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Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

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This 2-day conference brings together an extraordinary range of leading experts to reflect on this emerging international legal/policy challenge. Alongside confirmed papers from many high-profile academic researchers, the event will bring together policy-makers from over a dozen countries.

The ' Undesirable and Unreturnable?' conference provides a forum to discuss how States respond to the issue of excluded asylum seekers and other migrants who are suspected of serious criminality but cannot be removed from a host state. This ‘unremovability’ may be due to practical obstacles such as the lack of means to send the person to their country of origin, or legal impediments such as where human rights standards prevent removal (attempts to extradite alleged Rwandan genocidaires and the long-running saga over the removal of Abu Qatada from the UK are cases in point). Although they are relatively few in number, these cases attract a large amount of public interest. Yet the range of measures adopted by different countries suggests that States do not know how to respond effectively to this issue.

The conference provides a forum to address the following key questions:
- What are the scale and key characteristics of the problem of ‘undesirable and unreturnable’ migrants and policy responses adopted in a range of most-affected States?
- How should future policy development in relation to this problem take place? What would a coherent and uniform policy on this topic look like?
- Can law respond to address the ‘legal limbo’ in which such persons find themselves and resolve their situation one way or the other? Are other tools required?
- What are the implications of this situation for the wider legitimacy of refugee law and human rights law? How should these wider contexts inform the search for a solution?
- Do these cases represent the emergence of a ‘fundamental system error’ in international law or merely a practical problem in the application of the law?
- How should humanitarian issues of ‘international protection’ be balanced against international criminal law imperatives to counteract impunity?

The conference is organised by the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI), University of London, jointly with the Centre for International Criminal Justice (CICJ), VU University of Amsterdam. It is generously supported by a research network grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Dr Sarah Singer
Refugee Law Initiative, Human Rights Consortium
School of Advanced Study|University of London | Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, UK
Tel: +44 (0)207 862 8571

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