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International Conference

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Online Conference, 30th September & 1st October 2021


Thousands of migrants are dying every year in Europe in deeply troubling circumstances. Most die whilst attempting to cross maritime borders but there are also many instances of deaths in refugee camps, immigration detention centres and during attempts to cross Europe’s internal and external land borders.

This two-day conference will explore the relationship between migration and border control law and policy, and migrant deaths within and close to the borders of Europe, as well as relevant practice and research in the area of contentious death investigation.

Conference papers will address a diverse range of relevant topics, such as the implementation of the UN Global Compacts for migration and on refugees during the pandemic, immigration detention, pushbacks, the externalisation of border controls, migrant and refugee vulnerability, the treatment of migrants with disabilities and State responsibility for deaths.

The Conference is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation as part of the research project ‘Refugee Lives Matter: Protecting the human rights of migrants and refugees through international and regional obligations to investigate deaths’.


For ZOOM details please register at:


Programme (pdf)

All times are Central European Summer Time


Thursday, 30th September

09.50 - 10.00

Conference Opening

Dr. Sam McIntosh (Großbritannien-Zentrum, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

10.00 - 11.30

Panel I – Regional Implementation of International Policies and Law

Chair: Maja Grundler

Implementing the UN Global Compacts for Refugees and Migrants in Times of Pandemic: A View from the EU Member States

Professor Dr. Elspeth Guild, Dr Kathryn Allinson, Nicolette Busuttil (Queen Mary University of London)

Migration deals seen through the lens of the ICESCR

Dr. Annick Pijnenburg, (Radboud University Nijmegen)


EU Non-refoulement for Migrants with Mental Healthcare Needs: Exceptionality as Antithetical to Disability Fundamental Rights

Nicolette Busuttil (Queen Mary University of London)

11.30 - 12.00 Coffee Break
12.00 - 13.30

Panel II – The Rise of Immigration Detention

Chair: Dr. Jean-Pierre Gauci

Hidden detention spaces at the Greek-Turkish border: informal infrastructures, border violence and the European border regime

Dr. Lena Karamanidou (Glasgow Caledonian University) Bernd Kasparek (University of Gottingen) RESPOND


Enhanced vulnerability through immigration detention as a border securitisation tool

Stephen Phillips (Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University)


Ever expanding use of immigration detention under EU law

Dr. Izabella Majcher (European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE))

13.30 - 14.30 LUNCH
14.30 - 16.00

Panel III – Dangerous Journeys

Chair: Steven Phillips

The Rightlessness of Refugees in Libya

Adel-Naim Reyhani (University of Vienna/ Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Grund- und Menschenrechte)


Vulnerability as an Indicator of Future Risk in Refugee Law: Examining the “Route Causes” of Irregular Migration

Maja Grundler (Queen Mary University of London)


Externalisation under the Biden Administration

Sophie Capicchiano Young (School of Advanced Study, University of London)

16.00 - 16.20 Break
16.20 - 17.20

Workshop for Early Career and PhD Researchers

Chair: Dr. Sam McIntosh

Researching for change: having an impact on policy and practice

Dr Lawrence McNamara (University of York)


Friday, 1st October

10.00 - 11.30

Panel I – Contentious Death Research

Chair: Dr. Sam McIntosh

Causes and effects of contested deaths: Coronial justice in the digital age

Associate Professor Rebecca Scott Bray (The University of Sydney)

Accountability in the aftermath of police related deaths in the US and England and Wales: Processes and outcomes

Dr. David Baker (The University of Liverpool)

The role of family in death investigations: Examining policy and practice in England and Wales

Professor Jessica Jacobson (Birkbeck, University of London), Dr Hannah Rumble and Lorna Templeton (University of Bath)

11.30 - 12.00 Coffee Break
12.00 - 13.30

Panel II – Taking Migrant Deaths Seriously - Challenges on the Ground for Campaigners and Practitioners

Chair: Associate Professor Rebecca Scott Bray

Refugee and Migrant Deaths: State and corporate violence, neglect and impunity. Securing the rights of the bereaved in the search for truth, justice and accountability

Deborah Coles (Executive Director of INQUEST)


The limitations of the inquest process in investigating migrant deaths in the UK

Olivia Anness (Bhatt Murphy Solicitors)


Researching death in the context of (European) Immigration

Dr. Tamara Last (University of the Witwatersrand / African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS))

13.30 - 14.30 LUNCH
14.30 - 15.30

Panel III – Responsibility for Deaths?

Chair: Adel-Naim Reyhani

The role of private vessels when they rescue migrants at sea

Dr. Jean-Pierre Gauci (British Institute of International Comparative Law)


Who'll pay reparations on my soul?

Catriona Jarvis and Syd Bolton (Co-Conveners and Founders of the Last Rights Project)

15.30 - 15.40 Conference Close