Hertie School and Oxford University conduct joint research on refugee protection

Başak Çalı and co-researchers to examine UN bodies as enforcers of “non-refoulement”.

Hertie School Professor of International Law Başak Çalı and Associate Professor of International Human Rights and Refugee Law Cathryn Costello at Oxford University have initiated the new research collaboration, Hard Refugee Protection through Soft Enforcement.

Their research will examine the various United Nations’ human rights treaty bodies focusing on refugee rights, in particular as ‘soft enforcers’ of the norm of non-refoulement. Under international law, non-refoulement requires states to refrain from returning anyone to a country where they would face torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and other life threatening irreparable harm. This principle applies to all migrants at all times, irrespective of migration status.

The research blends empirical and doctrinal analysis. It examines complaints brought to the UN treaty bodies against states accused of disregarding their duty to prohibit refoulement; how these states respond, in particular to requests for interim measures regarding non-removal; and the contribution of UN treaty bodies to international law on non-refoulement. It aims to reflect on the role of the international rule of law and ‘soft enforcement’ in refugee protection.

More about Başak Çalı

  • Başak Çalı, Professor of International Law | Co-Director, Centre for Fundamental Rights