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Annual Human Rights Law & Policy Conference to Focus on Refugees

Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN (June 11, 2009) - The Advocates for Human Rights will host its seventh annual Human Rights Law and Policy Conference on Monday, June 22, 2009 at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, LLP.

The conference, Refugee Protection around the World: Durable Solutions or Durable Suffering?, will bring together international, national and local experts and advocates to examine the current refugee protection system, its shortcomings, and possible long-term solutions. Beginning at 8:30a.m. and ending at 5:00p.m., morning plenary sessions and a panel of experts will address topics such as international refugee law, the refugee experience from a personal perspective, internally displaced persons, the outsourcing of refugee protection, refugee “warehousing,” local integration, forced repatriation, and refugee resettlement in the United States.

The afternoon plenary sessions will include the topics of Darfur and Sudanese refugees, as well as international refugee protection mechanisms. These discussions will lay the framework for afternoon working sessions that will focus on two refugee case studies (Sudan and Liberia), in which participants will brainstorm viable alternatives to improve the refugee protection system and ideas to mobilize for change.


Conference speakers include: Mamadee Sesay; Michael Barringer-Mills, Field Support Manager at American Refugee Committee; Mark Hetfield, Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society; Jessica Eby, Protection Officer at Church World Service; Ellen Kennedy, Interim Director at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Bradley H. Lehrman, Attorney at Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg, P.A.; Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan; and Colleen Beebe, Michele Garnett McKenzie, Jennifer Prestholdt, and Laura Young of The Advocates for Human Rights.

The Advocates for Human Rights will provide Certificates for CEU application and has applied for 6.0 CLE credits for the conference.

For further information, please contact The Advocates or visit our website at www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org.

Colleen Beebe, Director of Education

(w) 612-341-3302, ext. 114


Robin Phillips, Executive Director

(w) 612-341-3302, ext. 109





The Advocates for Human Rights is a non-governmental, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights. With the help of over 600 volunteers, The Advocates investigates and exposes human rights violations; represents immigrants and refugees in our community who are victims of human rights abuses, trains and assists groups that protect human rights; and works through education and advocacy in Minnesota to engage the public, policy makers and children about human rights and cultural understanding. The Advocates for Human Rights holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.

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