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From International Criminal Justice to Migration with Louise Arbour

February 3, 2020

Louise Arbor, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for International Migration
Moderated by Maureen White, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute

The Johns Hopkins SAIS community was delighted to welcome Louise Arbour to campus for a discussion on international justice and migration. Arbour is a preeminent expert in international justice, having served as former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and as the current Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for International Migration.
Arbour discussed the threat that multilateralism is currently facing and how this affects both international criminal justice and migration issues. She noted that this phenomenon is taking place at a time when we need multilateralism the most, because of the growing importance of challenges such as climate change, technology, and migration. With regard to migration, Arbour indicated that we live in an environment where forced displacement will likely increase, and communication and transportation facilities will probably cause more mobility and migration. For this reason, no country should develop its immigration policy without international cooperation, she said. However, because of the erosion of multilateralism, the opposite is occurring.
Arbour said it is important that international dialogue on migration be centered around economic migrants because of their increasing contribution to the economy, and proposed changing the definition of “refugee” under the Refugee Convention to include these migrants as well.
Moderator Maureen White continued the discussion with Arbour on important subjects such as the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court, and the involvement of the United States in the international migration discussion. Questions from the audience delved further into climate migrants, informal economies, and the importance of migration for the economic development of countries.

Human rights and international justice expert Louise Arbour discusses migration and justice at the Washington, DC campus