Michigan State University, International Center, East Lansing, MI, USA
February 24-25, 2022
“Belong Nowhere”: States of Statelessness in the Muslim World
Michigan State University is hosting an international conference entitled “‘Belonging Nowhere’: States of Statelessness in the Muslim World.” This conference recognizes that Muslims comprise a significant portion of the over 36 million refugee and stateless persons worldwide and seeks to understand the drivers of conflicts that lead to displacement in the Muslim world and the effects it has on Muslim communities. Further, we hope to explore avenues for advocacy for such communities, at local, regional, and global scales.
Significance of theme: Several international conventions frame our understanding of and responses to statelessness and refugees. These include the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954) and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961). Under these conventions, contracting states must afford displaced individuals protections and rights as any lawful alien in that country. Various other conventions and organizations have been created over the years to establish rights for stateless persons and refugees under international law. Despite these efforts, stateless individuals and refugees continue to be denied basic human rights and protections such as identity documents, employment, education, and access to health services. Stateless people continue to have no legal protection and no right to political participation, or even to advocate on their own behalf. They often lack access to education, employment, health care, registration of birth, marriage or death, and property rights. Refugees and stateless people may also encounter travel restrictions, social exclusion, and heightened vulnerability to poverty, poor health outcomes, social exclusion, sexual and physical violence, exploitation, human trafficking, forcible displacement, and an increased risk of radicalization.
According to the UNHCR, statelessness and refugee status have devastating effects on the lives of at least 36 million people around the world. Of these, nearly 75% have effectively become minority groups in new lands, as is the case with, for example, Palestinians Kurds, Syrians, and Rohingya Muslims. Whole generations of Muslims are growing up disenfranchised with little to no legal protections and long-lasting political, social and psychological consequences. Panelists will be invited to discuss the causes of displacement and the consequences for individuals, states, and our increasingly global Muslim communities
Conference format: The two-day conference will take place on February 24-25, 2022, and will include a networking dinner, panels, and a keynote. The precise format will be announced at a later date.
Call for papers: The organizers welcome abstracts for previously unpublished research on the conference theme conceived broadly; and hope to include scholarship reflecting a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary backgrounds—including (but not limited to) refugee studies, sociology, history, anthropology, psychology, political studies, law, and religious studies. Junior scholars and post-doctoral researchers are encouraged to submit abstracts for consideration. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2021, and accepted papers will be announced by September 30, 2021.