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Conference on International Migration Law, 31 March-1 April 2011

On Thursday 31 March and Friday 1 April our Faculty hosted a conference on International Migration Law. This conference was organized by GCL Visiting Professor Sir Richard Plender and Professor Gormley. Some of the world’s leading experts in international migration and international migration law delivered papers. The eighty participants came from all over Europe. The conference was held at the Hanze Societeit, the conference diner was at the Groningen Museum.

The first day of the conference was opened by our Dean, Jan Berend Wezeman. After the welcoming address by Sir Richard, Ajay Bailey (University of Groningen) delivered an introduction to demography. He explained that a reduction in transport costs has increased the willingness of people to move over large distances. Sir Richard followed with an introduction to nationality laws, pointing out that residence is increasingly a key feature in the possibility of nationality a phenomenon already present in the Nationality Decrees case but discernible in the recent jurisprudence of the European Court, in Rottman I and in Zamora.

Gerard-René de Groot (University of Maastricht), concentrated on the international conventions regulating nationality and statelessness. Richard Cholewinski (ILO), gave an account of the work of the ILO on migration explaining how properly-regulated migration can contribute to balanced and prospering economies. Professor Gijsbert Vonk (University of Groningen) delivered a speech on social security for settle migrants. Although he took he view that prior to lawful admission here is no right to social security under either international of European law, his paper as a whole painted a picture of increasing social provisions for this sector of our population.

Audience at the Hanze Societeit
Audience at the Hanze Societeit

At the conference diner at the Groningen Museum Dora Kostakopoulou (University of Manchester) gave an speech focused on integration. Her central plea was that integration should not mean the extermination of the individual characteristics of the societies from which immigrants are garnered but should entail the toleration of diversity. Sir Richard, d in his closing address, linked her speech to John Donne’s famous sermon: No man is an island, for each is part of the main. Therefore ask no for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

Conference diner at the Groninger Museum
Conference diner at the Groninger Museum

On the second day of the conference Kees Groenendijk (University of Nijmegen) spoke on the treatment of settled immigrants. He recalled that the Churches Committee on Refugees and Exiles had looked at four strategies for the improvement of the legal status of aliens and discussed each strategy. Professor Goodwin-Gill (Oxford University) followed, with a lecture which began with an account of the view, held until remarkably recent times, that the right of asylum is the right of a State to grant it, not the right of an individual to receive, asylum. But on the basis of the principle of international protection, he contended, the right to receive asylum is now a real right, worthy of respect by international law.

Adam Weiss (AIRE Centre, London) reviewed the case-law of the two European Courts. Although the logic of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union are divergent, he explained that the would coalesce and increasingly they do so.

Dimitry Kochenov (University of Groningen) spoke on the right the leave one’s country. Illustrated by examples from his own life he discussed in an energetic speech the problems that a citizen can face when he wants to discard his or her nationality.

Clifford Mailer (Immigration Judge, UK) led us into to the world of the UK Asylum Law and give us same examples of cases he had judged. At the end of his speech a lively discussion between him and the audience took place. Alessia Di Pascale (University of Milan) discussed exceptional duties to accept aliens.

At the end Sir Richard delivered the closing address and expressed his gratitude to all the speakers, chairs and participants, all of whom contributed so magnificently to the success of the conference.


The hosts of the conference Sir Richard and Laurence Gormley
The hosts of the conference Sir Richard and Laurence Gormley
Last modified:28 May 2019 4.34 p.m.