Which mistake is worse: to deny a refugee claim that should have been granted, or to grant a claim that should have been denied?
Professor Hilary Evans Cameron from the University of Toronto argues that refugee law should recognize an obligation under the Convention to resolve doubt in the claimant’s favour. What is more, to meet its Convention obligations refugee status determination must function as a risk assessment. Building on UK and Australian jurisprudence, Professor Cameron proposes a decision-making model that gives effect to these two legal imperatives.
About the speaker: A former litigator, Hilary Evans Cameron represented refugee claimants for a decade, and now holds a doctorate in refugee law from the University of Toronto. She is the SSHRC’s 2017 Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Research and the author of a book about the law of fact-finding in refugee status decision-making (Refugee Law’s Fact-finding Crisis: Truth, Risk, and the Wrong Mistake, Cambridge 2018). Her research, which largely focuses on how refugee status adjudicators make credibility assessments, has been influential internationally and was recently included in a leading anthology of “the finest scholarship available” in refugee law from the 1930s to the present (Hathaway 2014). Dr. Evans Cameron teaches at Trinity College in the Ethics, Society and Law program and is a postdoctoral fellow and adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.
The industrial revolution and subsequent technological progress enabled the production and use of a new range of weapons and military equipment. How did international law and lawyers react to this development? What arguments based on legal doctrine were in favour of or against outlawing “uniquely evil” weapons?
Professor Milos Vec will discuss how the self-perceptions of nineteenth-century international lawyers and their beliefs in the progress of technology and civilization were overshadowed by Eurocentrism. He will supply evidence how such attitudes contributed to the failure of the project of outlawing weapon.
About the Presenter: Miloš Vec is Professor of European Legal and Constitutional History at Vienna University and a Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM, Vienna). Habilitation in Legal History, Philosophy of Law, Theory of Law, and Civil Law from Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. Until 2012 he worked at the Max-Planck-Institute for European Legal History and taught there. Further teaching at the Universities of Bonn, Hamburg, Konstanz, Lyon, Tübingen, and Vilnius. Fellow to the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, 2011/2012; Senior Global Hauser Fellow at NYU in 2017; associate member of the Cluster of Excellence “Normative Orders” at Frankfurt University. Free-lance journalist, particularly for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
By Daniel Trilling
Myth 1: The crisis is over
The refugee crisis that dominated the news in 2015 and 2016 consisted primarily of a sharp rise in the number of people coming to Europe to claim asylum. Arrivals have now dropped, and governments have cracked down on the movement of undocumented migrants within the EU; many thousands are stuck in reception centres or camps in southern Europe, while others try to make new lives in the places they have settled.
But to see the crisis as an event that began in 2015 and ended the following year is a mistake, because it obscures the fact that the underlying causes have not changed. To see it in those terms only gives the impression of a hitherto unsullied Europe, visited by hordes of foreigners it has little to do with. This is misleading. The disaster of recent years has as much to do with immigration policies drawn up in European capitals as it does with events outside the continent, and the crisis also consists of overreaction and panic, fuelled by a series of misconceptions about who the migrants are, why they come, and what it means for Europe.
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