International Refugee Law

The Institute has been offering general Courses on International Refugee Law since 1982. They are organized in close co-operation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration and the US State Department (Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration).

The International Refugee Law Courses have been developed primarily to train government officials who are involved in the formulation and application of law and policy for the benefit of refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and other persons in need of protection. Over the years, the courses have increasingly welcomed members of civil society organizations, scholars and researchers, parliamentarians, judges and their staff, humanitarian workers and others engaged in advocacy and protection work at all levels.

The International Refugee Law Courses aim to:

  • Promote law, principles and policies relating to the protection of persons in need of international protection;
  • Develop a common understanding among participants on how these laws and policies can be promoted and implemented at the national level by a variety of stakeholders;
  • Enhance the skills of participants in developing and applying policies and standards in conformity with international law;
  • Develop a positive attitude among participants towards the protection of refugees and other displaced people.

During the five-day course participants have a unique opportunity to interact not only with each other, but also with recognised international experts who facilitate the various thematic sessions of the programme. Different participatory methodologies (e.g. simulations, role-play, case studies and mapping exercises) are used in order to maximize learning. Real-time evaluation prepares participants to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in their professional practice. These courses, the contents and methodology of which are regularly updated, are now available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. Other courses on specific thematic are also organised on ad hoc basis.

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