Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Displaced persons from camps in Germany, Austria and Italy board an IRO-chartered ship on their way to start a new life in the USA. UNHCR's predecessor, the International Refugee Organisation (IRO) helped one million people to resettle overseas.

In the context of contemporary debates over reforming refugee policy in the Global North, this project excavates the origins of the global refugee regime. In particular, it examines the regime’s positioning as the product of a particular historical moment after the Second World War, which established a system of global governance for managing forced migration, and set the stage for internationalist tensions with the nation-state. The UK was central to this process, as two of the era’s biggest refugee crises occurred following its withdrawal from India in 1947 and Palestine in 1948. By tracing the colonial legacies embedded in both these cases of mass displacements across new borders, our work challenges paradigms about post-war migration and raises new questions around the continuing impact of colonial-era structures. In this way, we seek to narrate a new international history that centres the role and experiences of forced migrants in this era.

RSC researcher

External lead

Dr Anne Irfan (UCL) (PI)