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This subject explores and examines the international legal regime for the protection of refugees. The essential premise of the subject is that refugee law should be understood as a mode of human rights protection, the viability of which requires striking a balance between the needs of the victims of human rights abuse and the legitimate aspirations of the countries to which they flee. The primary objective of the subject is to enable students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the international legal regime for international protection – the basis for being granted protection in 147 countries, including Australia. The subject will situate Australian refugee law and policy within the context of Australia’s international obligations.
Principal topics include:
- History of the international system of refugee protection
- Legal and institutional framework of international legal protection
- The implementation of the Refugee Convention in Australian law
- Refugee status determination: domestic and international dimensions
- Responsibility sharing and shifting
- Principles of treaty interpretation applied to refugee law
- The definition of ‘refugee’ in international law
- Exclusion from refugee protection.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the international development of refugee law and knowledge of the different international instruments governing refugee law at the international level
- Have an advanced understanding of the key questions involved in the definition of a refugee, and the different approaches taken to these issues in the comparative jurisprudence
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of the international legal regime for refugee protection
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding the way in which international refugee law interacts with the Australian domestic legal system
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of how comparative material may be used in refugee cases in Australia
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to the future of the international refugee regime
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to international refugee law
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding international refugee law to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of international refugee law.
Last updated: 11 February 2021