Experts from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East will explore the emerging challenges in refugee protection from a regional perspective. What issues are distinctive yet easily overlooked or misunderstood? What concerns are common and could give rise to shared solutions? Can what works in Berlin cut it in Bangkok? What can we learn from each other?
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About the speakers
Maria Bances del Rey is Senior Protection Coordinator in the UNHCR Regional Bureau for the Americas, based in Panama. A law graduate from the Complutense University of Madrid (Special Promotion), she holds a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree from the University of Durham in International Law, Human Rights and Refugee Law. Since joining UNHCR in 2000, she has served in the Central African Republic, the former Yugoslavia, Geneva, Washington, Cairo and Costa Rica, before joining the Regional Bureau in Panama. Before joining UNHCR, she worked with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Kosovo, the UN Development Program Office in Syria, and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
Cathryn Costello is a Professor of Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School in Berlin and Co-Director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights. She is an expert in European and international refugee and migration law, and has written about EU asylum and migration law, international refugee law, and the relationship between migration and labour law. She is also part-time Professor II at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo, and is on leave from her previous post as Professor of Refugee and Migration Law at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. She is currently the Principal Investigator of RefMig, a five-year ERC-funded research project exploring refugee mobility, recognition and rights. She has also done studies for UNHCR, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. With Jane McAdam and Michelle Foster, she is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law (forthcoming OUP 2021).
Oroub El-Abed is a senior researcher and co-investigator with the Centre for Lebanese Studies, leading a project on the education and employment trajectories of refugees and locals in Jordan and Lebanon in the midst of protracted displacement. Until recently, she was a British Academy-sponsored post-doctoral fellow conducting research on cultural development amongst marginalised communities in the South. She completed her PhD in the Political Economy of Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her research has focused on refugees and vulnerable minorities in the Middle East. She has taught courses on development, livelihoods and forced migration at the American University in Cairo, SOAS, Birzeit University and Jordan University, and has taught for Study Abroad programmes in Amman. She has consulted for several UN organisations and international NGOs and published articles in the area of development (education and employment) and forced migration in the Middle East. She is the author of Unprotected: Palestinians in Egypt since 1948 (2009).
Ottilia Anna Maunganidze is head of special projects in the office of the Executive Director at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). She joined the ISS in 2009 and has worked on African security analysis, conflict prevention, international crime, terrorism and transnational issues, including migration and forced displacement. Before joining the ISS, she was a junior legal advisor and human rights education officer. She explores new areas of work for the ISS and helps to inform institutional strategy. Her areas of interest are international criminal justice, international human rights law, and migration trends and policy. She has a Master of Laws degree (LLM) in fundamental rights litigation and international human rights law from the University of South Africa, Post-Graduate Certificate in IHL and ICL from the University of Pretoria, Post-Graduate Diploma in International Studies (Peace, Conflict & Gender) from Rhodes University and a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from Rhodes University.
Vitit Muntarbhorn KBE is a Professor Emeritus at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Law teaching international law, migration and refugee law and child rights. He was educated at Oxford and Brussels and has previously practised as a barrister of the Middle Temple in London. He has worked for the United Nations and UNESCO in various roles since 1990, including as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from 2004 to 2010 and as one the commissioners of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria from 2012 to 2016. He is currently a member of the UN Secretary General's Civil Society Advisory Board on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (concerning UN personnel) and a member of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations for the International Labour Organization. He was awarded the UNESCO Human Rights Education Prize in 2004 and was bestowed a KBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2018. He has also published widely in the areas of human rights law, child rights and refugee law in Asia.
Panel Chair, Madeline Gleeson, is a lawyer and Senior Research Associate at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney, where she directs the Offshore Processing and Regional Protection projects. She specialises in international human rights and refugee law, with a focus on the law of State responsibility, extraterritorial human rights obligations, offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island, and refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific region. She has extensive experience working with forcibly displaced people around the world. She has conducted research on asylum seekers and refugees, statelessness, human trafficking, labour migration and land grabbing with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Cambodia, and worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) in Geneva, Switzerland. She also has human rights experience in South Africa and Indonesia, and previously practised as a solicitor in Australia.