In June 2021 the Refugee Law Initiative at the University of London hosted its fifth annual conference titled Aging Gracefully? The 1951 Refugee Convention at 70. Marking 70 years since the adoption of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the conference sought to reflect ‘on the enduring legacy of the “cornerstone” treaty for refugee protection 70 years after it was first adopted’. South Africa ratified the Convention in 1996 and its national refugee legislation incorporates much of the Convention’s contents.
The three keynote speakers included Professor James Hathaway of the University of Michigan in the US and Professor B.S. Chimni of the O.P. Jindal Global University in India. The Director of the University of Cape Town Refugee Rights Unit, Dr. Fatima Khan, gave the final keynote address entitled: States and the Refugee Convention: Circumventing, but not Blatantly Disregarding. Her address considered the status and relevance of the Convention while state parties find innovative ways to circumvent, rather than outright contravene, its terms.
You can now watch a recording of Dr. Khan's keynote below: