Global protection challenges and the New York declaration

Date & time
6–7.30pm Tuesday 22 November 2016

Finkel Lecture Theatre

John Curtin School of Medical Research, Garran Road, The Australian National University

Assistant High Commissioner (Protection), Volker Türk


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.

Nicole Harman

Presented by The Centre for International & Public Law and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency

Public lecture
Volker Turk

This year, the UN General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration – the first of its kind in 65 years – which affirms the core principles of refugee protection and sets the stage for sharing responsibilities for protection more equitably and widely from the outset of refugee situations.

This is a significant achievement, particularly at a time when the xenophobic and anti-refugee rhetoric is proliferating, and borders are being fortified to keep refugees out.  The unanimous adoption of this declaration by States presents both hope and opportunity.  As a part of the declaration, the UN committed to create a new Global Compact on Refugees in 2018.  What opportunities are presented by this Compact, and what do States need to do to further this agenda?

Light refreshments will be served from 6-6.30pm in the Finkel Foyer with the lecture starting at 6.45pm.


  • Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees »

    Volker Türk is UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, having previously served as the Director of the Division of International Protection from September 2009 to February 2015. 

    From April 2008 to September 2009, he was Director for Organizational Development and Management in Geneva, leading UNHCR’s structural and management change process.  From 2004 to March 2008, he occupied various positions in many parts of the world, including in Malaysia, Kosovo (S/RES/1244 (1999), Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kuwait.  From 2000 to 2004, he was Chief of the Protection Policy and Legal Advice Section at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva, which had particular responsibilities for the Global Consultations process. 

    Prior to his time with UNHCR, Volker Türk worked as University Assistant at the Institute of International Law at the University of Vienna (Austria), where he finished his doctoral thesis on UNHCR and its mandate (published in 1992).  From 1985 to 1988, he was Research Assistant at the Institute of Criminal Law at the University of Linz (Austria).  He has published widely on international refugee and human rights law.


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