Lectures & Literary past

The Rule of Law and Forced Migration ASF Visiting Lecture with Tom Syring


WED—February 12—7 PM, free

In tonight’s event, ASF Visiting Lecturer Tom Syring will discuss the unprecedented rise of people who have been forcefully displaced and the challenges posed by these patterns, as well as the complex issues behind responses by states and regional organizations in the Americas and Europe.

In the past five years, the world has witnessed an unprecedented rise in the number of people forcefully displaced by conflict and dire living conditions, sometimes traversing multiple regions on their way to safety. In response to the challenges posed by these patterns of conflict and displacement, states and regional organizations have focused on limiting the influx of refugees and migrants and instead committed resources to containment agreements with countries of origin and transit. As of today, the vast majority of uprooted people still flees to and stays in neighboring countries, or are internally displaced, and for those, viable solutions need to be found. Failing that, people will continue to flee.

Drawing on research projects such as an inquiry into Constitutional Coups d’état in Sub-Saharan Africa and a collaboration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with UNHCR and ICRC, and the forthcoming book War, Occupation, and Refugees (co-edited with Richard Falk; Routledge), Syring’s talk will look at the legal backdrop to these convoluted challenges, and discuss some of the root causes of conflict and inherent drivers of migration underlying current global crises, as well as the nexus between the (lack of) rule of law, development, and forced migration.


About the Speaker

Tom Syring is the 2020 American-Scandinavian Foundation Visiting Lecturer in the Rule of Law and Forced Migration, Chairman of the Human Rights Research League, and a Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. He has previously been a Visiting Scholar at Sorbonne Law School (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, a Legal Adviser at the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board, and taught at the University of Oslo and at Boston University as a Lecturer in International Law and Visiting Fulbright Scholar. Syring has particularly published and lectured on issues at the intersection of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, refugee law, and human rights.

Recent and current research projects include a book on the root causes of protracted refugee crises (Still Waiting for Tomorrow: The Law and Politics of Unresolved Refugee Crises, co-edited, with Susan Akram); an inquiry into Constitutional Coups d’état in Sub-Saharan Africa; a collaboration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (with UNHCR and ICRC) on the Kampala Convention and the Protection and Inclusion of Refugees and IDPs in Host Communities in the DRC; and a forthcoming, co-edited volume (with Richard Falk) on state responsibility for refugees and other people in need of protection in the context of war and occupation (War, Occupation, and Refugees). Tom Syring is a Co-Founder and former Co- Chair of the American Society of International Law’s Interest Group on International Refugee Law, a member of the Norwegian Resource Bank for Democracy and Human Rights (NORDEM), and Co-Chair of the European Society of International Law’s Interest Group on Migration & Refugee Law.