Past eventMembers

Life as a Refugee

26 November 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Chatham House, London


Pia Oberoi, Migration Advisor, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Gulwali Passarlay, Afghan Political Refugee; Author, The Lightless Sky: An Afghan Refugee Boy's Journey of Escape to A New Life in Britain
Ognjen Radosavljevic, Performance Advisor, International Medical Corps UK
Chair: Michael Keating, Associate Director, Research Partnerships; Deputy Special Representative of the UN secretary-general in Afghanistan (2011-12)



The legacy of the world’s conflicts can be seen in the scores of camps for refugees around the world, with more refugees and displaced people globally than at any time since the Second World War. The UNHCR reports countries in the developing world have absorbed 86 per cent of the record numbers fleeing their homes. Conditions in poorer countries, hosting many more refugees than Europe is receiving, are often inadequate and dangerous, with unprecedented numbers attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, causing the crisis on Europe’s border to grow. 

Gulwali Passarlay will reflect on his 12-month odyssey across Europe from Afghanistan to Britain as a young asylum seeker. He will offer his personal insights into the people smuggling trade and of his time inside various refugee camps, including the Jungle at Calais, which has been struggling to cope with record numbers of people in recent months.

The panel will discuss Gulwali’s experience and consider what is needed in terms of engagement and action to deal with the humanitarian challenge of responding to many others like him.