Skip to main content

About Us

Although there is an increase in the number of refugees worldwide, the number of asylum seekers in the 50 most industrialized countries over the last five years has declined. The sensitivity and complexity of the legal issues that judges, particularly appeal court judges, have to address appears to have increased. Judges, irrespective of their jurisdiction, are now faced with a broad range of difficult and problematic issues in asylum law.

For instance, security considerations have reached unprecedented levels since 9/11 and have had an impact on the application of the Exclusion Clauses under Article 1F of the 1951 Convention. Moreover, developments in international law have highlighted the relationship between those determined excluded under Article 1F and the obligation of states and/or the international community to prosecute persons who have committed international crimes. A number of jurisdictions have consolidated Convention refugee status with subsidiary forms of protection. This has raised a number of questions and concerns regarding overlapping and competing forms of international protection, evidentiary burdens, and the standards of proof for those fearing serious human rights violations. Serious violations of economic, social and cultural rights have increasingly formed the bases for those seeking international protection. These claims have raised legal issues regarding what, if any, infringement on a person’s right to health services, education, to practice their profession or to earn a livelihood, or to live in a reasonably safe environment, may form the basis of a claim to international protection.

This is the impetus behind bringing together a number of distinguished high court judges and leading academics in the field from around the world, as well as senior government officials and other interested parties, to consider a number of critical issues in international refugee law.

The goal of the Research Workshop will be not only to explore and clarify, from a variety of perspectives, a number of critical issues in international refugee law but also to identify key points or areas of international refugee law that require further development and research.

The workshop will be held at York University, Toronto, Canada, on Thursday, May 1st, and Friday, May 2nd, 2008.