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Please note: Due to a technical problem a podcast of this seminar is not available. If you would like to contact Dallal Stevens about the subject of this talk, you can get in touch at

This seminar will consider some of the key questions of refugee studies: who is a ‘refugee’; how that label influences state behaviour towards those seeking asylum; and the broader implications for refugee identity and protection.

Dr Stevens will open with a consideration of the Refugee Convention and its Protocol in their historical contexts, briefly describing the change from group-based to individual protection, the emergence of a legal identity of the refugee, and the subsequent shifts in conceptualisation of both refugee protection and refugee identity that have occurred in the past 60 years. She will then move on to her main focus, in which the current problems associated with law, refugee identity and protection in the Middle East are addressed.

Of particular interest here is the inter-relationship between identity and protection in a region where the majority of states are not party to the Refugee Convention or Protocol, but which currently hosts millions of displaced people. What can the Middle Eastern approach tell us about refugee identity and protection in the 21st century? Is international refugee law the solution or part of the problem? Where next for international refugee policy?

About the speaker

Dr Dallal Stevens is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Warwick. Her expertise is in the fields of refugee and asylum law. Much of her work has revolved around the construction of the asylum seeker within a contemporary perspective, although she has also examined the plight of the refugee in a historical context. She is author of UK Asylum Law and Policy: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2004). A particular focus of her research has been the law’s treatment of asylum seekers in the UK and Europe. Her work adopts a contextual and, at times, comparative approach, and is concerned with highlighting the tension that exists between asylum law and human rights protection in this contentious area.

She is currently researching asylum and refugee policies in the Middle East, and has written on Iraqi refugees in Jordan as well as the Israeli asylum policy. Stevens has acted as an advisor to a number of national bodies, including the Home Office and Parliament. She has served as a Trustee for the former immigration law advisory agency in the UK – the Immigration Advisory Service – and for the Electronic Immigration Network. She is on the Editorial Board for the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law Journal; Law and Humanities; and, formerly, Butterworths Immigration Law Service.

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