University of London

Small Navigation Menu

Primary Menu

Asylum and refugees in Africa and Latin America: regional models for refugee protection in the global south


This module explores the regional frameworks and approaches for refugee movements in Africa and Latin America.

Topics covered

The module draws attention to the strong similarities between the African and Latin American contexts in terms of the nature of refugee problems and the regional responses adopted, including:

  • The proud history of regional and constitutional forms of asylum in the post-colonial era on the continents of Africa and Latin America
  • The broad dynamics of refugee movements in the two continents
  • African Union (AU) system for the protection of refugees, and the role of human rights institutions in addressing displacement in the African context
  • The 1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees as the basis for regional protection in the Latin American context and the framework for the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers through human rights law

Learning outcomes

The module seeks to impart a solid critical understanding of the key components, standards and mechanisms of the African and Latin American asylum systems. You will learn how to evaluate comparatively the connections between refugee protection, political asylum and human rights in contexts outside the global North and construct, advance and defend legal and policy arguments based on regional asylum law in Africa and the Americas.


This elective module is assessed via a 4,000-word research essay, which comprises 70% of the overall grade, and three online assessments (E-tivities), which make up 30% of the overall grade.

Module team

Reem Alsalem, module convenor

Reem Alsalem - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Reem is an independent consultant that specialises in humanitarian and refugee issues. Since November 2016, she has been working for the Americas Bureau of UNHCR on protection policy issues. Prior to that she was a staff member for UNHCR for 17 years. In the course of her career with UNHCR, she has served on all continents in conflict and post conflict settings.

Reem has an MA from the University of Oxford in International Human Rights Law (2003) and an MA in International Relations from the American University of Cairo (1999).