COVID-19’s lasting effects on refugee protection
Virtual, 15 November 2022, 6.30-7.30pm AEDT
How has COVID-19 transformed access to protection, humanitarian assistance and the lives of those already living in precarious situations – for better and for worse? Did temporary border closures, lockdowns, separation from family, and extreme uncertainty for almost everyone create empathy for the refugee experience? Or has it just left us more tolerant of restrictions on liberty?
Executive Director, Migration and Asylum Project
Roshni Shanker is the founder and Executive Director of the Migration and Asylum Project (MAP), India’s first and only dedicated law centre for forced migration and displacement. After completing her law degree, Roshni worked with one of India's leading law firms as a corporate lawyer. She later pursued a Masters from Columbia Law School, NYC, with a focus on international law and human rights. She joined UNHCR in 2010 and worked as a refugee status determination expert in various field offices, including India, Egypt and the UAE. Realising that traditional humanitarian interventions often fail to recognise the centrality of legal assistance to post-displacement recovery, and believing these gaps to be best addressed by grassroots organisations familiar with the local context, Roshni returned to India to set up MAP. MAP pioneered and instiutionalised the concept of legal representation in the asylum process in India and is one of the few organisations globally to have been authorised by UNHCR to represent asylum claims before the agency. Roshni is a visiting faculty member at the National Law School of India University (Bengaluru) where she teaches International Refugee Law. She has published in the Forced Migration Review, Refugee Law Initiative, and International Journal of Refugee Law, amongst others.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection
Gillian Triggs is Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at UNHCR, taking up her appointment in September 2019. She is a public international lawyer who has held a number of appointments in service to human rights and the refugee cause, including as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. She oversees UNHCR’s protection work in support of millions of refugees, asylum-seekers, those who have been forcibly displaced within their own country and stateless. A dual national of Britain and Australia, she has held a number of leadership roles, including as Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London, President of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal, Chair of the UN Independent Expert Panel of Inquiry into Abuse of Office and Harassment in UNAIDS, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor (Emerita) of International Law at the University of Sydney, and Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne. She has supported many not-for-profit groups, including most recently as Chair of Justice Connect, which connects 10,000 lawyers to provide pro bono advice to asylum-seekers and others needing legal support. She is also the author of many books and papers on international law, including International Law: Contemporary Principles and Practice (2nd ed, LexisNexis, 2011) and Speaking Up (Melbourne University Press, 2018). In July 2021, she was awarded a Ruth Bader Ginsberg Inaugural Medal of Honour in recognition of her fight for the rule of law and gender equality.
Executive Director, Action pour le Progrés
Pascal Zigashane is the Executive Director at Action Pour le Progrés, a refugee-led initiative in Kakuma Refugee Camp where he empowers youth in transformative learning. He has been directing the organization since its establishment in 2020. He works as IT Assistant at Jesuit Refugee Service and is the lead coordinator of the Amala education program in Kenya, facilitating the Online Peace Building course. He recently joined the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN), which is committed to promoting protection and solutions with and for refugees as partners. He was the Executive Director of URISE Initiative for Africa from 2016 to 2020. He also worked with Kenya Red Cross Society in Kakuma in 2013-2014 as a Tracing Officer. Pascal completed his Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management at Southern New Hampshire University in the USA. He holds a Diploma in Social Work from Regis University, a certificate in Psychosocial Case Management from Utah University, certificate in Journalism from FilmAid International and certificate in Forced Migration at Moi University. As a refugee, he feels deeply passionate about leadership, advocacy and youth empowerment. Pascal envisions leading social change in his community and creating education and job opportunities for his fellow refugees.
Chair: Daniel Ghezelbash
Deputy Director, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law
Daniel Ghezelbash is Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow. He is the author of Refuge Lost: Asylum Law in an Interdependent World (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University, and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School, Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School. Daniel is passionate about using technology to increase access to justice and to counter systemic discrimination and bias in the legal system, and established the Kaldor Centre’s Data Lab. As a practicing refugee lawyer, he is Special Counsel at the National Justice Project, and sits on the boards of a number of not-for-profit legal centres, including Refugee Advice and Casework Services and Wallumatta Legal. Daniel regularly features and published in domestic and international media outlets on refugee, migration, access to justice and legal technology issues. In 2021, he was selected for the ABC Top 5 Humanities Media Residency.
Image credit: UNHCR/Amos Halder