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International Law and the Criminalization of the Expression of Solidarity to Refugees and Migrants - Obiora Okafor



Moot Court Room
Old College
South Bridge


Thu 12 September 2019

About the event:
In more recent times, the expression of solidarity to refugees and migrants, including by human rights activists, has been criminalized or otherwise suppressed by all-too-many States, especially in Europe and North America. These measures have been applied to both land and sea, including to arrest and detain the captains and crew of humanitarian vessels that sail the Mediterranean Sea with the goal of rescuing refugees and migrants at risk of drowning in their quest to reach Europe. Certain private organizations have also campaigned against such expressions of solidarity and have even acted to prevent such humanitarian acts on both land and sea. While popular with some, these attempts to criminalize or otherwise suppress the expression of solidarity to refugees and migrants have often been condemned in some quarters as illegal. The goal of the analysis that will be discussed in the talk is to ascertain to what extent, if at all, such measures (dis)allowed under international law? The talk is based on Prof. Okafor’s recent report to the UN Human Rights Council in his capacity as the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and Solidarity.

About the speaker:
Professor Obiora C. Okafor is the York Research Chair in International and Transnational Legal Studies (Senior Tier) and a tenured Full Professor of Law at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto, Canada. He is the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity and a former Chairperson of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. The General Editor of the international journal, the Transnational Human Rights Review, and editorial board member of a number of other academic journals around the world, he has held the Gani Fawehinmi Distinguished Chair in Human Rights Law at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, and served as a Visiting Professor at a number of universities and institutes around the world. He was conferred the Award of Academic Excellence of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers in 2010 and the Gold Medal for Exceptional Research and Major Contributions to Jurisprudence of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2013.   

This event is free and open to all. No registration necessary.