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Course E066: International Refugee Law and Contemporary Challenges

5 June-16 July 2013 (E06613) | Closed
Instructor: Mihir Kanade

This certificate course jointly offered by HREA and the Human Rights Center of the University for Peace introduces learners to the international system for refugee protection from the legal perspective. Issues concerning international protection of refugees have undergone a sea change from the time when the 1951 Refugee Convention came into force. The contemporary world order poses serious challenges to refugee protection, beginning with identifying refugees within mixed migratory flows, inadequate national policies by states to protect refugees, their incompatibilities with international refugee law, the role of international organisations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), issues of xenophobia and security in host countries amongst various other issues. This e-learning course is designed to provide a comprehensive picture to participants of how and why refugee protection is indispensable from the historical and human rights perspective, what are their needs and available legal protections, which are the relevant actors involved in refugee protection and what are the challenges facing today's refugees and host countries. The course also analyses the regional systems of refugee protection with the help of selected case studies. The course is based on a dynamic pedagogy including reading materials, video clips, case studies, and interactive webinars with the instructor as well as practitioners from NGOs and officials of UNHCR.

This certificate course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, interaction with students and instructor on discussion boards, quizzes, a written assignment and webinars. The course is based on a participatory, active learning approach, with an emphasis on critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. The maximum number of course participants is 25. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation. It also possible to audit the course. A Certificate of Participation will be awarded upon successful completion of the course.

Course outline

Week 1: Introduction to refugee law – history of population movements, evolution of refugee regime and basic concepts
Weeks 2-3: Contemporary international framework for refugee protection – the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Protocol of 1967, essential concepts and case studies
Week 4: UNHCR and other relevant actors; internally displaced persons and stateless persons
Week 5: Regional systems of refugee protection and selected cases.
Week 6: Contemporary challenges to refugee protection

About the instructor

Mihir Kanade is the Director of the Human Rights Center at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) and is an Academic Consultant to the Department of International Law and Human Rights at UPEACE. Prior to the present position, Mr. Kanade practiced for seven years as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India and the Bombay High Court, focusing on issues of fundamental human rights violations. He holds a LL.B. from Nagpur University and a Masters degree in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes from UPEACE. He has served extensively as a legal advisor to many human rights organizations, including those involved with refugee protection, and has represented them before different courts and tribunals in criminal, constitutional, asylum, human rights and labour cases.

Who should apply

The course is intended for staff members of NGOs and government agencies advocating for and servicing asylum-seekers and refugees, staff of inter-governmental agencies and others interested in refugee issues. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA and UPEACE aim to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants. It also possible to audit the course. A Certificate of Participation will be awarded upon successful completion of the course.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 575. Early registration discounts: 25% when paying 8 weeks before the start of the course; 15% when paying 4 weeks before course start.

Tuition for auditors: US$ 215. Early registration discounts: 25% when paying 8 weeks before the start of the course; 15% when paying 4 weeks before course start

Payments can be made online with major credit cards, PayPal and bank transfer. Bulk rates are available.


It is no longer possible to register for this course. For an overview of related courses, please visit our Migration and Asylum programme page.  

Frequently asked questions about HREA's e-learning courses. 



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