Workshop: Refugee Protection Outside of the International Legal Framework: Expanding Cross-National and Cross-Disciplinary Collaborations

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary Overview A two-day workshop will engage researchers, practitioners and policy makers about alternative approaches to refugee status determination in states that are non-party to the Refugee Convention and emerging asylum systems. It is designed to advance theorizing about the meanings of rules or laws governing refugee status outside of the Refugee Convention framework, address empirical puzzles regarding how refugees and international refugee advocacy networks mobilize international and national law, and identify promising lines of inquiry regarding how national institutions define, mediate and respond to refugee legal concerns. These impacts are central both to theory-building concerning legal mobilization and decision making by institutions and to understanding where and how a refugee status determination process structures refugee lives. Intellectual Merit The increased frequency and prolonged nature of refugee crises point to a gap between refugee protection as envisioned by the International Refugee Convention and the reality that most refugees reside in states that either are either not parties to the Refugee Convention, do not have implementing legislation or have emerging asylum systems that deviate from the standards outlined in the Refugee Convention. This workshop will: (1) review historic knowledge about RSD processes outside of the Convention framework; (2) document alternative statuses and processes designed to provide protection for refugees; (3) address problems stemming from newly emerging asylum systems; (4) identify what should be measured in terms of the ways in which non-party states provide protection to refugees and how to understand change in protection in emerging asylum systems; and (5) identify theoretically informed, empirically grounded best practices for improving the lives of refugees beyond the framework of the Refugee Convention. Broader Impacts The workshop will inform efforts to provide alternative statuses and processes of protection to refugees who are unable to access national asylum status. The workshop will provide a background study that will lay the foundation for future research to answer questions about the behavior, treatment of people and processes of refugee status determination and protection in these contexts and the methodology through which we might measure outcomes and understand how the decision not to ratify the Refugee Convention affects refugee protection and local integration. Having such knowledge will contribute to United States efforts to provide sustainable solutions for refugees, victims of conflict or natural disaster, and stateless people around the world. The workshop will bring together scholars, practitioners and policy makers across professional disciplines including anthropologists, legal scholars, political scientists, sociologists, and statisticians. The participants will range from rising researchers to senior professionals selected from these fields with particular attention to drawing scholars from the Global South (NSF designated B and C Countries) and underrepresented groups including refugee scholars, ethnic minorities and women. A similarly diverse array of postdoctoral, graduate and advanced undergraduate student observers will be invited to advance the training of the next generation of contributors to this area of work. The workshops will foster new collaborations among scholars who have not previously worked together in this intellectual area. A key output of this workshop will be the identification of alternative refugee statuse
Effective start/end date2/15/141/31/15


  • National Science Foundation (SES-1354405)


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