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Seminar Series on Global Refugee Policy

Global refugee policy is a formal statement of, and proposed course of action in response to, a ‘problem’ relating to protection, solutions or assistance for refugees or other persons of concern to the global refugee regime. It is discussed and approved within UNHCR’s governing structures, and is intended to either limit the behaviour of governments or guide UNHCR’s activities. Despite the time and resources invested in the making, implementation and evaluation of global refugee policy, and concerns about the elements and implications of particular policies, our understanding of the processthat leads to these policies at the global level, and factors affecting their implementation at the local level, is surprisingly limited.

Building on discussions at the RSC’s 30th Anniversary Conference and the December 2014 Special Issue of Journal of Refugee Studies on the topic, this seminar series will examine particular aspects of the global refugee policy process to further our understanding of how global refugee policy is made, implemented and evaluated, and the extent to which a more critical understanding of this process contributes to our ability to influence outcomes.

This week Dr Phil Orchard (Senior Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations, The University of Queensland) will address the topic 'Global Policy for IDPS: A parallel process?':

In the past two decades, global policy on internal displacement has become a discernible area of activity for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and a range of other international and non-government organizations. It is an area of policy which operates in parallel with global refugee policy, alongside but separate as it is neither as strongly legally or institutional anchored. Its development has been far more ad hoc, incremental, and divided than refugee policy. And yet global policy on internal displacement as both process and product is clearly identifiable. This is reflected in legal developments including the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the African Union’s Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention). But it is also reflected in practice within the United Nations, including the development of the cluster approach to provide protection and assistance to the internally displaced, and in the basic working processes not only of UNHCR, but also of the Security Council and the General Assembly. This suggests that incremental processes can have long term effects on global policy generally.

About the speaker

Dr Phil Orchard is Senior Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations at the University of Queensland. His research interests focus primarily on international efforts to provide institutional and legal forms of protection to civilians and forced migrants. His first book, A Right to Flee: Refugees, States, and the Construction of International Cooperation (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the origins and evolution of refugee protection from 1648 to the present. His co-edited book, with Alexander Betts and entitled Implementation in World Politics: How Norms Change Practice (Oxford University Press, 2014), examines the difficulties in implementing even strongly institutionalised human-centred norms. His current work focuses on institutional and legal protections for internally displaced persons. He has published in a variety of outlets within the fields of international relations and forced migration studies, including Global Governance, International Affairs, the Review of International Studies and Refugee Survey Quarterly.

Prior to joining UQ, Dr Orchard served as a Canadian Department of National Defence Security and Defence Forum Post-Doctoral Fellow. He holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, and previously worked as the Assistant to the Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Internally Displaced Persons. He is also the Research Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

Related contenT

Phil Orchard External

The normative institutionalization–implementation gap Publications

Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice Publications

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

Migration and the politics of transgression: a historical perspective

Tuesday, 06 June 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB

The 'local turn', 'hybridity', and 'friction' in refugee governance: an ethnography of Refugee-Led Organizations (RLOs) in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

Wednesday, 07 June 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ Music Room, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB