Dr David James Cantor awarded UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service grant to investigate the application of international reparation principles to refugees and international protection practices

Thursday 3 February 2011

Date released: 03 February 2011

Dr David Cantor, of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, has been awarded a UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service (PDES) small grant for his project entitled “Colombia and the reparation of refugees: How should reparation be made to victims who cannot return to their country?”

Recent proposals by the Colombian government to make reparation to victims of the armed conflict fail to address the important fact that 400,000 Colombians live as refugees or in a refugee-like situation in neighbouring countries. Whilst many are entitled to reparation for the severe human rights violations that they suffered in Colombia, they will not return to live there owing to the continuance of the armed conflict. This project investigates the challenge that this poses to international reparation principles for displaced persons and to practices of international protection in the wider region.

Existing research on the theme of reparations to refugees is sparse and focuses on post-conflict scenarios, particularly housing restitution. This project includes preliminary research to define the applicable international law framework and any comparative models of refugee reparation. In 2011, intensive fieldwork will be conducted in three typical border regions of Venezuela and Ecuador, based around surveys of selected refugee populations and interviews with governmental and other practitioners. Interviews will be conducted with governmental officials in Colombia working on displacement and reparation issues, and a paper will be prepared for publication by the PDES.

Dr Cantor is a Lecturer in International Human Rights Law at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, a member institute of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. A recognised specialist on international law and forced displacement, he is currently completing a knowledge exchange project on ‘Managing insecurity: displacement and return during the Colombian conflict’, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the School of Advanced Study.  

Notes for Editors:

1. For further information and requests for interview please contact Dee Burn at the School of Advanced Study, University of London at dee.burn@sas.ac.uk / 020 7862 8670 / 07900 401 240.

2. Dr David Cantor is Lecturer in Human Rights on the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. Dr Cantor conducts research on the practical protection of refugees and other displaced persons, particularly during situations of armed conflict. He has carried out in-depth fieldwork on displacement and armed conflict in Colombia and is a recognised specialist in this field. David has a particular interest in refugee law, human rights law and certain areas of the international law of armed conflict. www.commonwealth.sas.ac.uk/about-us/staff/dr-david-cantor.html

3. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies, founded in 1949, is the only postgraduate academic institution in the United Kingdom devoted to the study of the Commonwealth. It is also home to the longest-running interdisciplinary and practice-oriented human rights MA program in the UK. The Institute is a national and international centre of excellence for policy-relevant research, research facilitation and teaching. As a member of the School of Advanced Study, established in 1994, the Institute works with nine other prestigious postgraduate research institutes to offer academic opportunities across and between a wide range of subject fields in the humanities and social sciences. www.commonwealth.sas.ac.uk

4. The School of Advanced Study at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the facilitation and promotion of research in the humanities and social sciences. The School brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of ten prestigious research institutes to offer academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Germanic & Romance Studies, Historical Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, Study of the Americas, and the Warburg Institute. www.sas.ac.uk