About the talk:
Human Rights Today: The Case of Immigration Detention
Can we believe in human rights, and what happens if we do not? In this talk, Marie Dembour marries her expertise in the history and jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights with a particular case study: immigration detention in the UK.
In the last three decades or so, the UK has increasingly come to resort to detaining immigrants as part of an administrative process of facilitating their ‘removal’ to their country of origin. The UK has the sad distinction of not time limiting immigration detention. As a result, detainees do not know when they will get out of detention – it could be days, weeks or years.
This is most problematic since, unlike criminal detention, immigration detention does not attract solid guarantees of judicial oversight. In addition, there is no access to routine healthcare, individuals are in detention whom the law acknowledges should not be there (such as victims of torture and under-18s), visits are extremely regulated, etc.
Immigration detainees frequently recount that going through the gates of immigration detention takes the soul out of you.
How is such a dehumanising practice possible today? Why would an institution like the European Court of Human Rights condone it? And if the ECtHR seems to have abdicated its role at least in respect of this situation, why does it remain crucial that the UK remains subject to its jurisdiction? What do human rights offer us, and how are they best fought for?
About the speaker:
Marie-Bénédicte Dembour is Professor of Law and Anthropology at the University of Brighton, which she joined in 2013 from the University of Sussex. She is the author of numerous academic publications including the seminal books Who Believes in Human Rights? Reflections on the European Convention (2006) and When Humans Become Migrants: Study of the European Court of Human Rights with an Inter-American Counterpoint (2015). She has been invited to teach and speak around the world, addressing both academic and non-academic audiences. This has taken her in the last year to Seoul, Berne, Lisbon, Brussels and Oslo. She has been a regular walker on Refugee Tales, an organisation which calls for an end to indefinite detention in the UK and which will pass through and spend one night in Lewes in July 2019.
The Elephant And Castle
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