Human Rights Law Centre

Annual Student Conference

Migration and Human Rights: Perception v Reality

Migration continues to be a highly debated topic.  The ever increasing flow of migrants has led to the radical review of immigration policy at national, regional and international levels.  The current discourse raises concerns about the treatment of migrants and poses challenges to the realisation of freedom of movement worldwide.  We therefore felt Migration and Human Rights a fitting theme for this year's conference and thought it important to examine migration within the international human rights framework. 


This Conference challenged society's perception of migration and considered the realities attached to it;  from the root causes to the impact on host societies.  The keynote speakers and student panellists questioned what action needs to be taken at national, regional and international levels to combat discrimination and encourage the integration of migrants.  What measures can be taken to secure migrants' economic, social and cultural rights?  Do we need to do more to protect vulnerable migrants, including women and children?  How can combatting modern slavery protect trafficked and exploited migrants?

The keynote speakers were:

  • Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Trafficking, Exploitation and Mixed Migration. Listen to her full address. 
  • Professor Zoe Trodd, Professor of American Literature, University of Nottingham, The Slavery Lens:  Migration, Human Rights and the Contemporary Antislavery Movement. Listen to her full address. 
  • Ryszard Cholewinski, Labour Migration Branch, International Labour Organisation, Protecting Migrant Workers in Globalized Labour Markets. Listen to his full address. 
  • Professor Ryszard Piotrowicz, Professor of Law and UK Expert, Group of experts on action against trafficking in human beings (GRETA), Council of Europe, Trafficking in Human Beings:  Justice for the Victims through the Non-Punishment. Listen to his full address. 
  • Ms Sumbul Rizvi, Head of Asylum and Migration Unit, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Refugee Protection in Mixed Migration Listen to her full address.

Conference delegates were then able to choose to attend two of the following panels:

Panel 1: The Costs of Migration Portrayal in Society and Media, chaired by Iga Wojtaski, Student Conference Committee Member

Panel 2: Redrawing the line: Borders and Security, chaired by Lian Selby, Student Conference Committee Member

  • Immigration Detention: People in between, Lydia Koroteraki, Lund University
  • The use of the body as an instrument of border control in the European Union - Remarks on age assessment for unaccompanied migrant children, Denise Venturi, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies
  • The Human Cost of Unlawful Deprivation of Liberty: The Lampedusa Case Study, Francesca Cancellaro, University of Bologna
  • Border securitisation and migration management at the Strait of Gibraltar, Vera Wriedt, Birkbeck College, University of London

Panel 3: Discrimination in access to economic, social and cultural rights, chaired by Emma Knight, Student Conference Committee Member


Panel 4: Modern Slavery: Combating Trafficking and Forced Labour, chaired by Gabriela Majerčiková, Student Conference Committee Member







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