The Constitutionalization of Human Rights Law and its Impact on Asylum-Seekers

James H. Michael Chair in International Human Rights Law Appointment Lecture Featuring Professor Steve Meili
April 14, 2022, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Walter F. Mondale Hall
Lockhart Hall (room 25)

University of Minnesota Law School
229 19th Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55455


The constitutionalization of human rights law is on the rise throughout the world. With increasing frequency, countries have either adopted specific human rights provisions or incorporated entire human rights treaties into their national constitutions. While this phenomenon has received much scholarly attention in the abstract, we know virtually nothing about how it affects asylum-seekers in particular. In his talk, Professor Meili will analyze how lawyers representing asylum-seekers in five countries (Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States) have bridged the gap between lofty words on parchment and the protection of asylum-seekers on the ground. In doing so, he will analyze the factors that contribute to the effective use of constitutionalized human rights law in the refugee context, and those which detract from it. He will also highlight the importance of this issue in the current moment, as many refugee-receiving nations ignore their obligations under international law, making domestic law – and national constitutions in particular - an increasingly important vehicle for the protection of refugee rights.

Professor Meili’s talk will be based on his forthcoming book from Oxford University Press, “The Constitutionalization of Human Rights Law: Implications for Refugees”

Professor Steve Meili is the  James H. Michael Professor of International Human Rights Law. His research focuses on the rights of non-citizens, particularly refugees and asylum-seekers. He has been published in numerous law journals and edited volumes. His research takes a comparative and empirical approach, and lies at the intersection of human rights treaty effectiveness, refugee law, and cause lawyering. Meili teaches courses on immigration law and international refugee law. He is the Director of the Law School’s Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, where students represent asylum-seekers and human trafficking survivors. He previously held the James A. Binger Chair in Clinical Law.

A Zoom webinar attendance option has been added for this lecture, though CLE credits were requested for in-person attendance only. Visit at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 14 to watch Professor Meili's lecture remotely. 

CLE Credits
1 standard CLE credit requested. Event code #449651.

A brief reception will follow the lecture from approximately 5 to 6 p.m. in Auerbach Commons on the plaza level of Mondale Hall. 

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