IG in Manchester (2018)



ESIL 14th Annual Conference on ‘International Law and Universality’


ESIL Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law Workshop

Thursday, 13 September 2018 

Renold Building, Room F2


The Shaping Up of the UN Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees

 Progression towards or retreat from a universal agenda?


On the occasion of the 14th ESIL Annual Conference on International Law and Universality, the Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law organises a workshop on ‘The Shaping Up of the UN Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees: Progression towards or retreat from a universal agenda?

The topic

After the publication of the first drafts of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees earlier this year, negotiations are now ongoing on the two key instruments of future universal migration and asylum governance. The latest round of negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration took place between 14 and 18 May in the UN Headquarters in New York. After subsequent rounds of talks, the final draft will be submitted for adoption to the Intergovernmental Conference that will be held in Morocco in December 2018. Following consultations, the Global Compact on Refugees will be presented in the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ 2018 Annual Report to the General Assembly.

In line with the theme of the 14th ESIL Annual Conference, this Workshop intends to contribute to the academic debate on the universal and regional impact of the New York Declaration and the Global Compacts, including its legal transformative power. It will discuss papers exploring whether and how the progression towards a new era of global governance of mass migration and refugee flows is capable of enhancing the universality of the fundamental rights agenda or diluting consolidated principles and rules of migration and refugee law, alongside with questions on international responsibility of various actors involved in dealings with migrants and refugees. The Workshop will host two thematic panels: one on migration-related matters, the other one on refugee and asylum matters.




9.00 – 9.10   Welcome and introduction

Daniela Vitiello (University of Florence), Kristof Gombeer (VUB; Leiden Law School)


9.10 – 10.30  Panel 1: The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration 

This panel will focus on new cooperative strategies and techniques in the field of migration management, with a view to assess the potential for change of the call for a safe, orderly and regular migration. The identification of advantages and pitfalls of the new course, and its capacity to strike a better balance between aliens’ rights and states’ sovereign prerogatives, paired with issues of international responsibility for breaches of law, will be key to this discussion.

Chair: Tamás Molnár (Corvinus University Budapest; EU Agency for Fundamental Rights)

Discussant: Andrea Spagnolo (University of Turin)


Giovanni Carlo Bruno (National Research Council, Italy), “Available pathways for regular migration: low-skilled migrants, fundamental rights, and the Global Compact”

Vincent Chetail (Graduate Institute, Geneva), “The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: A Normative Kaleidoscope of International Migration Law”

Marion Panizzon (University of Bern; NCCR), “What is a Compact? Migrants’ Rights and State Responsibilities Regarding the Design of the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” (co-authored with: Thomas Gammeltoft Hansen, Elspeth Guild, Violeta Moreno-Lax and Isobel Roele) (tbc)


10.30 – 11.00  Coffee break (exhibition space)


11.00 – 12.30  Panel 2: The Global Compact on Refugees

This panel will focus on the international legal backbone on the protection of refugees and asylum seekers, discussing whether the renewed narrative is leading to an evolution or revolution in the global and/or regional understanding of basic legal concepts and principles of refugee law, such as: surrogate protection, non-refoulement, non-penalisation for irregular entry, burden-sharing and solidarity. The identification of evolutive trends in international case-law will be key to this discussion.

Chair: Tom Syring (Human Rights Research League, Oslo)

Discussant: Nicole Lazzerini (University of Florence)


Chao Yi (McGill University), “Root Causes and Burden/Responsibility-Sharing: Where Are the Countries of Origin in The Global Compact on Refugees?”

Maria Varaki (Erik Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights, Helsinki), “Ethical leadership and Global Compacts. A test of phronesis and humanity”



The IG MigRefLaw workshop will take place in the Renold Building (Room F2). The working language is English.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend and participate in the workshop. The participants are invited to read the papers in advance. They will be distributed among the participants only. Please let us know in advance if you would like to attend so that we can share the papers with you.

After the conference, the ESIL SSRN Editorial Board welcomes papers presented during IG events for inclusion in the ESIL SSRN Conference Paper Series. Details of how to submit full papers will be provided during the conference.


Kristof Gombeer kristof.gombeer@vub.be

Tamas Molnar tamas.molnar@uni-corvinus.hu

Tom Syring tom.syring@hrrleague.org

Daniela Vitiello daniela.vitiello@unifi.it

For an impression of our Interest Group event last year in Naples, click here.