Event details
Event Start Date: 09/08/2017
Event End Date: 09/08/2017
Time: 5.30pm-7pm

Location: Allens Linklaters, Level 28, Deutsche Bank Place, 126 Phillip Street (Corner Hunter & Phillip Streets), Sydney

Out of Syria, Searching for Safety: Creative approaches to refugee protection

Around the world, borders are hardening. Foreign aid budgets are shrinking. But on the ground, innovative humanitarians are finding practical ways to help protect refugees and others caught up in conflict.

In Syria, shattered by six years of conflict, fighting persists and peace talks drag on inconclusively. More than 6 million people are displaced within Syria, and more than 5 million have fled to other countries, mostly in the Middle East. Only about 10 per cent have gone to Europe.

Protection, in this context, requires legal solutions as well as practical assistance. It includes the need for food and water, healthcare, livelihood opportunities, shelter, and education for the children, who make up more than half of the displaced Syrians.

In this panel discussion, three experts will provide their insights into what is working and what is needed – in host countries in the Middle East, Europe and Australia.

  • Discover how UNHCR Lebanon representative Mireille Girard is working to protect and assist Syrian refugees in the immediate region;
  • Hear how Italy’s church-led Humanitarian Corridors from Syria provide safer pathways to protection, from the Kaldor Centre’s Dr Claire Higgins; and 
  • Get a first-hand account from Omar Al Kassab, a Syrian refugee, activist and humanitarian campaigner.

The discussion will be chaired by Professor Guy S Goodwin-Gill, Acting Director of the Kaldor Centre.

Hosted by the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and UNHCR.

Register now



About the speakers:

 Mireille Girard has served as Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon since July 2015. Prior to taking up her assignment in Lebanon, she served as Representative for UNHCR in Thailand and South Sudan. Mireille’s career in UNHCR spans over 22 years and includes a range of functions both at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva and in country operations on the Asian, African, European and Middle Eastern continents. Mireille specialises in international protection and emergency humanitarian responses. She graduated in Public International Law, Political Sciences, and Asian Studies. She speaks French, English, Chinese and Spanish.

Dr Claire Higgins is a Senior Research Associate at the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. She has just returned from Italy where she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute, researching Italy’s innovative Humanitarian Corridors program which provides safe pathways for Syrian asylum seekers to claim protection in Italy. Claire previously completed her doctorate in history at the University of Oxford on the development of Australian refugee policy. At the Kaldor Centre, her research focuses on in-country processing and refugee status determination in historical context In 2018, as a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar, she will undertake comparative research in the US on the capacity of in-country processing to provide safe and orderly access to humanitarian resettlement. In addition to her DPhil from Oxford, Claire holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Master of Arts from the University of Melbourne.

Omar Al Kassab is a young Syrian activist and humanitarian campaigner who was active in protests for freedom and democracy in Syria in the early stages of the Arab Spring. During that time, he was shot, arrested and tortured. In 2013, he fled Syria via Lebanon to Egypt, before moving to Australia in mid-2014. In Australia, Omar is currently studying toward a Bachelor of Business degree at RMIT. He has become a youth leader in the community, giving talks across Australia inspiring thousands of people to be resilient, never give up and believe in peace. He is a Messenger of Peace award recipient for the Asia Pacific awarded by His Majesty the King of Sweden and was a semi-finalist for the Victorian Young Achiever Award 2017.

The Kaldor Centre plays a vital role in developing legal, sustainable and humane solutions for displaced people around the world.