April 03, 2018

Migration and displacement, focus of ABA Rule of Law conference, April 17 in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2018 — Leading practitioners from across the world will discuss new, comprehensive, and long-term solutions for the global migration and displacement crisis during the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI) 2018 Conference on Contemporary Rule of Law Issues, “When People Flee: Rule of Law and Force Migration.” The conference will be held April 17 in Washington, D.C.

“Across the globe, a record 65 million people are on the move, fleeing atrocities, conflict, and deprivation. We can no longer pretend that a problem of this magnitude can be addressed solely as a short-term humanitarian crisis,” said ABA President Hilarie Bass. “The international community needs to embrace a rule of law approach to the migration crisis, an approach that addresses the rule of law problems that both drive displacement of refugees and confound sustainable solutions for those forced from their homes.”

2018 Conference on Contemporary Rule of Law Issues —
“When People Flee: Rule of Law and Force Migration”

Sponsored by the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and ABA Commission on Immigratio
in collaboration with The George Washington University Elliott School of
International Affairs

April 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET

The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, 7th floor
Washington, D.C.

The program will include two keynote speakers:

·        Anne C. Richard, Georgetown University Institute for International Migration, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, will be the opening keynote speaker.

·        Louise Arbour, United Nations special representative for International Migration, will be the afternoon keynote speaker.

Other program highlights include:

“Fleeing Fragility: African Migrants and the Evasive Dream of Something Better” — Protracted and cyclical conflicts; extremist, political, and communal violence; and deep-seated crises such as corruption and lack of government accountability continue to cause large-scale forced displacement in sub-Saharan Africa. This panel will discuss the causes of displacement in the region and long-term solutions to address it. Panelists: Courtney Blake, United State Agency for International Development, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance; Manal Taha, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding Consultant; and (ESIA); Ky Luu, Institute for Disaster and Fragility Resilience, The George Washington University; and moderator Sebastian Albuja, ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI);

10-11:15 a.m.

“Along the Deadliest Route: Can the Rule of Law Save Migrant Lives Transiting through Libya?” — Following the 2011 revolution, Libya has become one of the emblems of the global refugee and migration crisis. Fleeing from countries across the continent, refugees and migrants transiting through Libya face the most dangerous and lethal route in the world. As European countries shut their borders and Libya attempts to restore its basic government structures, this panel will discuss what role do lawyers and international development professionals play in promoting good governance and preserving human rights and freedom for refugees and migrants in Libya? What rule of law solutions are needed to protect the most vulnerable, including migrant and refugee women who face persistent racial and gender-based discrimination? Panelists: David Wood, Migration Consultant, the UN Development Programme, Azza Maghur, Perim Associates; Izza Leghtas, Refugees International; Brian Kelly, International Organization for Migration; and moderator, Omar Badawi, International Section, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

11:30 a.m.- 12:45 p.m.

“From the Pan to the Fire: Facing the Dangers of Organized Crime Through Mexico” — Violence in Mexico, including the drug cartels, the war on drugs, and the militarization of certain areas of the country, has increased the peril not only to Mexican citizens but also migrants from the Northern Triangle. This panel will discuss why Mexican authorities been unable to improve protections for migrants or investigate crimes against them? How might the regional response be strengthened from a rule of law perspective? What reforms can be adopted to mitigate or prevent abuses of women migrants and unaccompanied minors? How might civil society contribute to developing a more comprehensive approach? Panelists: Maureen Meyer, Washington Office on Latin America; Kirsty MacDonald, International Committee of the Red Cross; Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, Deputy Executive Secretary, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; and Victor Marquez, moderator, Board Member, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

“Crossing the Mediterranean: Europe’s Mixed Migration Challenge” — Mediterranean routes to Italy and Greece remain the primary entry points to Europe for sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees. The strain on human and financial resources for these gateway countries highlights the need for a comprehensive strategy for addressing the global migrant crisis. Even after admission, arrivals encounter squalid living conditions, neglect from authorities, and a lack of access to public services, basic health care, and shelter. Panelists will address how are host communities responding to the challenges? What regional policies will promote productive and rights-respecting responses? Panelists: Christopher Hein, Italian Refugee Council; and Pia Oberoi, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

1:30- 2:45 p.m.

The conference agenda can be found online. To register, visit ROLI-conference-registration.

This event is free for members of the press, and breakfast and lunch will be provided. A networking reception will immediately follow the conference on the seventh floor of the Elliott School. For media credentialing and more information, please contact Theresa M.T. Melton at 202-662-1516 or Theresa.Melton@americanbar.org.

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