Asylum Access’ Bahati Kanyamanza Moderates Panel for New Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law

The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law is a groundbreaking new book that critiques international refugee law’s status quo and sets the agenda for future research.

To access their human rights and rebuild their lives, forcibly displaced people need the ability to safely enter states, obtain legal status, move freely, gain employment and access state and private services on an equitable basis with others. Such abilities are granted to refugees by host governments through their local laws, policies and practices — also known as the governance framework. A comprehensive global refugee response requires that all actors support the development of host country governance frameworks that ensure refugees’ human rights and societal participation. The Handbook tells us about the situation for refugees today, and how international protection is—or isn’t—working at a time when mobility is curtailed for so many. 

“Governments need frameworks to ensure that refugees can live safely, move freely, go to work, or go to school, and also access other services and rights. It is the right time for this Handbook,” stated Bahati Kanyamanza, Associate Director of Institutional Engagement at Asylum Access, who moderated the panel.

The Handbook is separated into eight parts

Part I. International Refugee Law: Reflections on the Scholarly Field. This section offers historical, ethical, and political reflections on each national refugee law’s development, and some chapters take a range of normative and ideological perspectives.

Part II. Sources. This section includes obvious sources of international law, not only doctrinal sources but also looking at institutional ones like the role of UNHCR. 

Part III. Regional Regimes. The Handbook has a global focus, and takes a broad conception of regional law and practice with ten chapters devoted to regional areas. 

Part IV. Access to Protection and International Responsibility-Sharing

Part V. The Scope of Refugee Protection

Part VI. Refugee Rights and Realities

Part VII. The End of Refugeehood – Cessation and Durable Solutions This section examines the critical issues of accountability for displacement for refugee rights and violations—which is often overlooked.

Part VIII. Accountability for Displacement and Refugee Rights Violations

We aimed to create a handbook that didn’t replicate or recount the status quo but rather critiqued and set the agenda for future research in the field of international refugee law. While we wanted the book to have broad coverage, we did not want it to simply be a general overview of the field or a purely doctrinal account of refugee law. Instead, we wanted to distill cutting-edge scholarship and explore the boundaries of what international refugee law actually is. We sought to do that in three different ways—geographically, thematically, and temporally,” shared Jane McAdam, Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney. 

The New Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law is a 65-chapter reference work involving 78 authors, including 48 women; the Handbook is global in scope, with ten chapters focusing on specific regions, including Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. To learn more or to purchase the book, please click here

To learn more about the development of The New Oxford Handbook of International Law, you can find the full panel discussion below.