on civil society. The Draft Council Conclusions of 26 January 2016, drawing on the policy guidelines of the EU Agenda on Migration, place the emphasis on migrant smuggling and call for higher penalties and the intensification of law enforcement, close surveillance of social media, and the participation of NGOs in investigations into migrant smuggling.

Continue reading

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Vacancy: research assistant for book ‘Status of Palestinian Refugees in Int’l Law’

The Research Team for the second edition of The Status of Palestinian Refugees in International Law (SPRIL) is looking for a Research Assistant to support the development of the book.

SPRIL’s first edition was published by Oxford University Press in 1998. The second edition, due by December 2017, will focus on a broad array of legal and political developments occurred since 1998 in connection with the Palestinian Refugee Question.

The Research Assistant’s primary responsibilities will include focused research on secondary and potentially primary sources related to the Palestinian Question and Palestinian refugees in Arab countries, reviewing and summarizing existing literature and responding to ad hoc demands of the Research Team as needed. Sources will include legal and UN documents, history books as well as publications of socio-political interest. Supporting the Research Team in the conduct of structured interviews will also be contemplated.

More information can be found here

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New article: Conflict in Casamance

Cristiano D’Orsi, a member of this Interest Group, has written an article in the Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution on the conflict in the Casamance region of Senegal. His work focuses on the legal-historical analysis of this conflict, further exploring the key question linked to the main cause of the refugee flowing from this region and the possibility of invoking its self-determination.

The article can be found here

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Vacancy: Post Doc at Max-Planck Institute

The Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen is offering three  Postdoctoral Research and Writing Fellowships.

The new Department of Ethics, Law and Politics, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Ayelet Shachar, is seeking to appoint up to three postdoctoral research fellows with an outstanding academic record. Applicants should have substantive legal or political theory expertise in the fields of citizenship, immigration, borders and the regulation of mobility, the ethics of diversity, and the study of cultural or religious pluralism. We expect the selected postdoctoral researchers to complete a monograph or a series of peer-reviewed articles during the fellowship term. We welcome candidates with advanced degrees (PhD, JSD, or equivalent) in political science, law, philosophy, international relations, economics, and human geography. The duration of the in-residence fellowship positions will be up to two years.

The projects must relate to one or more of the core themes of the department’s research program, including the legal construction of borders and membership boundaries. The fellowships are open to all regardless of citizenship. The deadline for receipt of application is 25 January 2016. The envisaged starting date is 1 April 2016 or 1 October 2016.

More information can be found here.

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International Conference on ‘Migration and Asylum: New Challenges and Opportunities for Europe’

The CEU San Pablo University and the University Institute for European Studies organize an International Conference on ‘Migration and Asylum. New Challenges and Opportunities for Europe’ on 21/22 April 2016 in San Pablo.

With thousands of refugees at the European doors, the refugee problem has fostered an intense debate regarding what political, legal and social changes are necessary in the European system to provide effective solutions. Public opinion is divided on how to react and Member States of the European Union have different views on how to manage immigration and refugee flows.

The Conference will focus on the European refugee crisis but with a wide and interdisciplinary perspective. The objective is to establish a dialogue among different disciplines and approaches from economic, social and legal dimensions to social attitudes, moral values, human rights and different policies to deal with this migration crisis.

Read more here for information and the call for papers.

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Multilayered Governance: More Coherence for the International Migration Regime?

NCCR on the Move organizes a two-day workshop, to be held at University of Bern (Switzerland) on Wednesday, 27 April and Thursday, 28 April 2016, examines how current migration challenges could be resolved through the concept of multilayered governance (MLG). As counterproject to constitutionalism and statehood, MLG transforms through constructivist “layering” and “blurring” hegemonies such as universal international law and (host) state control.

By adding layers (regional, supranational, multilateral) to the national ones, MLG re-engages with reciprocity, invites plural values and construes flexible structures. It is thus well-equipped to screen international migration law, which has been criticized for substance lacking architecture. The conference will transpose the research agenda of MLG to the field of international migration law and discuss why constructing coherence for a regime as highly divided and as deeply complex as migration remains challenging. 

The call for papers can be found here. Deadline for submission of paper proposals is 23 December 2015.

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Conference: ‘Undesirable & Unreturnable’, 25-26 January 2016

Impediments to the expulsion of migrants suspected or convicted of serious criminality pose an increasing challenge for public policy in both the national and international spheres. These obstacles can be ‘practical’, such as the lack of means to send the person to their country of origin, or ‘legal’ in nature, as where human rights standards prevent removal. However, even though such cases appear comparatively few in number, they tend to attract significant public interest due to the real concerns that they generate for State migration control, the integrity of the institution of asylum, the role of human rights in contemporary society, and the bringing to justice of perpetrators of serious crimes.

These challenges raise formidable empirical and theoretical questions for refugee, criminal and human rights law which, despite their pressing contemporary relevance, have thus far received minimal scholarly attention. By providing a forum for advancing thinking on these topics, the ‘Undesirable and Unreturnable?’ conference seeks to integrate a wide range of participants to address these issues in a comparative international perspective from the standpoint of both legal and non-legal disciplines.

Registration for the conference on ‘Undesirable and Unreturnable’ migrants in London on 25-26 January has opened. You can register here.

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Conference: Frontex, legal questions and current controversies

On 27 November, the Research Unit in Law at UL is holding a conference on ‘Frontex: legal questions and current controversies’. The conference will examine various legal issues concerning the European Agency Frontex and its activities.

Europe is faced with an ongoing influx of migrants, causing political controversy and public concern, and placing a critical focus on Frontex.
The event will provide a platform for discussing of a number of issues starting with the legal status of Frontex in the EU legal order. Panels will cover the agency?s operational mandate and international activities and question its position as an actor on the global arena.

Details about the conference and how to register can be found here.

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Masterclass by Prof. Kees Groenendijk (Giessen, Germany)

The Faculty of Law, Prof. Dr. Jurgen Bast, and the Giessen Graduate Centre for Social Sciences, Business, Economics and Law at Justus Liebig University Giessen will host a Masterclass on European and Comparative Migration Law with Prof. Kees Groenendijk on 20 November in Giessen, Germany. This Masterclass gives five selected PhD students and postdocs the opportunity to present their research project and get expert feedback.

Participation is open for a limited number of advanced undergraduate students, PhD students and Postdocs. The deadline for applications is Friday 13 November 2015.

More information can be found here

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