Training in Refugee Law


On October 29 and November 26, 2005 the United Nations Association of Georgia (UNAG) held two information meetings for law students in a bid to provide these students with an introduction to Refugee Laws, both national and international.</p> <p>The one-day workshop was divided into two parts. The first half of the day covered presentations by UNHCR Tbilisi BO representatives Ms. Urara Furukawa, Head of Protection Unit and Ms. Garine Hovsepian, Associate Protection Officer. Their presentation covered an Introduction to the UNHCR mandate and international protection of refugees, including: an overview of the UN Refugee Agency’s major tasks activities and its role in the international protection of refugees and others of concern; a general introduction to the field of refugee law; an analysis of the relation of Human Rights protection to International Refugee Law; a brief overview of international and regional instruments in the field of refugee protection; and an introduction to International Refugee law and 1951 Geneva Convention with 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees - particularly a detailed commentary on Article 1 of the Convention, including the inclusion, exclusion and cessation clauses as well as an insight into the basic rights and obligations of refugees set out in other articles of the Convention.</p> <p>These presentations provided the students with necessary theoretical knowledge needed to move on to particular issues relating to refugees in Georgia, which were addressed during the second half of the day. This second part of this initiative was led by Ms. Khatuna Madurashvili UNAG, Refugee Council of Georgia Program Director and Mr. Pierre Vischioni, UNAG Country of Origin Information Officer. The presentation focused on national legislation on refugees, the definition of a refugee according to the Refugee Law on Georgia and an analysis of how other relevant legal texts – particularly those relating to asylum procedures in Georgia and the rights of recognized refugees – meet the requirements of International Treaties that Georgia has ratified and an overview of the actual problems linked to refugee protection in Georgia (such as the provision of travel documents; the overall asylum system and legal system in general; problems linked with protection issues; integration into local society etc.) The topic of the last presentation of the meeting was centered on Country of Origin Information as an important component of the process to determine refugee status.</p> <p>These presentations were then followed by practical case studies on identifying asylum-requests and the process of determining refugee status.