Migration & Statelessness

Sunday, October 30, 9:30am – 6:00pm

In recent years, migrant rights and the rights of stateless persons have been increasingly mentioned in international discussions. The UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development 2013 and the Summit for Refugees and Migrants in 2016 have seen new ways of talking about migrants and refugees and the role of States in rights-protection. Meanwhile, In 2014, UNHCR launched its #iBelong campaign to end statelessness in 10 years. Neither of these developments occurred spontaneously, but have involved activism from many actors. Movements run by migrants, refugees and stateless persons, by wider civil society, by academics, by States, by UN agencies, and by funding bodies and others, have been crucial to these developments, as well as being vocal in their contestation.

This series of panels brings together three key groups of actors: those who have been part of the move to put migrant rights onto the international agenda, including formulating what that means; those who have been part of the move to put the rights of stateless persons onto the international agenda, including formulating what this means; and the academics who have been working in the area of noncitizenship, statelessness and migration. The panels will bring together practitioners, scholars, activists, and funders to examine existing movements and how to take them forward. (These three panels also represent the culmination of a series of projects finalized within the Global Justice Program, including the two books, Theorising Noncitizenship (forthcoming 2016) and Understanding Statelessness (forthcoming 2017), and the ASAP global report on statelessness and development, and some of the speakers are collaborators from these projects).


Opening Remarks: Tendayi Bloom (Open University)
Sun, October 30, 9:30am – 10:00am

Panel 6 | Finding New Ways to Talk about Migrant Rights
Sun, October 30, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Chair: Daniele Botti (Global Justice Program, Yale University)
      • Carol Barton (Women in Migration Network): Women in Migration Network—global organizing for rights of women in migration
      • Colin Rajah (Co-Founder and Former Int’l Coordinator, Global Coalition on Migration). A Decade of building international civil society alliances in an era of global shifts in migration: Lessons and building blocks for the future
      • John Slocum [online] (Visiting Researcher at CIDOB; formerly - 2006 to 2016 - Program Director for Migration at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation). The evolution of global civil society in the migration field 
      • Catherine Tactaquin (National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights): Bringing Grassroots Voices and Perspectives to the Global Debate on Migration
      • Michele Klein-Solomon [online] (IOM)
Panel 7 | Finding New Ways to Talk about the Rights of Stateless Persons
Sun, October 30, 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Chair: Anat Biletzki (Quinnipiac University)
      • Laura Bingham (Equality/Citizenship Issue Area of the Open Society Justice Initiative) 
      • Melanie Khanna (Senior Legal Coordinator and Section Chief, Statelessness, UNHCR). Solving Statelessness: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead
      • David Baluarte (Americas Network for Nationality and Statelessness, Steering Committee Member). Challenges and Strategies for the Protection of Nationality Rights in the Americas
      • Oscar Mwangi [online] (National University of Lesotho) 
Panel 8 | Finding New Ways to Think about Noncitizenship and Statelessness
Sun, October 30, 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Chair: Tendayi Bloom (Open University) 
      • Amal De Chickera (Co-Director, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion): Statelessness, Human Rights and Development: Some Reflections
      • Phil Cole (University of the West of England): Global Displacement and the Topography of Theory
      • Katja Swider (University of Amsterdam): Why End Statelessness? 
Dinner: Davenport College Dining Hall (248 York Street)
Sun, October 30, 6:15pm


David Baluarte is an Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. Baluarte acted as co-counsel on two nationality rights cases decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against the Dominican Republic. Baluarte directed a pilot law clinic to provide legal services to stateless persons in the US, and directed a project to establish a nationality rights law clinic in The Bahamas. In 2017, Baluarte will travel to Argentina as a Fulbright Scholar to complete research on the protection of stateless persons in the Southern Cone. 

Carol Barton is co-coordinator of the Women in Migration Network (www.womeninmigration.org) a global network of feminist, immigrant rights, trade union and human rights activists. WIMN advocates for human rights-based policy impacting women in migration—including migrant women, refugees, women in transit and return, and women who remain behind. Carol served as the Rapporteur on Women for the Civil Society Days of the Global Forum on Migration & Development in Istanbul in 2015 (http://gfmdcivilsociety.org/gfmd-csd-2015/). She is lead staff on United Methodist Women’s Economic Inequality initiative, based at the Church Center for the United Nations. She holds a Master in Political Economy from the New School for Social Research in New York City. 

Anat Biletzki is Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University (Israel) and Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Biletzki was born in Jerusalem, Israel. She was a member of B’tselem, an Israeli human rights NGO, acting as chairperson from 2001 to 2006, and has served as a B’tselem Board member since 1995. Biletzki is a member of the executive board of FFIPP-I (Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace International), which describes itself as “a network of Palestinian, Israeli, and International faculty, and students, working in solidarity for a complete end of the occupation and just peace.” Biletzki is unusual in her explicit and controversial criticism of “Jewish Israel” as distinct from Israel as a nation or political bodies within Israel. In a New York Times opinion piece she writes that “[the 2015 minority government bloc] is unambiguous in its Jewish, nationalistic agenda,” and that “norms of exclusive Jewish rights and exclusion of Arab citizens” are inherent to Zionism. As well, Biletzki suggested that controversial statements made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu in the days before the election, specifically the assertion that a two-state solution would never happen during his tenure, and an expression of anxiety that supposedly large amounts of Israeli Arabs were voting, represent implicit norms of “Zionist, Jewish Israel.”

