Howard Morrison, Judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC), took part in the 2016 CUMIPAZ Educational Session. The UK jurist spoke on immigration-related laws and emerging socio-legal issues; his theme revolved around Immigration as a Challenge to Higher Education.
"There are about 200 million people in the world living outside their original country of residence, not necessarily because they want to, but because they often have to," he said.
From his point of view, as a lawyer, he said that emigration and immigration carry positive aspects, and without them, most countries would be poor.
He added that problems with immigration are very much alive in Europe, that the real evidence of this leads to misery and exploitation; he noted that immigrants face national rules and regulations.
Morrison also mentioned that there is a link between the concepts of refugee and migrant, with respect to the law; he explained that since the UN Convention (1951), relating to the status of refugees "not everyone agrees that you must be outside your country of origin or where you currently live; you must have a well-founded fear of persecution by race, sexual orientation or gender, religion or political or social affiliation. "
He also spoke on the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which went into effect in December 1975 as a resolution of the United Nations, concerning how nationality is obtained.
"The Convention of States shall not deprive any person of a nationality." You cannot label a person stateless who is a national of your country already; and the Court cannot deny a person the State status by any appealing procedure, because of race, ethnicity, religion or political reasons," he said.
The judge emphasized that a way of uniting international instruments for migrants and refugees must be found and in an enforceable international basis. "If we do not start regulating on an international basis, in terms of migrant and refugee, we will be even more lost than we already are," he said.
"We need to save ourselves from ourselves, save ourselves from our greed, and be careful of our blind island nationalism and disrespect for other human beings."
He added that this is an issue that is coupled with the most fundamental of human rights, the right to freedom. He also stressed that migration is the essence of human development, and hence, must be appreciated and supported.
Morrison made a call to care for people who are in desperate situations because of conflict: "Whole nations and cultures are being forced to move by the nature of the circumstances surrounding them. If we just look at Syria as an example; hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homeland because of military and political actions that could be avoided."
In his speech, the jurist urged law students to consider the issue of emigration and immigration in their graduate and post-graduate thesis; "You must do something about it," he said.