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The University of Southampton
Southampton Ethics Centre

The Duties of Refugees Seminar

12:00 - 14:00
9 May 2018
Room 4121, Building 58 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO171BF

Event details

Part of the C2G2 Seminar Series. Lunch is provided and all are welcome.


In this talk, I consider the question of the duties of refugees. The perceived failure of refugees to fulfil their duties is often a powerful political weapon used by political leaders to justify curtailing refugee rights through detention and measures that prevent access to asylum. Yet there has hitherto been little explicit reflection on the question of refugee duties. In this talk, I illustrate the importance of conceptualising refugees as obligation-holders and I critically examine some of the duties that have been ascribed to refugees in recent political debates. I focus on three particular duties: “the duty to fight”, “the duty to leave” and “the duty to wait”. I consider these three duties because they touch upon matters of great significance for refugees, reveal how refugees' obligations to various communities may conflict, and have contemporary political relevance. While the focus of this talk is primarily on the weaknesses of current statements of refugee duties, I finish by noting some of the features of a more convincing account, in part by drawing on the preceding examination.

Speaker information

Professor Matthew J. Gibney, University of Oxford. Elizabeth Colson Professor of Politics and Forced Migration.

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