Rights of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

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Displaced people fleeing human rights violations give up their homes in the search for safety. The displaced are vulnerable to further rights abuses and therefore need the protection of international institutions and foreign countries. Since the end of World War I, the international community has recognised the need to cooperate on refugee issues. As a result, international and regional treaties have been developed (and continue to evolve) and national governments have had to enact policies and mechanisms to integrate refugee populations. These policies do not always serve the interests of the refugee. The majority of people displaced from their homes never cross an international border and are in some ways even more vulnerable because few of the legal instruments apply to internally displaced persons. This rapid e-course gives an overview of the institutions and mechanisms that serve to protect refugees and internally displaced persons.

Features of the Rights of Refugees rapid e-course

The course combines text with rich multimedia, including videos and podcasts. Knowledge checks reinforce the information learned. 


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(To view demo, Flash Player must be installed. Get it here.)

Course outline

– Overview and history of international protection

The role of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
– The evolving mandate of UNHCR

International protection of refugees
– Understand the 1951 Refugee Convention and its Protocol
– Asylum seekers in a state of limbo

Regional protection of refugees
– African Union: Progress towards protecting the internally displaced
– Council of Europe: Protection of the European Convention on Human Rights
– Organization of American States: The Cartagena Declaration on Refugees

National protection of refugees
– Where asylum seekers go

– Developments in legislation and the tightening of regulations

Internally displaced persons
– The different rights of the internally displaced
– Who can assist the internally displaced
– The UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

Format of course

This rapid e-course is "self-paced": learners can proceed at their own speed. The course can be accessed at any time that is convenient. There is no instructor. Instead, the learner interacts directly with the content. The course can take between 3 and 6 hours to complete. For those wanting more detail, the course also links to relevant supplementary documents and websites. Because the course is self-paced, learners can complete it in a day, or spread their participation over days, weeks, or even months. Successful completion of a final test earns the participant a certificate of completion.

Technical requirements

• Internet access • Adobe Flash Player (*free* - get the most recent version here)


Tuition for this rapid e-course is € 75. Tuition payments can be made on-line by credit card (American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa), PayPal or bank transfer.

How to register

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