By the Human Rights in Asia conference Team
Postgraduate students from the University of Essex Human Rights Centre are proud to announce that the tenth edition of the annual Human Rights in Asia Conference will take place on 24th March, from 10:00AM to 5:00PM in the Essex Business School (Auditorium 2.2) at the Colchester campus, University of Essex.
By Tola Akindipe
Image: Tola Akindipe, Zoe Garshong, and scholarship recipients Rahaf, Nusaiba and Ahmad
Since the beginning of the current refugee crisis in Europe there has been a lot of interest in how higher education can provide opportunities to people who are fleeing persecution. Many universities have drafted policies to make it easier for their admissions departments to admit refugees, or have offered scholarships and fee waivers. During the summer of 2017 the University of Essex decided to join this movement and announced that it would pilot a scholarship scheme to offer three scholarships worth £10,000 to Syrian refugees. This post will discuss the student-led campaign that convinced the University to launch this important initiative.
By Marios Kontos
On the occasion of Refugee Week, this blog entry aims to provide an overview of the reception conditions for asylum seekers in Greece under the prism of the so-called Dublin system. The Dublin system consists of regulations which purport to streamline the handling of asylum claims amongst most European Union (EU) member states and a small number of other non-member states. With a few exemptions, the core principle of these rules is simple: the member state responsible for an asylum claim will be the state through which the asylum seeker first entered the EU.
By Ciarán Duffy
Approximately 5 years into the conflict in Syria, and in the context of over 60 million displaced persons worldwide, one of the most fundamental humanitarian challenges remains unaddressed: the need to reach refugees with the regular, timely, accurate and actionable information they need to survive, protect their families and make decisions affecting their future.
“Giving vulnerable people the right information at the right time is a form of empowerment. It enables people to make the decisions most appropriate for themselves, and their families, and can mean the difference between being a victim or a survivor.”
– Jonathan Walter, Editor of the 2005 World Disasters Report.
Information is essential in order for refugees to know their rights, understand what services are available and how to access assistance. Yet information alone is often insufficient to empower refugees. Aid organisations need to ensure information is delivered through suitable mediums, that trust underpins information campaigns, and that opportunities for feedback are also available to refugees.
By GS Gilbert
Given that there are approximately 65 million forcibly displaced individuals of concern to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), respect for international refugee law, international human rights law, the international law of armed conflict, international criminal law and the rule of law generally has never been greater if the need for flight is to be prevented or at least lessened. As for protection and solutions, though, they are often considered to be separate elements of UNHCR’s response to displaced persons and stateless persons, yet that is a false dichotomy. Traditionally, protection consists of documentation, registration, non-refoulement and status determination; solutions used to be three durable solutions of voluntary repatriation/ return, resettlement/ relocation, and local integration. However, when the modal average time spent as a displaced person is twenty years, the concepts of protection and solutions have to be reconfigured so that they are recognised as coterminous, that solutions begin at the point of protection and that ongoing solutions promote protection. To explain, the documentation and registration of new arrivals and of stateless persons is often seen as the start of international protection and, to be sure, it is, but they are also the gateway to solutions. They provide access to the ongoing solutions of employment, education, health care and legal services, all rights provided for in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951, and its 1967 Protocol, they empower the displaced and stateless person and make them readier to enter durable and sustainable solutions such as voluntary repatriation/ return, resettlement/ relocation or local integration. “Warehousing” refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps miles away from all other population centres leaves them at risk, particularly women and children of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), and denies them chances to promote their own solutions. Where refugees and IDPs are integrated with the local population, the UN agencies can provide an integrated and comprehensive response that benefits the displaced and the local population as well as the government, central and regional.
Putting to one side the question of just how many people arriving in Europe would constitute a crisis given the resources that are available in this region, especially after having regard to the numbers that cross into and remain in states in Africa and south-east Asia, this article is focusing on ‘Europe’, ‘refugees’ and the search for solutions.
By Geoff Gilbert, Professor of Law, School of Law & Human Rights Centre, University of Essex.