Research project

RefMig: Refugees Are Migrants

About the project

The RefMig project aims to re-examine the global refugee regime through the lens of mobility and migration. In order to achieve a deeper understanding of the laws, norms, institutions and practices that govern refugeehood and the migration and mobility of refugees, the project examines the division between refugees and (other) migrants in several contexts. The project’s premise, that ‘refugees are migrants’ examines how refugees come to be recognised, opens up for scrutiny those practices that limit refugee flight and onward mobility, and examine how migration control concerns have come to permeate the refugee regime. It also questions the notion that international protection is only for refugees, and aims to understand how human rights and migration control may be reconciled.

RefMig currently has two main strands:  Recognising Refugees is a comparative empirical study of diverse processes for recognising refugees, examining in particular group recognition practices and the role of UNHCR in RSD.    The Organisations of Protection strand examines the role of international organisations in the global migration regime, and how that effects the scope of international protection.   That strand currently focuses on the role of IOM in particular, its obligations, ethos and accountability.   Accountability is an overarching theme of RefMig, and one of the first project outputs is a Special Issue of the German Law Journal entitled Border Justice: Migration and Accountability for Human Rights Violations.

The RefMig project is a collaborative project based at the Centre for Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School in Berlin and the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC), Oxford Department for International Development, University of Oxford. The project is a Horizon 2020 award funded by the European Research Council and runs between January 2018 to December 2023.

For more information please visit the project page.

Project lead

  • Cathryn Costello, Professor of Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School and Co-Director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights. 

Researchers at the Hertie School

  • Mitali Agrawal, Research Associate at the Centre for Fundamental Rights

  • Natalie Welfens, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Fundamental Rights 

Associated Researchers:

In partnership of: