Migration is as old as humankind. Since the very beginning, our species has been on the move seeking better living environments or escaping threats to its survival. With the dawn of territorial nation states, human cross-border migration became, by definition, a central issue of international relations. Accordingly, there are international organizations and governance arrangements regulating migration and asylum.
Consistent multilateral cooperation, however, is scarce in the policy field. The most encompassing pieces of international migration and refugee law, the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, are frequently violated. Most migration governance is conducted bilaterally and migration crises spawn unilateral responses on a regular basis.
What examples of multilateralism in the governance of migration and refugees can be observed? Which obstacles impede multilateral cooperation in global migration and asylum governance? And how can we explain this lack of multilateralism in a truly international policy field?
This seminar addresses these questions from a positivist analytical perspective. The first part of the course introduces the global governance of migrants and refugees as well as the challenges faced during crises. The second part presents three examples of institutionalized migration and asylum governance: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the so-called Dublin System of European asylum governance. In the third part of the seminar, students conduct and present empirical case studies on migration and asylum governance around the world. The course concludes with a term paper workshop.