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    11.12.18 Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton Speaks on Refugee Law and Statelessness at Multiple Forums
    Maryellen Fullerton

    Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton, a recognized expert on asylum and refugee law, made presentations at several high-profile events this fall highlighting current laws, policies, and challenges in immigration and international refugee law—with a particular focus on the humanitarian plight of stateless individuals.

    At a New York City Bar program in October, “Stress Testing International Refugee Law: A Time of Gulag Archipelagos, Moats, and Walls,” Fullerton discussed the international refugee laws and policies of key jurisdictions in the Global North, including the United States, European Union countries, and Australia. She and other participants noted a disturbing trend within these countries toward non-entrée practices, frustrating the territorial access of refugees from the Global South, or developing countries, while maintaining the letter of post-war international refugee law.

    Fullerton also planned, organized, and moderated a panel on statelessness during International Law Weekend at Fordham University School of Law in October. “Statelessness” is defined in international law as “not considered a national by any state under the operation of its law.” 

    “Statelessness is a phenomenon that exists around the globe, and it’s a major human rights challenge,” said Fullerton. “Because the stateless are excluded from the international legal system, it is an urgent situation that leaves millions of human beings—more than 10 million in 2018, with roughly one-third being children—without legal protection.”    

    Fullerton was joined by Professor Julian Arato, who co-moderated the panel, “Old Wine in New Bottles? The Trump Administration and Trade Law,” which assessed the impact of statutory trade instruments employed by the administration in the last year on governments, importers, exporters, and others. It also explored the role of the branches of government beyond the executive in trade-law-making.   

    Statelessness also was the topic of a discussion this month sponsored by the Brooklyn Law Immigration Society. Led by Fullerton, the event looked at the Rohingya Refugee Crisis in the context of the wider legal framework around statelessness. The Rohingya in Myanmar have been victims of violence, murder, and genocide, causing them to flee to neighboring countries. Fullerton used their example to call attention to the many ways in which people become stateless, including war, dissolution of states, insidious operation of gender discrimination, and lack of birth certificates, among others.

    Fullerton has extensive experience in conducting research and working internationally on asylum and refugee law. She has been a consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and has been active in projects providing support to Refugee Law Clinics in Eastern Europe. Twice she has received Fulbright awards, and she has served as distinguished chair in law at the University of Trento in Italy. A prolific author, she has published two casebooks, Forced Migration: Law and Policy and Immigration and Citizenship Law: Process and Policy, which are used by more than 100 law schools and universities throughout the United States. She is also one of the founding editors of the Refugee Law Reader