A Numbers Game: Counting Refugees and International Burden-Sharing


Dr Alice Edwards, Chief of Law and Policy at the UNHCR in Geneva, Switzerland

Start Date

19th Dec 2012 1:00pm

End Date

19th Dec 2012 2:30pm


Lecture Theatre 2, Law Building, Sandy Bay campus

The United Nations Refugee Convention recognizes that the problem of refugees are inherently international and cannot be solved by a single State alone. Yet achieving international cooperation, or even achieving consensus on what this means, has had a long and chequered history. Moreover, debates on international cooperation (or responsibility- or burden-sharing) regularly involve "counting" refugees and asylum-seekers. Who bears the biggest burden? And who is responsible for easing the burden? It's a numbers game. This lecture will examine the many ways in which a focus on asylum statistics has impacted on the international protection regime for refugees, and what needs to be done about it.

Dr Alice Edwards is Chief of law and policy at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), based in Geneva, Switzerland. She is also Research Associate/Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre and St Anne's College, University of Oxford and Fellow of the University of Nottingham's Human Rights Law Centre. She is an alumna of the University of Tasmania (1995) and a proud Tasmanian.