Legal Aid Beyond the Refugee Convention: Launch of Forced Migration Review special feature on non-signatory states
How do legal aid actors work to improve protection for refugees in states that have not ratified the Refugee Convention?
The Norwegian Refugee Council, Asylum Access Thailand and Justice Centre Hong Kong will share experiences from providing legal aid to refugees in non-signatory countries. Illustration: UiO
In non-signatory states, legal aid actors play a critical role in interpreting the law and finding arguments beyond the Refugee Convention to provide for the protection of refugees. Sometimes such actors have to resort to arguments of fairness, humanitarian consideration and consistency as ‘alternative protection mechanisms’ rather than relying on the law. Non-signatory States, however, are nevertheless bound to respect the human rights of refugees as stated by other international human rights treaties that they have ratified, as well as by those provisions of the Refugee Convention that have become part of customary international law, such as the prohibition against refoulement.
In this roundtable discussion, Mazen Mansour and Yara Hussein from the Norwegian Refugee Council, Naiyana Thanawattho from Asylum Access Thailand and Lynette Nam from Justice Centre Hong Kong will share their experiences from providing legal aid to refugees in non-signatory countries. With examples from Lebanon, Jordan, Thailand and Hong Kong, the organizations will discuss which legal instruments they rely on in absence of the Refugee Convention, how they interact with other actors of the international refugee regime such as UNHCR, and which strategies they use to promote and improve refugee protection in the countries they operate.
The FMR special feature on non-signatory states is a collaboration between Forced Migration Review and the BEYOND project at the University of Oslo. The 9 articles featured in this issue reflect on the status of refugee protection in non-signatory states and the various ways these states engage with the international refugee regime.
The event is organized by the BEYOND project (University of Oslo), the Norwegian Refugee Council, Justice Centre Hong Kong, and Asylum Access Thailand. It is the first of two launch events taking place in September 2021. For details on our second launch event, please visit The International Refugee Regime and Non-signatory States: Launch of Forced Migration Review special feature on non-signatory states.