International refugee workshop

Call for papers

Responding to Refugees and irregular Migration in Australia and the EU: Practices to Adopt and Policies to Avoid

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University will host this international workshop on 1 December 2017 at the Monash University Prato Centre in Italy.


Friday 1 December 2017

Monash Prato Centre, Italy


The Castan Centre will host a small workshop in December, in Italy, a country at the frontline of the EU response to irregular migration and refugees. The purpose of the event will be to reflect on what Australia and the EU can teach each other about responding to irregular migration and refugees. Over the past few years, the EU has looked to other jurisdictions for ideas to curb the higher numbers of irregular migrants and refugees seeking the protection of member states. In particular, there have been calls within Europe to follow the so called ‘Australian solution’ to refugees.

In 2001, the then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, responded to the irregular arrival of 438 people seeking Australia’s protection on the ship MV Tampa,  by stating that Australia ‘will decide who comes [into Australian territory] and the circumstances in which they come’. Since then, Australia has adopted a range of border control policies to deter refugees and deny access to Australian territory including third country processing and detention of refugees, temporary protection visas, boat turn-backs, containment strategies in refugee producing countries and increasing cooperation with countries of transit to stop the onward movement of those seeking to enter Australian territory through irregular means. These strategies appear to have curbed the number of refugees entering Australian territory but have also resulted in grave human rights abuses including the potential refoulement of refugees and others owed Australia’s international protection. In addition, these policies have come at a high cost to Australia, both in terms of extraordinary financial resources and damage to Australia’s international reputation.  

There are therefore clear pitfalls in the EU adopting Australia’s border protection policies. This is not to say, however, that all aspects of Australia’s refugee regime are without merit. For example, Australia’s resettlement program offers many refugees a durable solution and when done well, provides a model that should be emulated.

This workshop will discuss what Australia and the EU can learn from each other’s experience of responding to refugees and irregular migration. It will ask: what are the legal, ethical and effective practices in each jurisdiction that should be adopted and which policies are ineffective, dangerous and unlawful?   

We seek papers on any aspect of border control policies, from any disciplinary perspective, which can serve to stimulate engaging debate. Some of the themes that papers might consider may include: burden sharing and burden shifting, militarisation of the border; third country processing and ‘hotspots’; sea interdictions and best practices.


To participate in the call for papers, please email the following information:

a) Title and an abstract of approximately 300 words maximum and 4-6 key-words and

b) A short biography, name, affiliation and contact detail of author/authors (in case of more authors, please indicate the name of the corresponding author)

to by 1 November 2017  

For accepted abstracts, the submission of a working paper before the workshop is strongly encouraged.