Master of International Affairs   Master of Public Policy  

The global refugee regime: Law, ethics and politics

This course is an interdisciplinary take on the global refugee regime, meaning the institutions, norms (both legal and non-legal) and institutional practices that determine who is (and who is not) regarded as a refugee, their rights, practices that shape and restrict their rights, including their rights to flee, migrate, enjoy ‘protection’ and find a ‘solution’ to their refugeehood. The course will examine global norms and practices, as well as compare diverse regional approaches, in particular in Africa, Latin America and Europe. It will also explore diverse responses to refugee ‘crises’, in particular exploring whether legal commitments to international refugee law affect refugee protection, taking into account that most refugees (at least those counted as such by UNHCR) are in developing countries (c. 85%), with the Middle East being the region currently hosting the most refugees. The course focuses on international law and institutions, engaging in particular with scholarship from international law, politics and IR, as well as engaging with debates in global justice, ethics and pertinent normative political theory. The aim is to equip students with knowledge and understanding of the global refugee regime and debates about whether it is just.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.


  • Cathryn Costello , Professor of Fundamental Rights | Co-Director, Centre for Fundamental Rights