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UNB Law students host conference to learn more about the Syrian refugee crisis

Author: Communications

Posted on Feb 18, 2016

Category: In the Media , UNB Homepage , UNB Fredericton , myUNB

The International Humanitarian Law and the Syrian Refugee Crisis Conference was held on Friday, Feb.12 in the University of New Brunswick Fredericton’s Ludlow Hall.

The UNB International Law Society, in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross, hosts a conference every year to create a forum to discuss the foundations of the international humanitarian law and the necessity and application of laws which limit both the methods and the means of armed conflict.

“Every year the conference is about a topic related to international humanitarian law. This year, due to the current crisis with refugees, the society felt that this would be a great topic that would generate interest and help to educate people on the complexities of the situation,” said Denita Cunningham.

“We were pleased with the attendance at the conference. We had students, professors, lawyers and other community members who attended.”

Ms. Cunningham said the conference strives for diversity with its chosen speakers in order to offer a variety of unique perspectives.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the annual conference and the faculty of law welcomed the following speakers: Vice-Admiral Glenn Davidson, Catherine Gribbin, Audrey Macklin, Breanne England, and Major Sarah O’Bleanes.

Vice-Admiral Davidson served as Canada’s ambassador to Syria for more than three years (Sept. 2008-March 2012). Ambassador Davidson mentioned the Syrian population was 22 million before the civil war started and that the war has resulted in the destruction of Syrian cultural heritage, businesses and houses.

“The fact that Canada is taking 25,000 refugees is a very good thing, “said Admiral Davidson. “However, we have to realize that there are four million refugees that still require help and support.”

An average civil war tends to last for 10 years in the region in which the country is positioned, he added.

The Syrian civil war involves some more complicated issues that one would think. There are many conflicts of interest, for instance, between the allied and the non-allied countries of the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. It’s a very delicate to derive a single solution that would please every nation involved in that conflict.

According to Admiral Davidson, bilateral support between nations plays a crucial role to avoid the current situation from deteriorating.

Breanne England, Audrey Macklin and Major Sarah O’Bleanes were the panellists for the conference. The conference concluded with a speech by Professor Luis Campos.