Poster

‘Camps That Are Becoming Cities – Cities That Are Becoming Camps: The Case of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan

The Oppenheimer Chair is pleased to welcome Faten Kikano, PhD Candidate in Environmental Design, from the Université de Montréal for a conference and a photo exhibition. Ms. Kikano will present her research and her photos about the life of  Syrian refugees in camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Join us for a lunch, a short conference…
Sonia Cancian Poster
Monday, 27 March 2017

The Power of Life Stories: Situating the Narratives of Migrants and Refugees within the Context of the Law

The Oppenheimer Chair and the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism are pleased to welcome Dr. Sonia Cancian, from Zayed University for a seminar on life stories of migrants and refugees and the law. This seminar will lead a discussion on life stories of migrants and refugees and their power (or not) within…

Diversity Statement: Changing our Mindset and Understanding the Complexity of Migration

27 August, 2018

4407-CREPEAU-OEStatement by François Crépeau (former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants) in response to Ayelet Shachar‘s opening question at the Second Annual Goethe-Göttingen Critical Exchange Roundtable Discussion. Shahar’s opening question was: “What in your opinion, are the biggest challenges we currently face in the context of migration? How are legal institutions and other social actors – local, national, regional, transnational, or international – helping to understand and address them?”

The roundtable was chaired and moderated by Prof. Ayelet Shachar and the event was co-organized with Prof. Rainer Forst of the Normative Orders Cluster of Excellence at Goethe University Frankfurt/Main.

1. Changing our mindset: overcoming stereotypes

The biggest challenge is to change our mindset regarding migration, to change how we represent migrants.

Our most common assumptions regarding migration are too often based on stereotypes, myths and fantasies regarding the “radical difference” of the migrants.

This is most visible when we talk about “our people” migrating:  we call them “expats” or “tourists” or “executives” or “retirees”. We very rarely describe mobile people from the Global North – or even the elite 1% of the Global South – as “migrants”.

Fear of the “mobile other” seems a common thread of all settled societies throughout history, including the invention of the despised “asylum seeker” around 1982, in order to distinguish them from the good refugees who waited patiently in camps to be picked and chosen, or not.

Because of this fear, we need to remember the former kinds of migrants when we speak about migrants in a precarious situation: asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and temporary migrant workers.

Migration is in our DNA. It is a normal human behaviour. We are almost all migrants or immediate descendants of migrants. Settlement is often only generational.

To access the statement, please click here.

Five myths about the refugee crisis

The cameras have gone – but the suffering endures. Daniel Trilling deconstructs the beliefs that still shape policy and public opinion
5 June, 2018

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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.

To read the full article, please click here.

 

Our World’s Refugees

Interview with Professor François Crépeau in ThoughtEconomics
14 April, 2018
François Crépeau: Migration is the result of push and pull factors. We as a species always go from a place of trouble or lack of resources, to a place with less trouble and more resources. It is what we have always done, how we have prospered on this planet. We often talk about push factors such as violence and poverty, but the biggest reason for migration is jobs. People think about migration for work as being from the ‘poor South’ to the ‘rich North’, but we all migrate, we travel, and we do so not because of poverty, deprivation or violence. We all migrate. We talk about migrants as if migration from the North  does not exist, and that’s only true because, in the North, migrants do not like to be called “migrants”: they prefer to be called expats, students or retirees. We talk often about push factors, but the major pull factor, jobs, is rarely talk about. People move to where they can establish themselves, create economic and social conditions conducive to having a family, and creating a future for one’s children. This is what we all want.

 

To access the full article, please click here

 

International Francqui Professor Inaugural Lecture – Pr. François Crépeau

Mobility and Migration Diversity: New Horizons for Human Rights
23 February, 2018

Professor François Crépeau delivering the Inaugural Lecture as Francqui International Professor on February 08, 2018.

François Crépeau will be at the Université Catholique de Louvain from January to June 2018 as part of the Chair Francqui International Professor for Human Sciences, organised in collaboration with seven universities (UCLouvain, KULeuven, UAntwerpen, UGent, ULiège, USt-Louis Brussels, ULBrussels). He will be staying at the Centre Charles De Visscher pour le droit international et européen (CeDIE) within the Équipe droits européens et migrations (EDEM).

To access the lecture, please click here

  Al Awda refugee camp, managed by URDA, Bar Elias, Bekaa, Lebanon (Source: Kikano, 2017)

On Spaces and Rights: Refugee Hosting and Settlement Policies in Lebanon and Turkey

Event: March 16, 2018; New Chancellor Day Hall room 202, McGill Faculty of Law; 12:00-14:00
16 February, 2018

Refugee populations are often perceived as an unexpected, disruptive, and temporary burden. This perception often drives countries of asylum to adopt short-term and exclusionary policies regarding refugees’ rights and settlements strategies.  Almost 85% of the world’s refugees are in the Middle East & North Africa. This region has witnessed during the last few decades two of the most significant refugee crises. First, with the Palestinian refugee influx in 1948. Second, with the Syrian conflict after 2011. While in Turkey, the Syrian refugee population is estimated to be of nearly 3.5 million, Lebanon is hosting almost 500,000 Palestinians and 1.5 million Syrians. This presentation compares refugee hosting and settlements policies in Turkey and in Lebanon. It seeks to demonstrate that in Lebanon, the same policies, those adopted 70 years ago vis-à-vis the Palestinians, are being implemented today with Syrian refugees. These policies are based on institutional, social, economic and spatial exclusion. Seeking to dissuade refugees from staying, they engender similar drawbacks: competition over housing and jobs, refugee exploitation, increasing poverty, growing social tensions, security breaches, and (sometimes armed) ghettoization. The Lebanese experience will be then compared with the Turkish hosting policies for Syrian refugees, with an emphasis on the Turkey-EU deal. This panel highlights the importance of long-term planning and development strategies for refugees. It examines the benefits of integrative approaches and refugee empowerment for both refugee and host populations.

 

Short Biographies

Rouba Al-Salem is a Steinberg Fellow in International Migration Law and Policy at the Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, Faculty of Law, McGill University.

Faten Kikano is a researcher and a PhD candidate in the faculty of built environment at Université de Montréal.

Semuhi Sinanoğlu is a policy consultant from Turkey and a resident fellow at Jeanne Sauvé Foundation.

This event will be moderated by Associate Professor Nandini Ramanujam, the Executive Director and Director of Programs of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism