Baroness Emma Nicholson on Migration and Human Safety

Baroness Emma Nicholson

Baroness Emma Nicholson, member of the House of Lords and the Executive Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, recently gave the keynote address at the Migration and Human Safety conference convened by the Fox International Fellowship at the MacMillan Center.

Drawing from her years of experience in both the UK and EU parliaments, and as the Prime Minister’s UK Special Envoy for Iraq, Baroness Nicholson reminded attendees that the average duration of a person’s stay in a refugee camp is eleven years. She suggested that we need to redefine the notion of human safety: “I think of human safety as much more than personal hygiene, water, and human sewage disposal,” adding, “a human is more than just a machine that needs feeding and watering and a bit of help.” She believes that refugee camps should “have spaces where the people in them can learn and worship.” She further urged those active in the field to aim for greater permanency of solutions with a strong focus on working with local communities. 

Baroness Nicholson She ended her address by urging those in attendance to “galvanize, be political, push, lobby, meet your representatives,” reminding us that “the time for action is now.”

The Migration and Human Safety conference focused on how to address human safety challenges, notably the loss of life that has been underscored by the recent refugee crisis in Europe, and increasingly within North America. Panel discussions titled “The Shifting Refugee Crises” and “Conceptualizing the Refugee Crisis” focused on both practical and conceptual issues including the deterritorialization of the US-Mexico border, the EU’s refugee deal with Turkey, state obligations towards non-citizens, and migrant deaths.

The Fox International Fellowship at the MacMillan Center is a graduate student exchange program between Yale University and 19 world-renowned partner universities.

For more information about the Fox International Fellowship, visit

Reported by Charl Linde.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016