Discussion Panel: Desperate Journey, Europe’s Refugee Crisis

Tuesday, June 14 - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

More than one million asylum seekers and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea. According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 84 percent were from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, or Iraq—all countries experiencing conflict, widespread violence and insecurity, or which have highly repressive governments. Human Rights Watch has covered the unfolding situation in multiple countries using research teams that include photographers and videographers to capture conditions on the ground and convey the compelling individual stories behind this crisis. In this panel discussion Human Rights Watch Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert and photographer Zalmaï share their insights and images, along with short video clips, to discuss how governments can effectively respond to the refugee crisis in line with their legal responsibilities and stated values.

This event will run 90 minutes.

Peter Bouckaert
Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch’s Emergencies Director and an expert in humanitarian crises, is responsible for coordinating the organization’s response to major wars and other human rights crises. A Belgian-born Stanford Law School graduate specializing in the laws of war, Bouckaert is a veteran of fact-finding missions to areas that include Lebanon, Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Macedonia, Indonesia, Uganda, and Sierra Leone.

Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Zalmaï left the country after the Soviet invasion in 1979. He travelled to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he became a Swiss citizen. Following his passion for photography, Zalmaï pursued combined studies at the School of Photography of Lausanne and the Professional Photography Training Center of Yverdon. In 1989, he began to work as a freelance photographer, traveling the world and eventually returning to Afghanistan, where he continues to document the plight of the Afghan people. His work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Time, the New Yorker, Harper’s, and Newsweek. He has also worked for a number of nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

*There will be an exhibition of Zalmaï’s photographs to accompany this discussion in the Furman Gallery, Film Society of Lincoln Center

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