The Spirit of International Solidarity, the Right to Asylum, and the Response to Displacement – An Interdisciplinary Symposium

Call for Papers

La Trobe University, 14-15 February 2019, Melbourne, Australia.

CfP Deadline: 500 word (max) abstract by 15 June 2018

In 1948, attempts to enshrine the right to asylum in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights failed. Rather than proclaiming a right to seek and be granted asylum from persecution, Article 14 speaks only of a right to seek and to enjoy asylum.

France had tried to defuse the tension between the human rights of people fleeing persecution and the sovereignty of nation-states by proposing that it fall to the international community, rather than to individual states, to guarantee the right to asylum: “Everyone has the right to seek and be granted, in other countries, asylum from persecution. The United Nations, in concert with Countries concerned, is required to secure such asylum for him.”

The line of thinking behind the 1948 French proposal subsequently informed a French initiative for a Declaration on Territorial Asylum. A 1957 French draft of that declaration read: “Responsibility for granting asylum to persons requesting it shall lie with the international community as represented by the United Nations.” The draft spelled out how the United Nations was to meet its responsibilities: it “shall, in the spirit of international solidarity, consult with States as to the most effective means of providing help and assistance” to those entitled to seek asylum.

The term “international solidarity” has since been invoked regularly. In 1980, the High Commissioner for Refugees, Poul Hartling wrote that “there is hardly a single subsequent resolution of the General Assembly relating to the work of my Office which does not contain some reference to the importance of international solidarity in seeking solutions to the refugee problem. International solidarity has indeed acted as the mainspring for all action undertaken by my office in favour of refugees.” By 2010, a survey by the independent expert on human rights and international solidarity, Rudi Muhammad Rizki, found that “International solidarity is perceived by virtually all respondents as a principle, and by several as a right in international law.” But he also noted that “There is a large gap between assertions of international solidarity in theory and their reflection in practice.” In fact, his statement begs the question of whether the notion of international or global solidarity was ever reflected in practice.

In this symposium, we will pursue this question. We aim to analyse attempts to mobilise the idea of international/global solidarity in international law-making (as distinct from regional solidarity efforts), particularly with regards to refugees and asylum seekers. One such attempt is the recent work undertaken by UNHCR towards the development of the Global Compact on Refugees to foster greater responsibility-sharing among States for significant refugee movements. We invite contributions that explore successful or unsuccessful attempts at making international/global solidarity work, particularly in relation to asylum seekers and the forced displacement of people.

The symposium will be held on 14 and 15 February 2019 in Melbourne. We would like participants to circulate draft papers ahead of meeting face-to-face to allow for more focused discussions during the symposium. There may be funds available to pay some of the costs of invited participants’ travel expenses. We expect the symposium to result in an academic publication, such as a special issue of a refereed journal or an edited book.

We invite participants from a range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences: historians as well as international relations experts, and international legal scholars as well as political theorists.

CFP Deadline: 500 word (max) abstract by: 15 June 2018

Notice of acceptance: 15 July 2018

Completed papers to be circulated by: 15 December 2018

To be held 14-15 February 2019, La Trobe University, City Campus, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Email abstracts and a brief biographical note (max 100 words) to j.boyd@latrobe.edu.au

 

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