This course explores the legal and policy issues of forced migration. It is practice oriented, enabling the students to meet leading actors of the refugee scene. The course consists of five major blocks: the first sets the historic, conceptual and philosophical framework. The second reviews international refugee law, to be applied at the universal level. The third thoroughly investigates the European asylum acquis and practice from its inception to the crisis of 2015-2016 and the paralysis thereafter. The fourth block is rather empirical and introduces the actors, first and foremost the refugees, their psychological experience during flight and in the asylum country and the major actors alleviating their plight. Personal encounter with UNHCR officers, NGO case workers, psychologists treating vulnerable cases form part of this block. The last unit extends the view: it covers internal displacement and the debates about migration caused by environmental change.
Knowledge of law in general or international law in particular is not a prerequisite of participation in the course.