30 September 2014
BADIL organized and moderated an Expert Panel on the Syrian Refugee Crisis of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. The panel was attended by leading international humanitarian and refugee law experts who discussed the Syrian refugee crisis.
Professor Susan Akram, from Boston University School of Law presented her report containing her findings on the Syrian refugee crisis and its effects on Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. She presented the legal frameworks in those counties, existing protection gaps and recommendations to deal with the issue. In response to questions from participants in the discussion, she pointed out that Palestinian refugees are also victims of this crisis as they are denied return to Palestine and are experiencing secondary forced displacement from Syria.
Mr. Claude Bruderlin, strategic Advisor to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as Senior Researcher at the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University, spoke about the issue from a humanitarian perspective including a consideration of long-term education, health and livelihood issues.
Mr. George Ghikas, Protection Officer at UNHCR and Parveen Ali, from the Resettlement Service at UNHCR, presented the UNHCR perspective on these issues and their context in the region. In response to a question on Palestine Mr. Ghikas said that the UNHCR was reconsidering the application and interpretation of Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee Convention and that more information would be released soon. He said that the way of managing Palestinian refugees was clearly not working.
BADIL is working on an updated interpretation of Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The new edition of the BADIL’s Handbook will have updated country profiles and various legal rulings, as well as clarifying some of the concepts in the previous edition. BADIL has begun briefing concerned parties on the new edition of the Handbook, such as the International Committee of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA).