You are kindly invited to an 'Axis of Protection: Human Rights in International Law' Seminar at the University of Reading. The seminar series, inaugurated in 2013, provides an opportunity for scholars to engage in discussion of contemporary and challenging issues concerning the protection of human rights in international law (with emphasis on human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law).

This year, the series has received a grant from the Society of Legal Scholars Small Projects and Events Fund.

The first seminar for 2016 will be from Professor Hélène Lambert, who will discuss 'Arbitrary deprivation of nationality and refugee status'.

The 1951 Convention/1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees provides opportunities for stateless persons to be recognised as refugees. The causes of statelessness are manifold; these can be linked to the dissolution and separation of States and transfer of territory between States, to technical causes through the operation of citizenship laws or administrative practices, or to discrimination and arbitrary deprivation of nationality.

In this last case, discrimination is often both a cause of statelessness (eg, the arbitrary deprivation of nationality) and an effect of statelessness on the person (eg, the denial of human rights through discriminatory acts). A clear understanding of how persecution relates to discriminatory treatment in the context of the right to a nationality is therefore key to a proper interpretation of the Refugee Convention definition.

This presentation will examine whether arbitrary deprivation of nationality, either on its own or when taken with other forms of harm, amounts to persecution for the purpose of Article 1A(2) of the Refugee Convention. This is an important question, because whilst significant advances have been made in the development of protection mechanisms for stateless persons (through determination procedures), the majority of States are neither parties to the 1954 Convention Status of Stateless Persons nor the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Accordingly, refugee and/or complementary protection are often the only options.

The event is free to attend, but space is limited.