Refugee Law expert James Hathaway receives honorary doctorate of University of Amsterdam

Published 11 January 2017

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) has awarded an honorary doctorate to refugee law expert James Hathaway.

Professor James Hathaway received the doctorate for his original and influential contribution to the development of international refugee law and its practical application. It was presented during the UvA’s Dies Natalis on 9 January 2017. The Dies forms the start of a lustrum year in which the UvA celebrates its 385th birthday.

James Hathaway
James Hathaway (1956) is professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School (US). ‘Hathaway is one of the most, if not the most, eminent scholars in the field of International Refugee Law. He has been invaluable to this area of law and to legal practice’, says honorary supervisor Professor Marjoleine Zieck. His academic work is hugely important for both the law and for legal formation and legal reform. ‘Hathaway was especially pioneering in the area of the definition of a refugee as enshrined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and in his analysis of the rights of refugees under international law.’ The innovative proposals he formulated for sharing the responsibility for protecting refugees among states are extremely important. ‘The current crisis in the Mediterranean and the unequal burden being placed on Syria’s neighbours illustrate that the legal regime does not provide for an equal distribution and, by extension, the necessity of the ideas of an outstanding scholar like Hathaway’, says Zieck.

Honorary supervisor Prof. Marjoleine Zieck is professor of International Refugee Law at the UvA.