McKinney panel to discuss national, international responses to refugee crises

INDIANAPOLIS -- Responses to the world refugee crisis are the focus of an upcoming public panel discussion at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

Sam Sites (front, left) and three other interns working for the Legal Resource Centre in Accra, Ghana.

Sam Sites (front, left) and three other interns working for the Legal Resource Centre in Accra, Ghana.

McKinney School of Law will present "World Refugee Crisis? Domestic and International Responses" from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 in the Wynne Courtroom of the law school building, Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St.  The presentation is part of the McKinney Graduate Studies Lecture Series.

"The contemporary refugee crises -- Syria, sub-Saharan Africa, the U.S.-Mexico border -- give rise to questions about the role of law and of the obligations of individual states to refugees displaced from their countries of origin," said McKinney School of Law professor Karen Bravo, who will serve as the discussion's moderator.

Karen Bravo, panel moderator

Karen Bravo, panel moderator

The informative panel discussion will address the domestic and legal frameworks for dealing with the issue of refugees, Bravo said.

Panel members include Sam Sites, 2017 McKinney J.D. candidate, who through the law school's Program in International Human Rights Law interned with the Legal Resources Centre in Accra, Ghana, and the Organization for Aid to Refugees in Prague. His internship assignments included weekly visits to a refugee camp and a refugee detention center.

A better understanding of the world refugee crisis is invaluable for the typical American, Sites said.

"It's important for Americans to have a better understanding of the world refugee crisis so that we can better aid refugees and countries that are helping them. Americans have always been generous, so it's also important for them to know about organizations they can support to help refugees, even if they won't necessarily meet any of the refugees," Sites said. "There are many human-rights and refugee organizations that are based in the United States, so there are opportunities to serve and to respond within the U.S. You don't have to travel or be fluent in a different language to help refugees."

Other panel members are:

  • Mahja Zeon, deputy prosecutor, Marion County Prosecutor's Office
  • Carleen Miller, executive director, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc.
  • Bernard Trujillo, professor, Valparaiso University School of Law

The event is free, but registration is strongly encouraged.

Additional information is available on the McKinney website.