International Symposium "War Refugees" in International Law held

Update: September 28, 2017

An international symposium, "War Refugees in International Law and the Role of Civil Society" was held on Sept. 23. The symposium was co-hosted by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and the International Christian University Peace Research Institute, and was funded by the Japan ICU Foundation (JICUF).


In the morning session, Judge Hugo Storey of Britain's Upper Tribunal delivered a presentation titled "War Refugees in International Law." Using documents released by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as a starting point, Judge Storey pointed out the possibilities and challenges of protecting war refugees under the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Successively, Judge Martins Mits of the European Court of Human Rights took the stage, providing the latest information and analyses in his presentation "Refugees, Armed Conflicts and the European Convention on Human Rights." He indicated that war refugees can be legally protected in Europe with means other than the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.


The afternoon session began with a presentation entitled "What Can Civil Society Do to Protect Refugees?" by Eri Ishikawa, Chair of the Board of the Japan Association for Refugees. She discussed Japan's present situation on the acceptance of refugees, the responses of civil societies to the refugee crisis in Syria and challenges for the future. In the presentation "What Can Universities Do to Protect War Refugees," JICUF Director of Communications Aki Takada gave detailed explanations about the Syrian Scholars Initiative, a scholarship program ICU has established.


The four presenters later held a panel discussion, joined by Deputy Representative of the UNHCR Japan Toshitsuki Kawauchi. Active questions and answers were exchanged between the members of the audience who packed the floor and the panelists on "What does protection mean?" "What sort of gender consideration is in place?" and "Can civil society involve itself in international law?"

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