This report summarises the proceedings at the international conference On the Borders of Refuge Protection: The Impact of Human Rights Law on Refugee Law Comparative Practice and Theory hosted by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study of the University of London, on 13-14 November 2013.
The conference was organized by the Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study of the University of London, in partnership with the Centre for Refugee Studies (York, Canada), Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (USA), International Association of Refugee Law Judges, International Refugee Law Research Programme (Melbourne, UK), Refugee Studies Centre (Oxford, UK) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Bureau for the Americas). The event was convened by Bruce Burson, New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal, and David James Cantor, Refugee Law Initiative.
Overall, the conference explored how international human rights law (IHRL) is shaping the protection of refugees worldwide. A high-level event, it brought together more than twenty leading international specialists in the refugee protection and IHRL – including experts from UNHCR – to take stock of transnational developments in law and practice over the past twenty years, and to cultivate new approaches to the topic.
The five thematic panels of the conference sought to move beyond abstract approaches to IHRL and refugee law to assessing legal interaction between the two fields in practice. The first day was dedicated to wide-ranging comparative perspectives on how IHRL is impacting on refugee law in national settings across the world. The second half-day explored the novel ways in which the borders of refugee protection are being shaped by cross-cutting special themes in HRL and the future challenges that this poses.