The right to seek and enjoy asylum?

As part of the migration and protection context programme, ICAR contributed to the organisation of an international conference examining the current state of off-shore processing plans and policy. Below is an outline of the conference, papers from which were published in the International Journal of Refugee Law .

The conference, The right to seek and enjoy asylum? The Pacific, Mediterranean and Caribbean plans compared, comprised a series of workshops in Prato, Italy on 26th and 27th September, 2005. The conference was organised by:

  • Dr Susan Kneebone, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Monash University, Australia.
  • Dr Chris McDowell, Director, Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees, City University, London.
  • Ms Erika Feller, Director of International Protection, UNHCR, Geneva.

The conference was funded by a grant received from the Institute for the Study of Global Movements, Monash University, Australia.

Project summary

The purpose of this project is to examine past and current plans, as well as possible future directions, for the 'off-shore' processing of asylum seekers in the Pacific, Mediterranean and Caribbean regions with a view to determining whether they provide 'Effective Protection' and 'Durable Solutions' for asylum seekers and refugees. It will examine and evaluate current European proposals to emulate Australia's Pacific Plan, against the protection needs of asylum seekers and the need for durable solutions for refugees.

The conference was organised as a series of workshops to address these issues. The conference began with the presentation of some introductory papers providing an overview of trends on forced migration movements and a summary of the policies that have been proposed in response to current trends. The overview papers will be followed by a series of region specific papers which will evaluate the plans or proposed plans in the light of the following issues:

  • Interdiction and non-entrée practices - policies and legality; legal and policy responses to asylum seekers
  • Processing and management: compliance with human rights standards; access to the legal system in destination; tendency to detain? Impacts of this on sovereignty and responsibility of states.
  • Outcomes and protection needs: Resettlement status, social and economic rights, forms of protection
  • Outcomes and solutions: burden sharing or responsibility shifting?


Last Updated: 25/02/09


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