How should the East Asian countries respond to a potential exodus of North Koreans in case of a Korean peninsula crisis?

Blog post by Naoko Hashimoto, a Research Affiliate of the RLI. Naoko has a number of years’ practical experience in refugees and forced migration issues, as a staff of UNHCR, IOM, and the Government of Japan.  She is currently undertaking a PhD research focusing on refugee resettlement at the School of Law, Politics and Sociology of the University of Sussex, as an International Fellow of Nippon Foundation. She holds Master of Studies in Forced Migration from the University of Oxford, and LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of London. (more…)

Reframing Non-Refoulement as an Individual Right under International Law?

Blog post written by Jenny Poon, a Research Affiliate of the Refugee Law Initiative, a Ph.D. candidate at the Faculty of Law of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, a qualified Barrister & Solicitor in the Province of Ontario, as well as a Visiting Study Fellow at the University of Oxford, Refugee Studies Centre for Trinity Term 2017. The author may be reached at (more…)

Designating ‘Vulnerability’: The asylum claims of women and sexual minorities

Blog post written by Dr Moira Dustin, Research Fellow, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex who is currently working on the research project ‘SOGICA – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum: A European human rights challenge (2016-2020)’. This post is published as a contribution to Refugee Week 2017.


The Refugee Convention was not designed with the persecution of women and sexual minorities in mind. But times change and today most would agree that women at risk of Female Genital Mutilation and LGBT people threatened with the death penalty in their countries of origin should be granted asylum. The problem is these individuals do not obviously fit the Convention definition of a refugee based on persecution due to race, religion, nationality or political opinion, leaving identification as members of a ‘particular social group’ the only option available. Advocates then struggle to define the parameters of that group. Is it as broad as women in Pakistan or as narrow as gay men who frequent a certain park in the centre of Tirana? (more…)

Beneficiaries of International Protection in the European Union and the (Absent) European Protection Space

Blog post written by Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler, Associate Professor in International Refugee Law at the School of Law, University of Reading. Ruvi is also Editor-in-Chief of the Refugee Law Initiative Working Paper Series. Ruvi will present on the ‘Crisis, Cross-border Mobility and State Responses in Europe and Latin America’ panel at the upcoming RLI 2nd Annual Conference. The full conference programme is available here.


In recent years, we have witnessed a European Union struggling to forge a common approach to the admission of onward movement of prospective ‘beneficiaries of international protection’ (BiP), which include 1951 Geneva Convention refugees and those grated ‘subsidiary protection status’ (Qualification Directive (Recast) Article 2), prompting calls by Guy Goodwin-Gill and others for the creation of a European Refugee and Migration Agency. (more…)

The Imaginary of Mass Influx: Responses to Large-scale Movements in US Law and Policy

Blog post written by Professor Jaya Ramji-Nogales (Temple University) who will both chair and present on the ‘Mass Migrant Flows, International Obligation and Internal Resistance: Trump’s Executive Orders in Critical Perspective’ panel at the upcoming RLI 2nd Annual Conference. The full conference programme is available here.


In its first 100 days, the Trump administration has enacted dramatic political theater and rhetoric as well as harsh new policies targeting refugees and migrants in the United States.  Immigration restrictionism was a – if not the – central plank of Trump’s campaign.  Within a week of his inauguration, Trump promulgated three Executive Orders aimed at preventing the entry of asylum seekers from Central America and refugees from Syria.  Though immigration has long been a controversial political issue in the United States, the protection of refugees has historically garnered bipartisan political support.  How did we get here from there? (more…)

The 1969 African Refugee Convention: A Panacea to Mass Movements of Refugees in Africa?

Blog post written by Tamara Wood (UNSW) and Dr Marina Sharpe (McGill) who will both present on the ‘Mass Displacement and Regional Protection Frameworks in Africa’ panel at the upcoming RLI 2nd Annual Conference. The full conference programme is available here.


The large-scale movement of persons is a defining feature of displacement in Africa. Conflict, generalised violence, persecution, political instability and the effects of natural hazards and climate change – whether alone or in combination – force large numbers of people from their homes each year. In the last decade, situations both protracted and new have forced massive numbers of people to move in countries such Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan. While a small number travel to Europe or beyond, most of those forced to flee seek safety within the region. (more…)

Too many migrants, or too many concepts?

Blog post written by RLI Senior Research Associate Jean-François Durieux who will present on the ‘Mass Displacement and Regional Protection Frameworks in Africa’ panel, and chair the panels on ‘Shared Protection: Rethinking the Role of the State of Origin in International Refugee Protection’ and ‘Flight from Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence’ at the upcoming RLI 2nd Annual Conference. The full conference programme is available here.


A good six months after the adoption of the New York Declaration, the agencies in charge of drafting and promoting the Global Compacts on refugees and migrants – UNHCR and IOM, respectively  – seem to be struggling to define the legal nature and the scope of these instruments. This makes it difficult for scholars and technical experts – whatever their discipline may be – to offer constructive suggestions.  Here, as in all high-level political initiatives on ‘global’ issues – climate change springs to mind – there exists a serious risk of conceptual dispersion: international migration being a multi-dimensional phenomenon, there is almost no limit to the number of peripheral issues and vested interests capable of jumping, so to speak, on the bandwagon. (more…)