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This seminar discusses a recent Symposium issue of AJIL Unbound on Undoing Discriminatory Borders which was co-edited by Professor Cathryn Costello and Dr Catherine Briddick.

“The distribution of migration opportunities globally is deeply unequal, with nationals of some generally wealthy, stable, states benefitting from far greater migration opportunities than those from poorer, or unstable ones. An examination of any individual state's migration controls also often reveals problematic patterns of disadvantage. Contemporary migration controls frequently disadvantage women, racial and religious groups, and those whose sexual orientation, gender-identity or family status departs from the nuclear hetero-norm. To many, it is unsurprising that discrimination is rife in migration laws and controls, given that these practices reflect nationalist, colonial, and postcolonial projects of racialized and gendered exclusion and subordination. And yet, with a few notable exceptions the question of the legality of discrimination at borders is underexplored.”
(Briddick, C. and C. Costello (2021). "Introduction to the Symposium on Undoing Discriminatory Borders." AJIL Unbound 2021, 115: 328)

This seminar discusses the circumstances in which these inequalities, within and across states, are legally discriminatory.

Download seminar poster



Professor Shreya Atrey (University of Oxford)


Professor E. Tendayi Achiume (UCLA and UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance) - ‘Digital Racial Borders’

Professor Cathryn Costello (Hertie School and University of Oxford) - ‘Race Discrimination Effaced at the ICJ’

Dr Catherine Briddick (University of Oxford) - When Does Migration Law Discriminate Against Women?’

Professor Anuscheh Farahat (Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg) - ‘Discrimination Inside: Non-Discrimination as a Tool of Migrant Integration’

Professor Liav Orgad (WZB, EUI, IDC, STL) - ‘When is Immigration Selection Discriminatory?’

Professor Colm O’Cinneide (UCL) - ‘Why Challenging Discrimination at Borders is Challenging (and Often Futile)’


RSC, Oxford and CFR, Hertie School


Register on Zoom here

Related information

Undoing Discriminatory Borders Research 

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.

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University of Sanctuary Fair, Part 1: University of Oxford as a University of Sanctuary

Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 2pm to 6pm @ Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College, Walton St, Oxford OX1 2HB

Humanitarian extractivism: the digital transformation past, present, future

Wednesday, 08 May 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Film screening and discussion: Missing in Brooks County

Wednesday, 15 May 2024, 5pm to 7pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Forced Migration on Film: A Conversation with Marc Isaacs | Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture 2024

Wednesday, 22 May 2024, 5pm to 6.30pm @ Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne's College, 56 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HS

Book launch: The Politics of Crisis-Making: Forced Displacement and Cultures of Assistance in Lebanon

Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Skilled worker visas for refugees – a qualitative evaluation of the UK’s Displaced Talent Mobility Pilot

Wednesday, 05 June 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB