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ESIL Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law workshop on ‘The Future of International Migration Law’ with ILS

On Wednesday 6 September 2017 the Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law of the European Society of International Law (ESIL/SEDI) hosted a workshop in Naples, Italy, in cooperation with the ILS 2.0 Project.

Presentations focused on the realization of the public good of international protection of forcibly displaced individuals and the benefits of safe, regular and orderly migration to all actors involved. One panel looked at the multiplication of actors and legal regimes, another examined new challenges in international migration and refugee law.

The first panel was moderated by VUB and Leiden Law School PhD researcher Kristof Gombeer. Nula Frei (Fribourg) looked at the interaction between international and European anti-trafficking law, on the one hand, and the asylum system based on the 1951 refugee convention, EU Directives and national laws, on the other hand. The aim of her presentation was to set out how asylum procedures must be designed to be in conformity with the international obligations of victims of human trafficking protection. In light of the recent transformation of Frontex into the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Daniela Vitiello (Roma 3) explored the potential contribution of the Agency’s new configuration to the legal conceptualisation of the European Integrated Border Management. Finally, Chao Yi (McGill) questioned whether the law of treaties and treaty interpretation can function as a legitimising foundation of the Internal Relocation Principle under refugee and human rights law.

The second panel, moderated by Tom Syring (Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board) focused on peculiarities and new challenges in international migration law. Ana Beduschi (Exeter) analysed the potential and caveats of using big data technologies to prevent migrants’ deaths at sea and to protect individuals against ill-treatment and trafficking from a human rights law perspective. Gail Lythgoe (Glasgow) discussed the spatial assumptions of international refugee law and illustrated how states use techniques such as moving borders, ‘offshoring’ administrative decision making, creating corridors and excising land to serve political agendas. Ralph Wilde (University College London) investigated the relationship between an expanding scope of legal protection of migrants, on the one hand, and a diminishing willingness of states to provide protection, on the other hand, using the example of the extra-territorial application of the non-refoulement principle.

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