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This literature review focuses on research carried out on refugee recognition practices since the 1980s, with a particular emphasis on the years from 1990 to 2020. It was carried out in the initial stages of the RefMig project for our internal use, and we are now making it available more widely to other researchers. We have reviewed the literature based on a keyword search of articles published on refugee status determination, prima facie recognition, country of origin information (COI), evidential assessment and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), among others. We have focused on scholarship published in leading journals, including International Journal of Refugee Law and Journal of Refugee Studies. Most of our source material, with a few exceptions, is in English. Notwithstanding these limits, the review reflects a synthesis of key articles, book chapters and monographs, mainly published from 1990 to 2020. We analyse the literature according to the modes of recognition, actors that are involved in recognition and geographic locations where studies are conducted. In the modes of recognition, we explore two strands of literature, the first on individual refugee status determination (RSD) and the second on group recognition.

More information Original publication




Working paper


RefMig Project

Publication Date



RefMig Working Paper No. 1/2023