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Podcast and Report: "Protecting Syrian Refugees: Laws, Policies and Global Responsibility-Sharing"

News

August 11, 2014

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Harvard–Belfer on Syria; Middle East Initiative

 

An audio recording and report from Susan Akram, Director, International Human Rights Clinical Program, Boston University School of Law. Professor Akram presented her research on the legal issues that are creating barriers to relief and protection for refugees fleeing Syria at MEI on April 7, 2014. Along with Boston University graduate students Aaron Lang, Sarah Bidinger and Danielle Hites, Professor Akram recently published the full report of the research project, which is available to download here.

The July 2014 research report is available to download at the bottom of this page.

Listen to the audio recording from the April 7, 2014 event here:

About the Research:

The International Human Rights Clinical Program at the Boston University School of Law has completed a two-year research project focusing on the legal issues and problems that are creating barriers to relief and protection for refugees fleeing Syria. The report focuses on the international and regional legal instruments that govern the rights of and obligations towards this refugee flow in the most-affected states: Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. The report addresses weaknesses in the existing legal framework within and among the states in which most of the Syrian refugees are seeking refuge, but is oriented towards wider responsibility sharing of the refugee flow. The BU clinic team will launch its findings at this event and make recommendations addressing the host states in the Middle East; the U.S.; Europe and the United Nations agencies involved based on the shared legal obligations towards the refugees. Moving away from the existing "containment" paradigm of the Western states towards the refugees from Syria, this report highlights legally-required burden sharing and mutual obligations of the host and third states towards refugees from Syria, including Palestinians and other non-Syrian nationals caught up in the crisis.

About Susan Akram:

Susan Akram is Clinical Professor at Boston University School of Law and directs the School's International Human Rights Clinical Program. She has been on the faculty at BU law school since 1993, supervising in the Civil Litigation Program, then in the Asylum and Human Rights clinic, and teaching immigration law, international human rights law, refugee law and pre-trial and trial advocacy. She specializes in refugee and forced migration issues, particularly refugees in the Middle East, and has taught at Al-Quds university law school in East Jerusalem, at the American University in Cairo, and at Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre. The Boston University Law School Human Rights Clinical program engages in international human rights litigation and advocacy in both domestic and international fora, including US courts, the UN human rights mechanisms, and regional human rights mechanisms. The clinic's projects include issues involving human rights in Tibet, Palestine, Haiti and Western Sahara.

About Aaron Lang:

Aaron Lang is currently a second year J.D. student at Boston University School of Law. He began working with the Boston University International Human Rights Clinic in September 2013. Over the past year, Aaron has developed a keen interest in international refugee and asylum law as it pertains to Middle Eastern refugees. With the Clinic, he travelled to Cairo, Egypt to conduct research. Apart from the Clinic’s Syrian refugee project, Aaron has participated in the drafting of an international legal handbook, which maps the implementation of Article 1D of the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention in over 35 countries. Aaron has lived and studied in Spain, is a fluent Spanish-speaker, and coordinated the research on Latin America for the 1D Handbook. Beyond his work with the clinic and his J.D. studies, Aaron is a rock climber. He makes a point of doing at least one big climb in New Hampshire per year despite the rigors of law school.

About Sarah Bidinger:

Sarah Bidinger is a second year student at Boston University School of Law, and a member of the International Human Rights Clinic supervised by Professor Akram. She received her B.A. from Providence College in 2009, and taught high school English in the Arkansas Delta through the Teach for America program prior to pursuing a legal career. In the Clinic, Sarah worked on the Handbook on Palestinian claims under 1D. She traveled to Turkey for the research and fieldwork on the Turkish section of the report on Syrian refugees, and has been coordinating the overall drafting of the final report on the Syria project. This summer she will be working on domestic human rights issues through an internship at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Jackson, Mississippi.

About Danielle Hites:

Danielle Hites is currently a second year J.D. student at Boston University School of Law. She began working with the Boston University International Human Rights Clinic in September 2013. Danielle developed an interest in Middle East and North Africa within the legal context during her internship with the Coalition for the International Criminal Court in Morocco. With the Clinic, she travelled to Amman, Jordan to conduct research. Apart from the Clinic’s Syrian refugee project, Danielle has participated in the drafting of an international legal handbook for lawyers representing Palestinian refugees in their asylum claims, which maps the implementation of Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee Convention. She also assisted in drafting an amicus brief for a Palestinian asylum case in Sweden. Danielle will be doing a legal internship this summer with the Lawyers for Human Rights in South Africa, which is one of the foremost legal organizations representing refugees in the S. African courts, and has litigated several of the important cases decided by the supreme court of S. Africa.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE:

 

For more information about this publication please contact the Middle East Initiative at (617) 495-4087.

For Academic Citation:

"Podcast and Report: "Protecting Syrian Refugees: Laws, Policies and Global Responsibility-Sharing." News, Harvard University, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, August 11, 2014.

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