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    Archive for the 'Laws' Category

    The international protection of refugees and asylum seekers: New thinking, or no future?

    By Guest Blogger, on 28 February 2016

    pencil-iconWritten by Gaiane Nuridzhanian, PhD candidate, UCL Laws
    refugees_train-610x360

    On 24 February 2016 Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law at the University of Oxford, spoke at UCL about the current migrant crisis and the new approaches to employing the existing framework of international protection of refugees and asylum seekers to overcome it.

    According to Professor Goodwin-Gill, one of the gaps of the current international legal system for refugee and asylum seekers protection lies in the failure to establish a framework based on co-operation and reciprocity. Indeed, such basic instruments as the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees do not contain provisions, which identify a specific state responsible for assisting a refugee or asylum seeker or a third state that should extend its co-operation to the refugee receiving state.

    The system can be improved by refining the existing institutions rather than by revising the treaty base. For instance, revising the UNHCR statute to expressly include stateless and internally displaced persons within its mandate, providing proper funding for the UNHCR, enhancing UN inter-agency co-operation and devising an early-warning system to be managed by the UN bodies.

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    One Country, Two Systems: an unfinished experiment?

    By Thomas Hughes, on 12 February 2016

    In this lecture by the former Dean of Law of the University of Hong Kong, Professor Johannes Chan, we were taken on a whistle-stop tour of the history of the legal and political confrontations between Hong Kong and the mainland government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

    By Pasu Au Yeung via Wikimedia Commons

    Protesters during the Umbrella Movement. By Pasu Au Yeung via Wikimedia Commons

    Most people’s recent images of Hong Kong are dominated by the “Umbrella Movement” of 2014. The mostly student protestors were pushing for the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) in mainland China to allow a free selection of candidates for the Hong Kong Chief Executive and Legislative council.

    This was the culmination of increasing tensions between the two regions as they have spent the 20 years since Hong Kong was returned to China testing the boundaries of their relationship.

    Since the protests, the NPCSC has been looking to exercise greater control over Hong Kong. Publishers and journalists have disappeared and academia has been interfered with. So what has gone wrong in this relationship?

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    Lunch Hour Lectures: International Law and the protection of cultural property in war

    By Thomas Hughes, on 9 February 2016

    Unusually for a Lunch Hour Lecture, Professor Roger O’Keefe (UCL Laws) spoke without the support of slides for nearly an hour about international efforts to protect cultural heritage in war zones – because he believed that images illustrating instances of cultural damage would simply be too depressing.

    By Bernard Gagnon - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12163785

    Monument Arch in Palmyra, Syria. Now destroyed by IS.

    International law

    International law prohibits the damaging of cultural sites during war, and almost all UN member states have signed up to this. These agreements are often criticised however for failing to protect a number of cultural sites from damage or destruction.

    This has particularly been the case in the Syrian civil war, where a number of high profile sites such as crusader castles and ancient temples have been damaged.

    However, as Professor O’Keefe pointed out, few laws are perfect: for example, people still carry out murder despite strong laws against it and serious punishments for this crime. In his view, the law against the damaging of cultural heritage sites, while not perfect, makes important efforts to protect these historical areas.

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    Could this be the way to get your research into the public eye?

    By Guest Blogger, on 15 December 2015

    pencil-icon  Written by Olivia Stevenson & Greg Tinker with Michael Kenny, Catherine Miller & Graeme Reid

    Scientists and researchers from across academia are engaged in research that could make a difference to the world, but until you take it beyond the university doors its impact and reach will remain low.

    Select Committee noticeUCL and the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary, University of London, teamed up to host a public event with parliamentary insiders and evidence experts, exploring how academia could engage the world of government, particularly through select committees.

    The question on everyone’s mind was ‘can this type of academic-government engagement generate real world impacts?’ Here is what our speakers told us:

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