As a member of the research group International Law at Westminster, Professor Hélène Lambert took part in three recent events about the status of refugees.

In March 2017, Professor Hélène Lambert participated in a Global Expert Roundtable on Article 31 of the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees organised by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR and the Refugee Studies Centre at University of Oxford. Lambert was one of four academic experts invited to discuss a research study by Dr Cathryn Costello at University of Oxford, commissioned by the UNHCR on the law and practice of Article 31.

The issue of (non)penalisation of asylum seekers and refugees for their irregular entry and/or presence in the country of asylum is topical in the context of managing refugee flows. States are increasingly focusing on criminalisation and penalisation of irregular entry and stay as a 'tool' to manage the arrival and presence of refugees in their country. The expert roundtable consisted of a small group of academic experts, legal practitioners, policy makers and UNHCR staff members. They discussed contentious issues on the interpretation and application of Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which will feed into the development of guidelines on Article 31.

Professor Lambert also took part in a Scoping Meeting on statelessness in the European refugee context organised jointly by the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and the European Network on Statelessness in London, which took place in February 2017. Lambert was one of three academic experts invited to consider key questions aimed to understand the context and challenges in the current refugee context in Europe (e.g., mixed migration flows, statelessness, and nationality of children) and to consider further research in this area.

Advising on nationality rights of Syria’s displaced persons

Professor Hélène Lambert also participated in a Regional Expert Roundtable on nationality rights of Syria’s displaced persons organised by the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC, and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, ISI (Amman, Jordan, in September 2016). Lambert was the sole academic expert invited to discuss the content and structure of a new toolkit to understand statelessness in the Syria refugee context. The new toolkit, developed by the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, explores the following questions:

  • What factors are complicating access to Syrian nationality and why is this a problem?
  • Which children are most at risk of becoming stateless?
  • What is the situation of refugees from Syria who were already stateless, prior to the conflict, and remain so in exile?
  • How is the regional refugee response addressing these questions?
  • What more could be done to mitigate the impact of statelessness on the refugees from Syria and protect the right of refugee children to Syrian nationality?

The toolkit draws on extensive consultations with humanitarian actors operating in the region, international refugee law and statelessness experts and displaced persons. It offers a collection of information and resources designed to help practitioners in the field to quickly and easily find answers to questions about statelessness in the Syria refugee context. It contains explanatory texts, factsheets, case studies, good practice examples and training videos. The toolkit is relevant both to practitioners working in the region and to those working with Syrian refugees around the world.

Access the toolkit in English. A version of the toolkit in Arabic will follow.

Download the research report Understanding statelessness in the Syria refugee context (PDF).

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