A promise of listening: Migrant Justice and the London Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal

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This article explores the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) hearing, ‘The Hostile Environment on Trial’, which took place in London, United Kingdom in 2018. When calling a gathering a ‘peoples’ tribunal’, certain kinds of listening and attention become possible, that are shaped by specific histories and contexts. I consider the kind of listening that took place during the London PPT and what changed as a result. I argue that the legal framing that comes with calling a gathering a ‘tribunal’ both compels and excludes, and the politics of listening for migrant justice within such a space is laden with imperial pitfalls and power relations that must continuously be worked through. Instead of a legal remedy, what results is a social relation, an ‘Us’ created through the mutual effort (Lugones 1990) of organising and participating in the Tribunal that can open different understandings of migrant justice and its connection to wider struggles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-55
Number of pages21
JournalRace & Class
Issue number4
Early online date8 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).


This work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship ‘Listening for Change’. Thanks to Kamran Khan, Kim Rygiel and Emma Samman for their generous engagement with this paper


  • hostile environment policies
  • imperial pitfalls
  • international law
  • listening
  • London Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) hearing
  • migrant justice
  • migrant workers
  • the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI)


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