Symposium at York invites experts to examine public international law

A symposium co-sponsored by Osgoode Hall Law School’s Nathanson Centre and York University’s McLaughlin College will bring together some of the leading experts in the world on international criminal law, international human rights law and international refugee law on May 30 and 31 at York University’s Keele Campus.

Titled Serious International Crimes, Human Rights, and Forced Migration, the symposium will explore some of the most critical issues in these areas of public international law and examine how these different branches of public international law interact and impact on each other.

The current refugee crisis, predominantly driven by protracted non-international armed conflicts that are geographically concentrated in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia, needs to be addressed at its root cause. The mass production of refugees from zones of extreme political violence in the form of protracted non-international armed conflict has resulted in the greater prominence of the “exclusion clauses” of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Article 1F.

The symposium will look at how serious international crimes and breaches of international human rights produce mass forced displacement and, with it, the issues dealing with the exclusion clauses. The proper application and interpretation of Article 1F for those who are fleeing protracted armed conflict and whether there are “serious reasons for considering” that they may have “committed” or may be “guilty” of serious international crimes will be an overarching consideration of the symposium.

Each day will include a keynote speaker and several plenary sessions with experts from across the globe. A draft program is available online. There is is an online RSVP form.

The Serious International Crimes, Human Rights, and Forced Migration symposium commenced with a collaboration between Professor Elies van Sliedregt, University of Leeds, U.K.; and James C. Simeon, associate professor and head of McLaughlin College at York University. Common research interests in international criminal law and forced migration, as well as on the issue of exclusion from refugee protection, led to a collaboration on various research grant applications and publication projects that sparked the idea of holding a symposium to study the interrelated and interactive affects of protracted armed conflict, severe breaches to a person’s most fundamental human rights and serious criminality, and their attendant consequences for forced migration.