UCT hosted an expert roundtable on the International Protection of Persons Fleeing Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence on 13 and 14 September.
This special two-day meeting was convened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and hosted by UCT's Refugee Rights Unit. It was part of a broader project aimed at developing guidelines on international protection, which complement the UNHCR's Handbook on Criteria and Procedures for Determining Refugee Status.
It also sought to clarify the interpretation and application of international and regional refugee law instruments to people fleeing armed conflict and other situations of violence across international borders.
The purpose of the roundtable was to come up with a set of summary conclusions to direct the future development of the guidelines.
The UCT Refugee Rights Unit was approached to host this prestigious meeting as it has been a legal implementing partner for the UNHCR in South Africa since 1998. It also has first-hand knowledge and experience in assisting persons fleeing armed conflict. The unit consults with approximately 5,000 refugee clients every year, most of them from war-torn Somalia and the conflict-ridden eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Fatima Khan, director of the Refugee Rights Unit, states, "It was a real privilege to share our experiences and knowledge on this topic with top refugee law experts such as Professor Bonaventure Rutinwa from the University of Dar Es Salaam; Dr Hugo Storey of the UK Upper Tribunal Court; Theo Farrell, a professor of war studies at Kings College London, and senior UNHCR officials."
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