The decade ahead: Defending protection and people on the move

17 Nov 2020, 11am-12pm AEDT

The decade ahead.jpg

Think through the big issues in global displacement in the decade ahead in this opening panel. This prismatic panel includes people tackling the challenges emerging for internally displaced people, asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and others caught in humanitarian crises. Amid hard borders and hardening politics, how will people seeking protection find safety? When fear, threat and risk are the frames, where are the solutions? How can refugee and local communities, international actors, and humanitarian organisations respond? And what additional challenges do the impacts of climate change pose?


Louise Aubin

UNHCR Regional Representative


Louise Aubin brings more than 25 years of legal, policy and humanitarian experience across the private and public sectors. For the past two years, she has served as UNHCR’s Regional Representative in the multi-country office based in Australia. Prior to that, she led large-scale emergency responses in several regions of the world, most recently in Bangladesh. With recognized expertise on internal displacement, Ms Aubin led the UN’s Global Protection Cluster. As UNHCR’s Deputy Director for International Protection, she developed policies with a focus on children, gender, education, and community-based programs. A Canadian lawyer and Irish national, Ms Aubin holds a degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctor in Law from the University of Ottawa (Canada) and a doctoral level degree in law from the Université de Poitiers (France).

Rez Gardi

Harvard Satter Human Rights Fellow


Rez Gardi is an international lawyer and human rights activist. She was born in a refugee camp in Pakistan as her family escaped Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign against the Kurds. Arriving in New Zealand with nothing, Rez sought to use her difficult start in life as motivation to succeed, becoming New Zealand’s first Kurdish female lawyer. As a Fulbright Scholar she recently graduated with a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School. She currently works in Iraq as a Harvard Satter Human Rights Fellow building cases for the prosecution of ISIS for their targeted genocidal campaign against the Yezidis. She is the founder of ‘Empower’, a youth-led organisation aiming to address the underrepresentation of refugees in higher education. She is a co-founder of the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies at the University of Auckland. She represented New Zealand at the first Global Refugee Youth Consultations in 2016 and helped form the Global Youth Advisory Council to UNHCR. Rez was awarded the Young New Zealander of the Year in 2017 for her services to human rights and is an Eisenhower Youth Fellow. She was a Women of Influence Finalist and NEXT Woman of the Year Finalist in 2018. In 2019, she was awarded the Outstanding Youth Delegate Award at the UN Youth Assembly.

Cecilia Jimenez-Damary

UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

Cecilia Jimenez-Damary is a human rights and international humanitarian law expert specialised in forced displacement and migration. She has over three decades of experience in NGO human rights advocacy for the Asia-Pacific region and teaching experience as an adjunct professor of international human rights and humanitarian law. She previously acted as Senior Legal Adviser and Trainer with the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Geneva; as the National Director of the IDP Project of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines; and as the government representative to the Philippine Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission for the Bangsamoro. She was appointed Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons by the Human Rights Council in September 2016 and assumed the mandate on 1 November 2016. She holds an LLM in Public International Law (King’s College London, UK); MDC in International Organizations-IOMBA programme (University of Geneva, Switzerland); LLB (Ateneo de Manila, Philippines); BSc in Foreign Service (University of the Philippines).

Kathleen Newland

Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute


Kathleen Newland is a Senior Fellow and Co-Founder of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). Her work focuses on the governance of international migration, the relationship between migration and development, and refugee protection. Prior to MPI’s establishment in July 2001, She co-directed the International Migration Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment. Earlier, she was a lecturer in international political economy at the London School of Economics (1988–92) and Special Assistant to the Rector of the United Nations University (1982–87). She has worked as a consultant to the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the World Bank.

Chair: Jane McAdam

Director, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

@profjmcadam @kaldorcentre

Jane McAdam is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She publishes widely in international refugee law and forced migration, with a particular focus on climate change, disasters and displacement. She is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law, the leading journal in the field. Professor McAdam serves on a number of international committees, including the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea-Level Rise (as Co-Rapporteur until 2018); the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement; the Technical Advisory Group for the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security Programme; and the Advisory Council of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. In 2013, she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2015, she was honoured as one of Australia’s top 10 Women of Influence, winning the ‘global’ category of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence awards. In 2017, she received the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Human Rights for her work on refugees and forced migration, becoming the first Australian recipient of the award.

Image credit: UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis