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Conf/CfP - Refugee Protection in a Hostile World?, 18 - 19 July 2018, UK

Publish Date: Oct 10, 2017

Deadline: Jan 22, 2018

Event Dates: from Jul 18, 2018 12:00 to Jul 19, 2018 12:00

‘Refugee Protection in a Hostile World?’

3rd Annual Conference, Refugee Law Initiative, University of London
18 - 19 July 2018

The 3rd Annual Conference of the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) will be held on Wednesday 18 July and Thursday 19 July 2018 at the Senate House of the University of London.

The RLI Annual Conference offers a dedicated annual forum internationally to share and debate the latest research and cutting-edge developments in refugee protection. This conference builds on the success of the previous annual conferences that united academics, practitioners, policy-makers and students in considering pressing challenges to refugee law.

This year’s shorter RLI Annual Conference takes place over two days. The following day (Friday 20 July), a special international IDP Workshop celebrating 20 years of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement will be hosted at Senate House. Attendance at that event is optional for RLI conference participants and must be booked separately.


This year’s special theme – ‘Refugee Protection in a Hostile World?’ - reflects on an apparent strengthening of long-standing currents of anti-refugee feeling and other forms of instability in the world. This trend raises urgent questions about its present and future impact on refugee protection globally, as well as the interaction between global politics and refugee law.

Alongside presentations from keynote speakers, several panel sessions will be devoted to this theme. Proposals for these ‘thematic’ panels should speak ONLY to the special theme for this year. Possible topics for paper or panel submissions could include:

  • How is apparently-growing hostility towards refugees manifested in refugee law and refugee protection? Papers could address the curtailment of refugee rights or resettlement quotas, imposition of procedural bars or practical obstacles to seeking asylum or in status determination, shortening the stay granted to refugees, and undermining regional schemes such as the Common European Asylum System.
  • What are the implications for refugee protection of influential States shaking up the established order at international level?  Papers could address the impact on multilateral approaches to the refugee problem, leadership on global refugee protection by countries such as the USA, integrity of the global refugee system, the role of UNHCR, and cooperation through regional schemes.
  • In practice, does international refugee law now act as a check on regressive practice? Papers could address any aspect of interaction between refugee protection in law, policy and practice at the international level and at the national, provincial and municipal levels, or between ‘universal’ and regional arrangements.
  • How has the criminalisation of migration impacted on refugee law? In light of a tendency towards criminalising migration, papers could address the application of refugee law in mixed movement settings, the role and scope of Art 1F exclusion and Art 31 non-penalisation, and the utility of concepts such as ‘vulnerable migrants’.
  • What prospects for the 2018 Global Compacts on Refugees and Migrants in current political climate? Papers could address such topics as what they will/should include, the form that they may take and their potential to impact on refugee protection.
  • What is the role of UNHCR, lawyers and other refugee rights actors in this changing global context? Papers could address whether the prospects really are so bleak, whether new opportunities also exist, how such actors are responding.

These are pointers only and we welcome proposals on any aspect of debates around refugee law, protection and diverse global political trends and challenges.


Many other panel slots will be open to ANY topic on law, policy and practice relating to refugees, stateless persons and forced migrants. They offer a platform for a broader range of high-quality research in this field. Proposals to these panels can be for law, policy or practice at the international level, in the UK and Europe, or in any other country or region.

For this year alone, please note that papers on internally displaced persons (IDPs) should instead be submitted to the special one-day Workshop on IDPs the following day.


The selection committee is pleased to invite paper (max. 300 words) and panel proposals (of 3-4 papers) for ‘thematic’ and ‘open’ panels. Please indicate clearly in the subject line of your email whether your proposal relates to the ‘thematic’ or the ‘open’ panels and whether it is for a single paper or a panel. Selection is competitive and proposals will be chosen based on quality, relevance to the field and (for ‘open’ panels) coherence with other submissions.

We also invite proposals for poster presentations during the evening reception on the first day. This is a space that newer researchers, taught students, etc. may find more suitable for presenting research through poster presentations. High-quality proposals not accepted for the panel sessions may be offered a place on the poster session. Please indicate in the subject line of your email if you are proposing a poster.

Please send all proposals – whether for a paper or panel - to Deadline for submission is Monday 22 January 2018. A decision will be returned by Monday 19 February 2018. The decision of the selection committee is final.

Proposals are welcomed from researchers at all stages in their careers.


All attendees, including presenters, will need to register for the conference based on the following terms. Conference registration for one day only is not available.

A. Early Bird - booking completed before or on 1 March 2018: Standard - £80; Student, unemployed etc. - £70; RLI affiliates (Research Affiliates, MA Refugee Protection students) - £55

B. Non-Early Bird - booking completed after 1 March 2018: Standard - £120; Student, unemployed etc. - £100; RLI affiliates (Research Affiliates, MA Refugee Protection students) - £75

We strongly encourage registration, with a discounted rate available, by former or current refugees as presenters or participants at the conference. Please contact us at for further information.

Participants are responsible for making their own visa, travel and accommodation arrangements, which are not included in the registration fee. However, we can provide details for economical hotels close to the conference venue.

Attendance at the conference dinner in Senate House on Thursday 19 July is optional and charged separately at £45 per head.

A limited number of places are available so please book early to avoid disappointment. 

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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