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Refugee Week 2023: The Erosion of Human Rights Protections for Refugees in the UK, with René Cassin

June 22, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

A graphic designed for 2023's Refugee Week, featuring motifs around the theme of compassionBoth the recent Nationality and Borders Act and the Illegal Migration Bill currently being debated in Parliament contribute to an increasingly difficult situation for asylum-seekers and refugees in the UK.

Refugees seeking safety on our shores after fleeing persecution and violence face:

  • The complete lack of ‘safe and legal routes’ outside bespoke schemes or resettlement programmes
  • The shrinking of human rights obligations and endangering of vulnerable people by outsourcing asylum to third countries
  • The cruel, inhumane, and ineffective practice of immigration detention
  • The ill-conceived conflation of immigration policy with policies on trafficking and slavery

In this joint event, René Cassin and the Wiener Library build on the 2023 Refugee Week’s theme of ‘compassion’ and explore the UK’s attitudes and commitment to refugees over time – from attitudes, policy and practical implementation – and a hopeful and positive change to the current situation.

Our panel will explore:

The past – the legacy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Refugees Convention (1951); The present – the current framework, and how today’s refugees experience it; The future – the hopeful potential of alternative paths and approaches.

About the speakers

Dr Louise London: Louise is author of the leading book, Whitehall and the Jews 1933-1948: British Immigration Policy, Jewish refugees and the Holocaust (Cambridge University Press, 2000). She has published and lectured widely on the history of British policy towards immigrants, Jews and refugees since 1900. Once a practicing lawyer specialising in immigration cases, she is currently writing an article on 20th century legal restrictions on the rights of aliens.

Enver Solomon: Enver is Chief Executive Officer at Refugee Council. Before joining the Refugee Council, he held senior management posts at the National Children’s Bureau, the Children’s Society and Barnardos. He has also sat on advisory boards at the Department for Education, HM Inspector of Prisons and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. His Chairmanship roles have included the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, End Child Poverty Campaign and the trustee board of Asylum Aid.

Zofia Duszynska: Zofia is a Director in the Immigration department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. She supervises a team of solicitors and caseworkers and specialise in asylum, human rights and public law work, representing victims of torture, human trafficking and gender-based persecution as well as those excluded from the protection of the Refugee Convention.

Dr Toby Simpson and Mia Hasenson-Gross (Moderators): Toby is Director of the Wiener Holocaust Library and Mia is René Cassin’s Executive Director.

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