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Learn refugee law with online courses and programs

Refugee law addresses human rights issues focused on the protection of displaced persons due to conflict, economic distress, and other risk factors. It seeks to support stateless individuals, asylum seekers, and refugees worldwide through legal protection.

What is refugee law?

International refugee law was designated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at the 1951 Refugee Convention. The resulting Universal Declaration of Human Rights provided a foundation for international humanitarian law, which includes the protection and support of refugees.

The Declaration also defines a refugee as an individual who is fleeing their home country in an attempt to escape dangerous conditions. These may involve fears of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, or sexual preference, which may come in the form of violence, conflict, human rights abuses, or other life-threatening circumstances.

From non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and political groups to activists and social workers, there are many different people involved in enforcing refugee rights. With online courses on edX, you can learn ways to champion refugee interests as a citizen or in a professional capacity.

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Refugee law course curriculum

What is asylum? What are the principles related to refugee law? Who should be recognized and protected as a refugee? If you’re curious about the answers to these questions, online courses can give you the skills to:

  • Formulate legal reasoning on refugees’ right to asylum and international protection.

  • Define and apply the concepts of asylum and refugee status.

  • Analyze case law decisions of international, regional, and national courts and tribunals relating to asylum and refugee law.

  • Criticize or justify the reasoning of an asylum authority in order to develop arguments in a decision or appeal.

  • Question and imagine the future challenges in the field of asylum.

  • Ensure well-constructed advocacy on international refugee law.

  • Analyze asylum claims in detail.

edX offers online courses that allow learners to study a variety of topics including refugee law, social work, and much more. ‌Sign up for an accelerated boot camp, or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree, or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals.

Explore jobs related to refugee law

Refugee law is complicated and can be difficult to navigate, especially for those who need it most. There are many people involved in providing assistance to refugees seeking proper protections and helping them advocate for themselves, including:

  • Human rights lawyer: Works on issues related to human rights violations, including those affecting refugees.Footnote 1

  • Policy analyst: Analyzes policies related to refugees, advocates for changes in legislation, and works to raise awareness about refugee issues.Footnote 2

  • Social worker: Provides essential assistance to refugees and asylum seekers, such as psychosocial support, integration, and accessing social services.Footnote 3

  • Translator: Helps bridge language barriers, ensuring effective communication between refugees and representatives in legal proceedings.Footnote 4

  • Journalist: Raises awareness and influences public opinion and policies related to refugees and asylum seekers.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in social work or journalism, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.