Clearing 2021
Event

70 Years Protecting People Forced to Flee - Opening and Closing Ceremonies

GAIN Secretariat and UNHCR

  • Mon 18 - Thu 28 Jan 21

    07:00

  • Online

    Zoom

  • Event type

    Conferences

  • Event organiser

    Human Rights Centre

  • Contact details

    Claire Simmons

Please join us for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Global Conference: 70 Years of Protecting People Forced to Flee. 


This conference is being held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The conference is a partnership between UNHCR and the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network (GAIN), established under the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees. 

These sessions are organised by the Secretariat of the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network (GAIN) at the University of Essex, and UNHCR. 

Following the virtual conference in January co-hosted by UNHCR, the GAIN Secretariat with 11 research institutes and universities across the world, we are pleased to publish the final report (pdf) 8 July 2021.

About this event: 

In 2020, UNHCR celebrated 70 years of providing international protection to refugees and of assisting governments in seeking permanent solutions for those forcibly displaced. The 1950 Statute saw the refugee phenomenon as an aberration that would be resolved in a reasonably short period. However, 70 years later there are now over 70.8 million persons of concern to UNHCR, 85 per cent of whom are hosted in low- or middle-income countries.

UNHCR’s mandate has expanded and includes refugees, asylum-seekers, persons internally displaced and stateless persons. Furthermore, the ‘good offices’ of the High Commissioner are often sought vis-à-vis persons who would not otherwise qualify for protection. The challenging environment of refugee protection as UNHCR enters its eighth decade has taken on yet another dimension with the affirmation in 2018 of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which, while not legally binding, it is based on a strong commitment by States to enhance refugee protection and inclusion alongside fairer and more predictable burden- and responsibility-sharing

The opening ceremony will serve as a global introduction to the two days of regional panels commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Hosts will welcome participants, provide an overview of the agenda and key themes to be discussed during the conference. This session will open a global conversation where participants will be able to initiate discussions and submit questions relating to upcoming regional sessions.

The ceremony will take place at two different times to allow for different time zones, with different discussion panels for each session. The two discussion panels will address what protection and solutions for the forcibly displaced mean today from an international perspective.

You can find out more about the global conference, including links to all the regional events, on the GCR webpage.


 

70 Years Protecting People Forced to Flee - Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Opening Ceremony - Monday 18 January 2021


Welcome and Discussion Panel 1 

What does protection for the forcibly displaced mean today?
07:00-08:00 GMT (08:00-09:00 CET)

Welcome remarks
  • Gillian Triggs, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR
  • Geoff Gilbert, Chair of GAIN, University of Essex

Moderator: Geoff Gilbert, Chair of GAIN, University of Essex
  • Helen Durham, Director of International Law and Policy, International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent
  • Rez Gardi, Harvard Satter Human Rights Fellow & Co-Founder of the Center for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies
  • Anh Thu Duong, Senior Policy Advisor, Geneva Cities Hub 

Welcome and Discussion Panel 2 

What does “seeking permanent solutions’’ mean today?
15:00-16:00 GMT (16:00-17:00 CET)

Welcome remarks

  • Gillian Triggs, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR
  • Geoff Gilbert, Chair of GAIN, University of Essex

Moderator: Geoff Gilbert, Chair of GAIN, University of Essex

  • Agnes Vadai MP, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union International Humanitarian Law Committee
  • Beth Ferris, UN Expert Advisory Group, High Level Panel on Internal Displacement
  • Hala Haj Taleb, Student Leader, Tertiary Refugee Student Network

Closing Plenaries- Wednesday 27 January 2021


Closing Plenary: Research Priorities in International Protection

07:00-09:00 GMT (08:00-09:00 CET)
Reflecting the rich discourse from the conference, this session will focus on potential research themes that will help advance international understanding on protection in this eighth decade of the international refugee regime.  Discussants will particularly focus on recommendations made by conference panellists linked to the GCR Guiding Principles, Objectives, and paragraphs on prevention and addressing root causes, including the UN’s women, peace and security agenda.  Questions from the audience will be integrated into the hour’s discussion; emerging scholars are particularly encouraged to participate.

Closing Plenary: Research Priorities on Burden and Responsibility Sharing  
15:00-16:00 GMT (16:00-17:00 CET)
The scale and nature of forced displacement today requires comprehensive action in a predictable manner, most especially for large-scale movements.  Reflecting the rich discussion on comprehensive action in the conference, this session will focus on potential research themes that will help advance international understand of the GCR objectives: “(i) ease pressures on host countries; (ii) enhance refugee self-reliance; (iii) expand access to third country solutions; and (iv) support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.   Where relevant, connections will also be made between the themes and on-going practitioner initiatives by stakeholders from the 2019 Global Refugee Forum. Questions from the audience will be integrated into the hour’s discussion; emerging scholars are particularly encouraged to participate.