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The Australian government established the Determination of Refugee Status Committee (DORS) in 1977, as part of the nation’s obligations under the 1951 Convention and as a means of responding to an increasing number of asylum seekers.

This talk will draw from government archival records, UNHCR archival records and original oral history interviews with former DORS members to examine the Committee’s deliberations over a four and a half year period. The range of evidence provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the status determination process, enabling us to measure the outcomes for applicants from specific national groups or minorities, and to query the competing political influences on the DORS process.

Refreshments will be provided after the event.

About the speaker

Claire Higgins is a final year doctoral candidate in Economic and Social History at the University of Oxford, researching the development of Australian refugee policy during the 1970s and 1980s. She will hold the Margaret George Award at the National Archives of Australia in 2014, while researching Australia's in-country programme in Chile and El Salvador. 


If you require special access or for any enquiries about this event, please contact:

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 281707

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Forthcoming events

Migration and the politics of transgression: a historical perspective

Tuesday, 06 June 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB

The 'local turn', 'hybridity', and 'friction' in refugee governance: an ethnography of Refugee-Led Organizations (RLOs) in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

Wednesday, 07 June 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ Music Room, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB