The protection of refugees requires trained professionals, who know how to build and operate protection systems in line with international human rights obligations. Unfortunately, in most regions of the world refugee studies are not taught at universities, contributing to a persisting lack of effective protection regimes. Since 2004, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee has been a pioneer in tackling this challenge in cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and several outstanding academics. Our current Refugee Law Teaching Support (RELATE) Initiative focuses on promoting refugee law education, as well as innovative, inclusive and interactive teaching methods in Latin America, Northwest Africa (“the Maghreb”) and Southern Africa.
We held our fourth capacity-building event in Northwest Africa on 28-30 November in Tunis, titled “Le Maghreb Protège 2022”, in cooperation with the UNHCR and the Arab Institute of Human Rights, and hosted by the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis.
We were pleased to receive 8 professors from Morocco, 2 from Algeria and 14 professors and doctoral students from Tunisia. We had the honour to welcome renowned international experts in the field such as Maya Sahli Fadel (Vice-Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights) and Ulrich Stege (Faculty Member of the International University College of Turin).
The seminar, held in French, was aimed at university professors interested in refugee law, migration and international protection, who are committed to teaching these subjects in the near future or to improving their existing subjects in these areas in order to facilitate the creation of a new generation of experts.
We obtained excellent feedback from participants, and we also learned a lot about the challenges of forced migration and refugee protection in Northwest Africa during the event. The participants also formulated concrete engagements and defined future steps to strengthen regional academic cooperation in the field of refugee law.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is very proud of being able to contribute to the construction of refugee protection systems in such a crucial region at the doorstep of Europe.