(Re)visit our 2021 Expert Forums

After the Expert Forums of 2020, in autumn 2021, the PROTECT Consortium organized three Expert Forums again. The forums all sought to explore the legal potential and impacts of the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration, especially focusing on current protection challenges in three regions of the world: Europe, South(ern) Africa and Canada/North America. The forums have brought together a wide range of scholars and practitioners involved in the global governance of migration and the international protection regime – all of which happened in a digital setting.

Expert Forum II (EU)

Can the Global Compact for Migration Strengthen the International Protection Regime?

This full-day conference on 10th September explored how the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) affects the rights of refugees and other protection-seeking migrants. Key issues covered were the role of the GCM in providing alternative pathways to protection, its relevance for economic and social rights independent of a protection status, as well as its potential to strengthen the rights of protection-seeking migrants in the context of immigration detention.

PROTECT’s first Expert Forum of the year started with Cathryn Costello’s (Hertie School, Berlin) keynote, followed by comments from policymakers from the International Catholic Migration Commission, the United Nations and Counterterrorism, and the German Federal Foreign Office. After a break, the Forum resumed with three panel discussions (with two presenters each), addressing issues regarding access to protection, rights beyond status, and immigration detention. Academics from a wide range of prominent universities – Queen Mary University London, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Lund University, Ryerson University, Radboud University, VU University Amsterdam – were represented in these panels, including policy officers and specialists from the UNICEF and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

The event was organized by PROTECT’s Germany-based researchers, from the Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (JLU), Pauline Endres de Oliveira, Jürgen Bast and Janna Wessels!

Full recordings of talks and discussions are available here:

Expert Forum II (Southern Africa)

PROTECT’s second Expert Forum took place on 15th and 22nd September and its aim was to unpack the role of international protection and the reality of human rights based protection claims on the ground in Southern Africa today. Special attention was given to the influence and impact of both the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in the current context of Covid-19.

On the forum’s first day, 15 September, speakers from the African Centre for Migration & Society, Wits University, Pachedu LGBTQI, The Australian National University, and The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town explored protection issues and solutions for LGBTIQ+ people in contexts of forced displacement. The forum’s second day, 22 September, explored the boundaries of international protection and human rights instruments in South(ern) Africa. The panel consisted of academics and practitioners, including an admitted attorney, currently working as an international trade and development expert, from The World Bank in Washington D.C., The New School in New York City, Messina Legal Advice Office (MLAO), and the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), University of the Witwatersrand.

This forum was hosted by Jo Vearey, Nicholas Maple, and Kudakwashe Vanyoro from the University of the Witwatersrand, which is PROTECT’s South African partner.

Full talks and discussions are available below:

Expert Forum II (Canada)

UN Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees, the governance of migration, and the international protection regime 

PROTECT’s third Expert Forum, between 7-8th October, explored whether and how the Global Compacts can positively impact the governance of migration and refugees in Canada and globally. The Forum also assessed the GCM from the perspective of the international protection regime and addressed the question of whether (and how) the GCM can have an impact on both the individual rights of protection seekers and the international protection regime in Canada.

The forum offered a space for discussion on the institutional and procedural dynamics of the Global Compact while also taking stock of the role of relevant stakeholders, in particular policymakers, civil society actors, and researchers.

The Policy Panel on 7th October included speakers from the Université du Québec à Montréal, the World Refugee and Migration Council and a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of Canada. The day after, on 8th October, the Forum recommenced with an Academic Panel, made up of academics from the X University, the Carleton University, the LERRN – The Local Engagement Refugee Research Network, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and the Wilfrid Laurier University.

The event was organized by Idil Atak and Jona Zyfi, who represent PROTECT’s Canadian partner university, the Ryerson University.

Video recordings of the talks and discussions are available here: