HSP Seminar (#259) “Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Between Human Rights and Social Integration – Comparative Studies between the Case of the UK and Japan”(Jul. 23, 2019)

Title Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Between Human Rights and Social Integration – Comparative Studies between the Case of the UK and Japan
Descriptions The Convention Related to the Status of Refugees (1951) and its additional Protocol (1967) defines the term refugee and establishes the core principle of non-refoulement that forbids a country receiving asylum seekers to return them to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom. However, the reality is far from the spirit of this principle of customary international law. Faced with an increase number of people claiming asylum, governments have often reacted in a very defensive way by ignoring their responsibilities towards refugees and asylum seekers and in some case contravening their basic human rights. Stringent border controls, criminalisation, negative stereotypes, arbitrary detentions, removal or limited right to welfare, the lack of adequate legal representation and a complex and long processes of claiming asylum is often the norm. As a consequence, people who already have experienced traumatic events are faced with new traumatic experiences in terms of destitution, racism, poverty that in some cases lead to severe mental health issues.

In this seminar, the speakers will discuss two situations in particular: that of the UK and Japan. Dr. Gigoux will discuss the case of the UK and stresses the need to re-situate the debate on refugees and asylum seekers around the fundamental principle of non-refoulement while adopting a human rights-based approach when demanding governments to develop policies and practices for people requesting protection. In the process the role of non-state actors such as community organisations, faith groups, charities and universities should be regarded as playing a fundamental role in the social integration of refugees and asylum seekers but also in shaping government policies and practices.
Ms. Tsuchida will analyse the situation of Japan from two perspectives: refugee reception policy and the role of ethnic communities in reception of asylum seekers. Since asylum seekers cannot access public services while waiting for their application results, informal support provided by the community is an important factor for their livelihood. Focusing on the receiving community provides important findings, in particular in human security, both for the academia and practitioners.

Date July 23, 2019 (Tue.) 18:00 – 19:30
Venue Collaboration Room 3, Bldg. 18 (Map), Komaba Campus, University of Tokyo
Lecturers Dr. Carlos Gigoux (Deputy Director of the Migration Studies, University of Essex)
Chiaki Tsuchida (Doctoral Student, Graduate Program on Human Security (HSP), University of Tokyo)
Moderator Dr. Ai Kihara-Hunt (Associate Professor, Graduate Program on Human Security (HSP), University of Tokyo)
Language English
Materials Materials will be distributed on the day at the seminar.
Organizer Graduate Program on Human Security (HSP), University of Tokyo
Co-organizers Research Center for Sustainable Peace (RCSP), Institute of Advanced Global Studies (IAGS), University of Tokyo
Centre for Migration Studies, University of Essex
Notes Admission free. No prior registration required.