Tendayi Bloom is Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at the Open University. Since obtaining her PhD from Queen Mary University of London School of Law in 2012, she has worked as a Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility in Spain, and as a Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer at Yale University’s Global Justice Program in the US. Her recent published work has focused on the role of the private sector in constructing noncitizenship in the context both of migration decision-making in the Mediterranean Region and of a more theoretical framing of the State-noncitizen relationship. 

Daniele Botti is a Fellow of Yale’s Global Justice Program and serves as treasurer for both Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) and Incentives for Global Health (IGH). Daniele received his “Laurea” (summa cum laude) from the Department of Humanities of the University of Milan (Italy), and a PhD from the Department of History of the University of Eastern Piedmont (Italy). Specialized in American intellectual history, his research is published (or is forthcoming) in journals like Solutions, History of Political Thought, and the Journal of the History of Ideas. He is currently writing a book on Rawls and the American tradition of pragmatism.

Phil Cole teaches Politics and International Relations at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He is co-editor, with Tendayi Bloom and Katherine Tonkiss, of Understanding Statelessness, to be published by Routledge. His other books include Debating the Ethics of Immigration: Is There a Right to Exclude, co-written with Christopher Heath Wellman, and Philosophies of Exclusion: Liberal Political Theory and Immigration. He is a trustee on the Welsh Refugee Council.  

Amal de Chickera is Co-Director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, which was founded in Autumn 2014 to promote the human rights of stateless persons and foster inclusion to ultimately end statelessness. He is a human rights lawyer who has written, spoken, delivered training and served as an expert on statelessness and related issues for the UN, NGOs and academia since 2008. Before cofounding the Institute, Amal provided the lead on the Equal Rights Trust’s statelessness work. Amal’s current research interests include statelessness, discrimination and the sustainable development goals. 

Melanie J. Khanna heads the Statelessness Section within the Division of International Protection at UNHCR at its Headquarters in Geneva. Prior to joining UNHCR she worked as the Legal Adviser to the US Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, and prior to that she worked as an Attorney Adviser at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. During her tenure as a lawyer for the U.S. government she developed expertise in international human rights law, international environmental law (including maritime law), international claims and investment disputes, and a number of other substantive areas.  She occasionally taught the law of international organizations at Georgetown Law Center as an adjunct while working full time. She hold a B.A. in English literature from Columbia University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served on the Editorial Board of the Yale Law Journal.  She has won awards for distinguished service from the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, and Energy and in 2006 she received the U.S. Federal Bar Association’s Younger Lawyer of the Year award.

Oscar Gakuo Mwangi, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Department of Political and Administrative Studies, National University of Lesotho. His research interests are in comparative politics especially in the areas of democratization, governance, conflict and security, and environmental politics in eastern and southern Africa. The research interests are mainly in the context of statehood, particularly state collapse and state fragility. He has several published book chapters as well as articles in internationally refereed journals such as African Security Review, The Journal of Modern African Studies, Journal of Southern African Studies, Politics, Religion and Ideology, The Round Table: The Commonwealth of International Affairs, and Review of African Political Economy. His teaching areas are in the fields of Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Economy. He also taught Political Science at the University of Nairobi.

Colin Rajah is co-founder and former International Coordinator of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) from 2011-2016. Colin co-founded GCM while at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) where he served as International Program Director from 2003-2011. Colin is also a co-founder and co-chair of the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA), an annual international civil society convening held since 2006 in parallel to intergovernmental summits on migration, particularly the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). He is currently the Coordinator of the PGA’s International Committee. Previously a member of the International Steering Committee (ISC) of the GFMD’s Civil Society Days (CSD) process, Colin currently serves as the President of Global Bersih (a global Malaysian diaspora network promoting Malaysian democracy and reform), a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, and an Advisory Committee member at the International Development Exchange (IDEX.).

John Slocum is Visiting Researcher at CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs). He previously worked at the MacArthur Foundation (in Chicago) as director of the Initiative on Global Migration and Human Mobility (2006-2012) and the Migration Program Area (2012-2016). In these roles, he directed grantmaking on international migration governance, migration and development, U.S. immigration policy, and migrant rights in Mexico. He previously directed MacArthur’s grantmaking on higher education in Russia. He received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago and taught at the University of Oklahoma. His published research includes articles on Russian nationality politics and philanthropy. 

Katja Swider is a doctoral researcher at the Law Faculty of the University of Amsterdam, finalizing her PhD thesis on tensions within statelessness policy regimes. Her publications focus on protection of stateless persons and reduction of statelessness in the Netherlands and the EU, as well as on interactions between the concepts of statelessness, nationality and human rights. Katja is also involved in various civil society initiatives on statelessness, and supports strategic litigation of statelessness cases, mainly through her role as an Advisory Committee Member of the European Network on Statelessness.

Catherine Tactaquin is Executive Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a nationwide alliance founded in 1986. NNIRR promotes human rights for all migrants, regardless of immigration status. She was a co-founder of Migrants Rights International, a global advocacy network, and sits on the steering committees of the Global Coalition on Migration and the Women in Migration Network. In 2013, Catherine was selected as the "Grand Rapporteur" for the UN's Interactive Dialogue on Migration and Development and spoke on behalf of global civil society at the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in New York.