[Laws] Special Issue "Refugees and International Law: The Challenge of Protection"

Liv Li's picture
Call for Papers
May 31, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Human Rights, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Law and Legal History, Social Sciences

Dear Colleagues,

The current global “refugee crisis” is unprecedented. According to the UNHCR, in 2017, the number of persons forcibly displaced from their homes averaged, incredibly, 44,400 per day, 16.2 million people were newly displaced, 52 percent of the world’s refugees were children, under 18 years, there were 3.1 million asylum-seekers worldwide, and, there were 68.5 million people forcibly displaced. The 2016 New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and the 2017 Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration are prime examples of how the United Nations and the international community have attempted to respond to the global “refugee crisis.” Ineluctably, the significance of international law is becoming ever more relevant and important to the protection of refugees and other forced migrants’ fundamental human rights and dignity. This Special Issue will complement the existing ever growing academic literature on refugees by focussing specifically on how international law, in general, can strengthen the protection of the world’s most vulnerable people, refugees. The Special Issue will be focussed primarily on international refugee law, but, it will also encompass how international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and, international criminal law can enhance refugee protection globally.

The unprecedented number of persons forcibly displaced in the world today, according to the UNHCR, has now exceeded 68.5 million. Astonishingly, more than two-thirds of the refugees worldwide came from five countries: the Syrian Arab Republic (6.3 million); Afghanistan (2.6 million); South Sudan (2.4 million); Myanmar (1.2 million); and, Somalia (986,400). All of these countries have been embroiled in protracted armed conflict for years. Most states, particularly in the Global North, are doing what they can to close their borders and restrict access to international protection, contrary to their obligations under international law. International refugee law is at the very core of our most fundamental human right to seek protection from persecution and the peremptory norm of non-refoulement. Other branches of international law are vitally important in the protection of refugees, including: international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law.

This Special Issue provides a forum for addressing some of the critical legal issues involving refugees and international law. Possible legal issues include, but are not limited to the following: When and how can international humanitarian law and international criminal law advance the protection of refugees? What other branches of public international law can support and inform the application and interpretation of international refugee law while enhancing the protection of those seeking asylum? How can international human rights law best be applied to strengthen the protection of refugees at all stages of the refugee cycle? Given the fractured nature of international criminal law jurisprudence, how can it best be applied and interpreted to ensure that refugee protection is not compromised, the impunity gap is not widened, and, justice is done? What is required to ensure that international refugee law is uniformly and consistently applied across states and the UNHCR?

Contributions to this Special Issue of Laws on these and other related questions that deal with the central theme of “Refugees and International Law: The Challenge of Protection” are most welcomed.

Prof. James C. Simeon
Guest Editor

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