The University of New South Wales

go to UNSW home page

Handbook Home

Forced Migration & Human Rights in Int. Law - JURD7387
 Red Centre Promenade

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 4
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1001 and LAWS1011; Corequisite: LAWS2311.
Excluded: JURD7490, LAWS3187, LAWS8190
Fee Band:   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course focuses on the theoretical underpinnings of the international legal regime for those who are forcibly displaced, and queries why States have agreed to protect certain categories of persons and not others, and whether this is legally and/or ethically sound. Within the framework of international refugee law, human rights law, humanitarian law and international criminal law, the course examines various aspects of forced migration, such as refugeehood, statelessness, human trafficking, flight from human rights abuses or civil war, development-induced displacement, movement due to climate change or environmental catastrophe, and migration due to lack of economic opportunities. In doing so, the course considers the legal obligations of States and international organisations to assist and protect forced migrants.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

This course aims to teach you to:
  • Think critically about international law and policy relating to forced migration
  • Understand the relationship between the international legal regime and domestic law
  • Analyse different conceptual approaches to forced migration
  • Identify the ethical bases of particular legal approaches
  • Evaluate the role of law in dealing with political issues and humanitarian assistance
  • Appreciate the role of the international community and international institutions in regulating forced migration
  • Understand how law shapes understandings of and responses to forced migration as a phenomenon
  • Appreciate the dynamic and evolving nature of this area of international law

Main Topics

  • Conceptualising 'forced migration'
  • The international refugee law regime
  • Climate-induced displacement
  • The role of human rights law: complementary protection
  • Protection in mass influx situations
  • The role and function of UNHCR
  • The ethics and politics of humanitarian assistance
  • Development-induced displacement
  • The asylum-migration nexus
  • The right to seek and enjoy asylum
  • Statelessness
  • Smuggling and trafficking


Class participation (20% structured, 10% unstructured)
Briefing paper (20%)
Research essay (50%)

Course Texts

GS Goodwin-Gill and J McAdam, The Refugee in International Law, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007.

Students will also need to purchase an additional reader from the UNSW Bookshop

Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.


Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.

URL for this page:

© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.