The 2019 Samuel Dash Conference on Human Rights, "Human Rights and Today’s Vulnerable Migrants," featured a day of discussions with leading experts about the human rights of vulnerable migrants.
This Conference included panels on the challenge of seeking asylum in the face of rising populist nationalism, protections and rights of climate change migrants, and strategies for addressing vulnerabilities of non-U.S. Citizen fishermen to forced labor in Hawaii’s longline fishing industry. Professor E. Tendayi Achiume (Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance) presented a keynote address on “Racial Borders.” The 2019 Dash Conference facilitated the dialogue on the importance of legal protections for refugees and vulnerable migrants, and the role that the legal community can play in strengthening those protections in the current political climate.
2019 Conference Program:
10:00 a.m. Welcome Remarks
Andrew Schoenholtz, Director, Human Rights Institute, and Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law
Ashley Binetti Armstrong, Dash/Muse Fellow, Human Rights Institute, Georgetown Law
10:15 a.m. Keynote Address: Racial Borders
William Treanor (Introduction), Dean of Georgetown Law
Tendayi Achiume, Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
11:15 a.m. The Rise of Populist Nationalism and The Politics of Protection
Populist, nationalist governments seek to consolidate their authoritarian power, while promising to safeguard the economic and social interests of their citizens. Part of this political strategy has entailed the scapegoating of asylum seekers. This panel will address the rise of populist nationalism—specifically in the Americas and the European Union—and how this political regime has prevented refugees from accessing protection.
Andrew Schoenholtz (Moderator), Director, Human Rights Institute, and Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law
Maryellen Fullerton, Interim Dean and Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Donald M. Kerwin, Jr., Director, Center for Migration Studies of New York
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Distinguished Transatlantic Fellow, Migration Policy Institute
12:45 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. Climate Change Migrants’ Rights and Protection Needs
A growing number of people around the world are forced to migrate because of the effects of climate change—including the increasing prevalence of natural disasters like floods and tropical storms, severe and prolonged drought, and rising sea level. While the majority of displaced persons relocate within their country, some are forced to flee beyond their country of origin to seek protection. However, these migrants are not recognized as refugees under the 1951 Geneva Convention. This panel will discuss how the international community should address climate change migrants’ protection needs.
Elizabeth Ferris (Moderator), Research Professor, Institute for the Study of International Migration
Guy S. Goodwin Gill, Professor of Law, University of New South Wales (UNSW) & Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law (UNSW)
Kanta Kumari Rigaud, Lead Environmental Specialist and Regional Climate Change Coordinator, Africa Region, World Bank Group
Alice Thomas, Senior Policy Advisor and Program Manager, Climate Displacement, Refugees International
2:45 p.m. Coffee Break
3:00 p.m. The Price of Paradise: Vulnerabilities to Forced Labor in the Hawaiian Longline Fishing Industry
The 2018-2019 Human Rights Institute Fact-Finding Practicum team will present their findings on vulnerabilities to forced labor in Hawaii’s longline fishing industry. During the academic year, the team conducted desk and field research, and interviewed non-U.S. citizen fishermen currently working on longline boats docked in Honolulu, U.S. and foreign government representatives, advocates, and other stakeholders.
Student Research Team
Melysa Sperber, Director of Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United
Ashley Binetti Armstrong, Dash/Muse Fellow, Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute