Lecture 1 - The dehumanisation of the refugee

It is widely accepted in the academic literature that throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries, state attitudes towards refugees have hardened to the extent that it is almost inconceivable that the 1951 Refugee Convention could be negotiated in its present form today.  The lecture series begins with an overview of this narrative, examining how the figure of the refugee has been dehumanised, ‘illegalised’, and characterised as a security threat to potential host states.  

  • The evolution(?) of state attitudes to refugees
  • The securitisation of state refugee policy

Lecture 2 - Non-refoulement and non-entrée mechanisms: new challenges and developments

Building on lecture 1, lecture 2 focusses on the dynamic and ever evolving efforts of states to avoid/evade non-refoulement obligations under International refugee and human rights law.  The lecture will provide a chronological overview of state non-entrée practices, with a particular focus on the latest iteration of non-entrée measures characterised by international ‘agreements’ between ‘developed’  and ‘developing’ states designed to close migration routes to refugees and potential legal challenges under human rights law.   

  • The logic of non-entrée  
  • Classic components of non-entrée regimes such as visas, international zones and push-backs.
  • New developments in non-entrée regimes - extra-territorialisation of borders and inter-state agreements.
  • Potential international law routes to challenge non-entrée regimes.

Lecture 3 - Resettlement – complementary or antagonistic protection?

The final lecture of the series shall address refugee resettlement.  The lecture shall focus on ‘humanitarian’ resettlement programmes – i.e. those programmes under which states voluntarily agree to resettle refugees who have applied for asylum in a third state.  Whilst states such as Australia have long standing resettlement programmes the Syrian conflict has seen a surge in such programmes in Europe.   The United Kingdom’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme will serve as a case study to illustrate the potential threat posed by discretionary resettlement programmes to those protections provided to ‘Convention refugees’ under international law.  

  • An introduction to resettlement
  • Resettlement and the UNHCR
  • Resettlement as humanitarian (rather than ‘legal’) protection
  • Case-study – the United Kingdom’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme

Instructor: Kieren McGuffin