Pretoria – On Thursday, 15 September 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Royal Norwegian Embassy of South Africa presented the Nansen Lecture, “Migration in Africa, An Enduring Phenomenon?” at the South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg. Adv. George Bizos, distinguished human rights lawyer was the special guest for the evening and Dr. Chaloka Beyani, senior lecturer in International Law at the London School of Economics and UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, delivered the keynote speech.
Advocate Bizos shared his experience of being a refugee in South Africa during WWII and urged South Africans to respect the human rights of foreigners in South Africa, including those of refugees and asylum-seekers.
Dr. Beyani’s well-received lecture on the enduring phenomenon of migration in Africa highlighted the complexity of migration within Africa and encouraged regional integration. He appealed to the other regional economic communities to follow in the footsteps of ECOWAS and implement free movement agreements. He further stressed the importance of protecting the enjoyment of human rights for all, including illegal migrants.
The event was co-hosted by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in collaboration with Lawyer’s for Human Rights and the South African Institute for International Affairs.
Anniversary of his birth. Read more about Fridtjof Nansen’s humanitarian work here (http://www.unhcr.org/nansen/4e673cb76.html). This Nansen Lecture is one of a series being held this year in Washington, New York, Addis Ababa, and Geneva as well as the Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century which took place in Oslo on 6-7 June, 2011.
Over 130 diplomats, government officials, academics, members of civil society and journalists were present at the event in Johannesburg.