The Constitutionalization of Human Rights Law: Implications for Refugees

A Book Launch Event for Professor Stephen Meili
April 20, 2023, 4:00 to 5:00 pm
Walter F. Mondale Hall

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

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Join the Human Rights Center to celebrate Professor Stephen Meili’s new book from Oxford University Press, “The Constitutionalization of Human Rights Law: Implications for Refugees." Opening remarks will be presented by Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin. Professor Christopher Roberts will join as the discussant in the session. 

The Constitutionalization of Human Rights Law analyses how lawyers representing refugees use human rights provisions in national constitutions to close the gap between the Law and it’s implementation. Focusing on five countries (Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda, the United States) the book examines how lawyers adapt creatively to social, political, and legal contexts. Many refugee-receiving states openly reject or passively ignore their obligation under international law to protect refugees. For this reason, cause lawyers (those who use the law to empower others) have turned to constitutionalized human rights law. While many countries likely included such provisions in their constitutions without intending to fulfil their commitments, cause lawyers have seized on them as a more enforceable means of rights protection. Features:

  • Features diverse case studies showing how constitutionalized human rights law can protect the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers
  • Examines the practices of refugee lawyers, showing how they use constitutionalized human rights law to protect their clients
  • Demonstrates that constitutionalized human rights law may soon eclipse international refugee law in its ability to protect refugees
  • Makes important contributions to the socio-legal literature on human rights law, refugee law, and cause lawyering

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.

Order "The Constitutionalization of Human Rights Law" online with promotion code ALAUTHC4 

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Abby Nelson | Program Coordinator, Human Rights Center