With record numbers of people displaced by war, violence and persecution globally, the question of how States might cooperate to manage forced migration and respond to the needs of people on the move has become more relevant than ever. The scope and magnitude of global displacement demand something more than unilateral and uncoordinated State responses to forced migration. While the international protection regime provides an important overarching framework in this regard, it is also useful to consider how States respond to issues of shared concern at the regional level. This project explores the normative and legal bases for cooperation on refugee protection in various regions, including the Asia-Pacific, Europe and Africa. In particular, it considers how States share responsibility and the accountability mechanisms in place to ensure refugee protection in the Asia Pacific; regional refugee protection mechanisms in Africa; and European approaches to irregular migration, including the ‘extraterritorial processing’ of asylum seekers outside the European Union.

Accountability mechanisms and shared responsibility for refugee protection in the Asia Pacific (Madeline Gleeson)

This research looks generally at refugee protection and accountability frameworks in the Asia-Pacific region, and specifically at how international law can be used to hold States responsible in situations where two or more States cause harm to refugees or violate their rights. The research asks what it means to hold a State ‘accountable’ for internationally wrongful conduct causing harm to asylum seekers and refugees, considers the current state of international law regarding multi-State involvement in harmful outcomes for refugees, and explores cases of coordination or cooperation between States in managing forced migration in the Asia-Pacific region.

Regional refugee protection mechanisms in Africa (Tamara Wood)

This research aims to provide a comprehensive and principled analysis of the criteria for refugee status set out in Africa’s ‘expanded refugee definition’ – Article I(2) of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. It considers questions such as: does Africa’s expanded refugee definition apply only to those fleeing other African states, or could it also protect those who come to Africa from elsewhere, such as Syria or Yemen? Does the expanded refugee definition apply to individuals or groups of refugees, and how should it be applied in situations of large-scale movement and mass influx? Does the expanded refugee definition extend to those displaced by situations not traditionally thought to give rise to refugee protection, such as natural hazards, disasters and the adverse effects of climate change? The comprehensive analysis of Africa’s expanded refugee definition provided by this research could provide guidance to states, decision makers, advocates and refugees themselves about the scope of refugee protection in Africa.

European approaches to asylum and irregular migration (Madeline Gleeson and Riona Moodley)

This research examines how European countries have responded to the challenges of irregular migration since 2015, including the legal and policy frameworks that have been implemented at the domestic and regional levels to address issues such as: irregular maritime arrival, the relocation of refugees between European Union (EU) member states, resettlement, and expedited return of people found not to be in need of international protection. This research includes a specific focus on recent proposals put forward in the EU to introduce a form of external (or regional) processing that will enable the protection claims of asylum seekers to be processed in ‘transit countries’ before they reach Europe. In particular, it assesses the legal feasibility of such proposals, having regard to international and EU human rights law, and considers the extent to which such proposals are capable of improving the protection outcomes available to asylum seekers.

The Kaldor Centre plays a vital role in developing legal, sustainable and humane solutions for displaced people around the world.