6th RLI Annual Conference, Improving the Global Refuge Regime: From Theory to Practice?

Selected highlights of the conference with links to recorded sessions. The conference, hosted by the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London, took place online from 29 June to 1 July 2022.

The 6th Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) Conference was held between 29 June and 1 July, 2022. The conference was built on the preceding year’s discussions on needing to change the global refugee regime. Keynotes and panels addressed various related topics including whether the protection regime needs change; what, where, and by whom; and how we should envision the path forward.
Below you will find our selected panels of particular interest, with a synopsis of the papers presented and links to the recorded sessions, being:
– The Complementary Role of Other Legal Approaches in Protecting Refugees
– ‘External Processing’: Regional Approaches, Responsibility Sharing, and Pathways to Protection
– The Role of Community Sponsorship for Refugee Resettlement in Australia: Whither State Responsibility?
– The Future of Complementary Pathways
– Alternative Forms of Protection in Africa

KeyNote Speakers
“The ‘Arc of Protection’ and the Future Shape of the Global Refugee Regime”

“Moving Beyond Refugee Law: Putting Principles on Climate Mobility into Practice” – Prof Jane McAdam 

“Refugee Leadership and the Future of the Global Refugee Regime” – Sana Mustafa

Relevant Presentations and Papers

Session 1C: “The Complementary Role of Other Legal Approaches in Protecting Refugees”. Click here for the recording of this session.
“Humanitarian Visas in Latin America: Improving Refugee Protection” – Liliana Lyra Jubilut and Catherine de Souza Santos
Analyzes positives and short-falls of humanitarian visas as they have been used throughout Latin America and assesses whether humanitarian visas can work as protection tools in global refugee regime.
“Enhancing Refugee Protection: Why We Need to Talk about Anti-Trafficking Law” – Dr Gillian Kane
Argues for the need to tap into the existing potential of current international obligations to maximize anti-trafficking protections.
“The War in Ukraine and the Temporary Protection Directive: Lex Specialis or a Surreptitious Innovation of Refugee Law?” – Francesca Romana Partipilo
Draws on EU’s implementation of Temporary Protection Directive re Ukrainian crisis and argues that EU asylum law alone cannot represent integration and revision of international refugee law, rather, need for global participation and shared responsibility.
“Asylum, Return or Circular Migration: What’s Next when Labour Migration Fails to Provide a Durable Solution for Refugees?” – Dr Zvezda Vankova
Labour visas as complementary pathways are not immediate, rather a ‘journey’ toward a durable. Study examines cases where visa recipients lose their status (e.g., contract not renewed) and options they face, including claiming asylum in host State, returning to first country of asylum or origin, or circular migration.

Session 3C: “The Role of Community Sponsorship for Refugee Resettlement in Australia: Whither State Responsibility?”. Click here for the recording of this session.
“At What Cost? Private Sponsorship of Humanitarian Entrants in Australia” – Dr Anthea Vogl
History, design, reception of private sponsorship programs in Australia.
“Lessons from history: The Community Refugee Settlement Scheme” – Khanh Hoang
Explores Australia’s first community sponsorship initiative and draws on lessons learned and implications for sponsorship schemes in Australia.
“Alternative Framings of Community, Partnerships and Protection in Refugee Sponsorship Programs” – Prof. Susan Kneebone
Evaluates competing claims about community sponsorship programs as applied to Australian context and their implications for international refugee protection.
“Community Sponsorship Literature from the Perspective of Refugee Law Scholarship: What is Missing?” – Dr Kate Ogg
Critical review of community sponsorship scholarship. Findings include lack of focus in conceptualizing protection, gendered nature of sponsorship, use of ‘vulnerability’ in sponsorship schemes, and linkages between community sponsorship and durable solution.

Session 5C: “The Future of Complementary Pathways”. Click here for the recordding of this session.
“Whose Pathways are They Anyway? The Top-down/Bottom-up Conundrum of Complementary Pathways for Refugees” – Dr Joanne van Selm
Explores different practical aspects of complementary pathways from perspectives of and interactions between the ‘bottom’ (refugees and communities) and the ‘top’ (governments and international organizations). ·
“Challenging the Concept of Complementary Pathways” – Marjoleine Zieck
Argues that complementary pathways are inherently problematic as they are not predicated on need for protection, discriminatory, not durable, may threaten availability of third country solution of resettlement, and externalization.
“Complementary Pathways as ‘Effective Access to Means of Legal Entry’ in Reasoning of the ECtHR: Legal and Practical Implications” – Emiliya Bratanova van Harten
Assesses ECtHR caselaw to explore relationship between complementary pathways and non-refoulment to determine whether complementary pathways act as a hindrance or promoter of human rights protection.
“Community-driven Humanitarian Corridors as Community Sponsorship Models: Obligation to Protect Vulnerable vs State Deterrence” – Carola Ricci
Focuses on Italy’s ‘humanitarian corridors’ and related litigation to explore questions including criteria and transparency of procedures, discrimination, and separation and delimitation of the duties of the state and civil society.

Section 6C: “Alternative Forms of Protection in Africa”. Click here for the recording of this session.
“Negotiating Pathways to Justice: Migrants, Asylum-Seekers, Refugees and Access to Justice in Johannesburg, South Africa” – Knowledge Mabhena
Examines South Africa’s short-comings in protecting the constitutional rights of non-citizens (migrants and asylum seekers) as obligated in its constitution.
“Search for Safe Spaces for Education within Insecurity of the Urban: South Sudanese Refugees and Community Schools in Cairo” – Elena Habersky & Amira Hetaba
Analyzes the main struggle faced by refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt of providing their children with good quality education.
“Borders and Boundaries in the Daily Urban Practices of Refugees from African Countries in Bellville, South Africa” – Tamuka Chekero
Examines ways in which the category of ‘refugee’ affects their ability to negotiate space in Belville, South Africa and ways in which refugees produce and reinforce boundaries, borders, and mobility.
“Alternative Forms of Protection In Africa: A Case Study of Mobility and Connectivity as Solutions to Protracted Refugee Situations in Tanzania” – Janemary Ruhundwa
Unpacks unconventional approaches refugees in Tanzania have taken to fill in protection gaps and access rights otherwise unavailable to them.

The 7th Annual Conference of the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) will be held in-person on Wednesday 21st June to Friday 23rd June 2023 at Senate House, University of London. This year’s dedicated conference theme – ‘Inequality and Fairness in Refugee Protection’ – asks 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. Click here for the call for papers and registration.

The views expressed are those of the author/s, and are not attributable to the host organisations of the Resettlement.Plus website.

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