PANEL III

GOVERNANCE OF INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE PROTECTION: CHALLENGES IN EUROPE AND BEYOND

 
 

Organisers | N. ELA GOKALP ARAS, ZEYNEP SAHIN MENCUTEK, ELECTRA PETRACOU, NADINA LIVADITI.

International refugee protection appears as an important part of migration governance and a large number of asylum seekers and mixed flows in particular in the second half of 2015 and early 2016 have brought to a head the long-standing, underlying tensions in the EU asylum and international protection system.

There is not a straight-forward or exact definition of the term of international refugee protection, however, it constitutes a term upon which legal and political frameworks for the provision of rights for people and their status as asylum seekers and refugees are constructed. In general, international protection is mainly considered as the responsibility of states but in practice, other agents such as for example international, regional and national organizations and NGOs, as well as asylum seekers and refugees often play an important role. Recently, many ask whether the international refugee protection regime has not been relevant anymore, as countries fail to respect the two cornerstones of the international refugee protection regime: the right to seek asylum and the non-refoulement principle. Moreover, the refugee rights introduced in the Refugee Convention (1951) are not respected and/or downgraded by the hosting states while transnational initiatives seem inadequate to meet refugees’ basic needs and to protect them. All these developments deeply challenge core international norms, established standards and humanitarian values about refugee protection and refugees’ access to asylum systems.

This panel aims to discuss historical, theoretical and empirical issues on refugee protection and its internalization, externalization, and regionalization. It will explore the role of norms, values, and regulations which construct the global, European and other regional regimes of protection. It will also discuss the latest developments and difficulties related to the formulation of a common system for asylum policies and gaps in the implementation of protection policies among different states and among different agents. Moreover, it will investigate perceptions, experience, and actions of asylum seekers and refugees about protection as a part of self-reliance and the relevance of resilience theme in the refugee protection.

The panel will explore how the international refugee protection governance may be translated into a functional EU asylum system and sharing of responsibilities among the EU, individual Member States, hosting countries and beyond Europe. In addition, it will elaborate on how international refugee protection policies and practices in the EU and beyond have changed since 2011, with a particular emphasis on case studies on how refugee protection has been shaped, and by whom and how citizens and refugees responded. Concerning actors, we are especially interested in papers addressing the European Commission and the relevant EU agencies, the role of Member State governments as well as hosting and sending countries’ governments, local governments, the relevant intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, and migrants and refugees themselves. The panel is open to all disciplines to support interdisciplinarity in migration studies and is open to all researches that have adopted different research methods. We particularly welcome papers that contribute with a country-specific case study covering the refugee protection related actors including refugees to help us develop a typology of these policies, practices and responses.