Book Launch: Protecting Civilians in Refugee Camps

Date/Time: 22/05/2014  14:00 - 15:00

Location: Bergen Resource Centre for International Development

Presentation and discussion with author Dr. Maja Janmyr (UiB Faculty of Law) and PhD candidate Jessica Schultz (UiB Faculty of Law).

Rather than serving as civilian and humanitarian safe havens, refugee camps are notorious for their insecurity. Due to the host state’s inability or unwillingness to provide protection, camps are often administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its implementing partners. When a violation occurs in these situations, to which actors shall responsibility be allocated?

Through an analysis of the International Law Commission’s work on international responsibility, Maja Janmyr argues that the ‘primary’ responsibility of states does not exclude the responsibilities of other actors. Using the example of Uganda, Janmyr questions the general assumption that ‘unable and unwilling’ is the same as ‘unable or unwilling’, and argues for the necessity of distinguishing between these two scenarios. Doing so leads to different conclusions in terms of responsibility for the state, and therefore for UNHCR and its implementing partners.

Dr Maja Janmyr is a researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Bergen. Her research addresses issues related to the international laws of responsibility, international human rights, refugee law, and humanitarian law. She has published a book on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ international responsibility in relation to insecurity in refugee camps (Protecting Civilians in Refugee Camps: Unable and Unwilling States, UNHCR and International Responsibility, Brill 2013). Her current work, pursued under the auspices of the RCN-financed project Migration to Norway: Flows and Regulations, focuses on the forced return of failed asylum seekers in the Norwegian context.

Jessica Schultz is a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen Faculty of law working on a thesis in the field of refugee law. Prior to joining the law faculty in 2011 she worked at CMI, Oxfam and UNHCR on the issues related to refugee policy, human rights protection and anti-corruption.

This event is jointly organized by the Faculty of law at the University of Bergenthe Norwegian Center for Humanitarian Studies and Chr. Michelsen Institute.

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