Department of International Refugee Law and Migration Law


The International Institute of Humanitarian Law, through its Department of International Refugee Law and Migration Law, aims at enhancing the knowledge and skills of government and civil society officials engaged in work with people in need of protection. Through its training, capacity-building, and horizontal sharing of experiences, the Department advocates for the safeguarding of human rights in a way that complements and adds to the efforts of donors in the field of protection of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), stateless people and migrants.

The Department’s training programme has built a broad network of international experts affiliated with more than 40 organizations including United Nations agencies, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, and universities. The online courses are hosted in the Institute’s Online Learning Platform, customized according to the needs of our participants, to ensure a quality training experience.

Online Courses

The Online Courses are structured into different content-related modules, with the objective to provide an in-depth analysis of the subjects of the workshops, including cross-cutting issues. The Online Courses are collaborative and highly participatory in nature and are delivered through a mix of theory and practice, aimed at facilitating the learning process and implementing the knowledge gained throughout the workshop.

Participants who attend the online courses are supported by an extensive Online Resource Library including international legal instruments, position papers, documents, and other background materials organized by topics covered during the different courses.

Official certificates of completion of Online Courses are awarded by the Institute and have the same validity as the courses organized in our headquarters in Sanremo. 

Initiatives in Sanremo

Activities in Sanremo include thematic forums, tailored workshops and high-level events. Attendees are engaged in dynamic simulations, case studies, group discussions and practical activities led by skilled facilitators and have the opportunity to interact with practitioners and experts in the field of international protection. These initiatives allow the audience to exchange experiences, best practices and ideas and use their existing skills to deal with complex protection-related issues in a pragmatic manner.

Participants who attend the activities in Sanremo are also provided with individual access to the Institute’s Online Learning Platform and are supported by the Online Resource Library including international legal instruments, position papers, documents, and other background materials organized by topics covered during the different courses.

Official certificates of completion of the in-person trainings are awarded by the Institute.

our headquarters in Sanremo.

Engagement with Academia and Specialized Trainers

The Courses focus on the process of designing and strengthening training programmes, tailored sessions and academic curricula on international refugee law and forced displacement. The Online Courses presents latest design and delivery methodologies, presentation techniques and learning tools that the Sanremo Institute uses in online and face-to-face programme. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from their peers and work with other academics and trainers from all over the world in practical exercises and simulations. The Courses are part of the pledges made by the Department at the Global Refugee Forum in 2019, to support the capacities of governments, academic institutions, civil society and international organizations in the promotion of international refugee law and the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees.

"I commend the International Institute of Humanitarian Law for its efforts to provide training on international humanitarian law, as well as on international refugee law for a variety of audiences."
Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Extract from the message delivered on the occasion of the concluding virtual event
in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law

Our donors

The Department’s activities are possible thanks to the contribution and support of the following donors:

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Swiss State Secretariat for Migration
  • Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
  • United States Department of State (Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration)
  • International Organization for Migration
  • Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
  • United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
  • Institut de Droit de la Paix et du Développement of University of Nice

Latest news from the Department