Dr Kieran Oberman (University of Edinburgh)
Public Seminar Series
Wednesday, 28 November 2018, 5pm to 6.30pm
Seminar Room 2, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB
Hosted by Refugee Studies Centre
Public Seminar Series, Michaelmas term 2018
Series convenors: Professor Matthew Gibney, Professor Cathryn Costello, Professor Tom Scott-Smith
About the seminar
Every year, thousands of refugees and other migrants die trying to cross borders. The dangers are many. Migrants die from exhaustion crossing deserts, freeze to death on mountain passes, drown at sea. One way states can save lives is by undertaking search and rescue missions. This seminar asks whether receiving states have any special duty to do so. The idea of a “special duty” here can be brought out with the following question: do receiving states owe a duty to rescue migrants at borders that they do not owe all people in need? In answering this question, the seminar starts with an important yet easily overlooked point: crossing borders is not inherently dangerous. Migrants die crossing borders because receiving states restrict migration. This fact, in itself, does not mean that receiving states have a special duty to rescue, but it does mean they cannot claim that border deaths are nothing to do with them. The question we need to ask is whether receiving states bear moral responsibility for border deaths rather than merely causal responsibility. The seminar goes in search of, and finds, arguments for why receiving states are morally responsible. States cannot treat border deaths like any other misfortune without changing their immigration policies.
About the speaker
Dr Kieran Oberman is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Edinburgh. He joined the University in September 2013 from University College Dublin where he was a Teaching Fellow. He obtained his DPhil in Politics from Oxford University and has since held positions at the University of Louvain, Stanford University and the Asian University for Women.
Listen to the podcast of the seminar here >>