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Queering international relations: analyzing norm implementation in sexual orientation based refugee law

December 8, 2017 at 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Location:A602 Loeb Building

Political Science Speaker Series event
Jaz Dawson
PhD candidate
Queer/Refugee Law/International Relations
Melbourne Social Equity Institute, University of Melbourne

Secretary and Director
LGBTIQ Refugee Rights
Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation

Jaz Dawson is a final-year PhD student with the Melbourne Social Equity Institute in a joint program with the University of Melbourne’s Law and Social and Political Sciences Schools. She is supervised at the University of Melbourne by Professor Sarah Maddison and Professor Michelle Foster. In the first half of 2017 Jaz undertook a research fellowship under the supervision of Professor Thomas Spijkerboer at the Migration and Diversity Centre in the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam law school. Jaz’s research looks at the implementation of procedural protection norms in sexual orientation based refugee claims in Australia and the United Kingdom. Broadly, her research also engages with queering constructivist international relations theory, norm implementation, and identity-based approaches to human rights and law. On the side, Jaz is also a director of Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based in Melbourne, Australia that seeks to promote LGBTI human rights in Asia and the Pacific.

Jaz’s research explores procedural protection norm implementation in sexual-orientation based refugee claims in Australia and the United Kingdom. Jaz’s project is focused on assessing how domestic ideational, institutional, and material structures influence certain UNHCR protection norms being implemented, or not, in each jurisdiction. It is argued that institutionally, the makeup of each legal system and the role elements such as administrative bodies or regional courts have an influence on the successful implementation of procedural protection norms in these jurisdictions. Furthermore, it is argued that domestic ideational influences, such as the heteronormative history of the law (at the domestic, regional, and international level) plays an important role in the development of sexual orientation based claims, protection norms, and the manner in which they are implemented in Australia and the UK. The project also explores the role that the ever-shifting broader political and refugee policy related goals of each government and associated bureaucracies have on successful norm implementation in sexual orientation based claims. This thesis also contributes to the growing body of queer international relations and legal scholarship, questioning the role of identity-based human rights and refugee status recognition, as well as the way we theorize norms and their implementation in international relations.