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Protecting human rights, refugees and displaced persons in international law


This core module provides you – regardless of whether you have a legal background or not - with a firm understanding of the fundamentals of international law in relation to the protection of refugees and human rights.

Topics covered

  • Key concepts, standards and mechanisms in public international law, international human rights law and international refugee law
  • Military interventions and the use of force between States
  • Who is a refugee?
  • Refugee rights and the impact of large-scale refugee flows
  • Complementary protection under human rights law
  • Implementation and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Refugee status procedures

Learning outcomes

This module seeks to impart a critical understanding of the key concepts, standards and mechanisms of international law as applied to the protection of refugees and displaced persons. You will learn to build, deploy and defend legal arguments concerning the fundamentals of refugee and human rights protection, and apply these legal frameworks to practical scenarios based on contemporary factual situations.


Each core module is assessed via a final item of coursework, which comprises 70% of the overall grade, and five online assessments (E-tivities), which make up 30% of the overall grade.

Module team

Matthew Scott, module convenor

Matthew Scott - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Matthew is a UK-qualified solicitor and a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law at Lund University in Sweden. His research examines the scope of the non-refoulement obligation in the context of disasters and climate change. His research is part-funded by the European Refugee Fund and he is part of the Lund/Uppsala Migration Law Network (LUMIN).

He teaches at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in asylum and immigration law and has delivered external training under the auspices of the Odysseus Academic Network.

Before commencing doctoral research he practiced asylum and immigration law at the Immigration Advisory Service in the United Kingdom. He has also worked for the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Nikolas Feith Tan - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Nikolas Feith Tan is a PhD fellow at the Danish Institute for Human Rights and Aarhus University in international refugee law. Nikolas' doctorate looks at international cooperation and access to asylum under international human rights and refugee law.

Nikolas has taught refugee and human rights law at the Aarhus University, Aalborg University and University of London. In addition, he acts as a legal advisor and consultant to the Danish Refugee Council on international asylum complaints and policy. An Australian lawyer admitted to practice, Nikolas is a former officer of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

He holds a Master of Law from the University of Copenhagen and Bachelors of Law and Arts (Political Science) from the University of Melbourne. Nikolas is currently a guest scholar at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Lund.

Pauline Endres de Oliveira, module convenor

Pauline Endres de Oliveira - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Pauline Endres de Oliveira is a human rights lawyer from Berlin, who worked as Consultant for UNHCR Germany from 2013 - 2015. She is an editorial board member of the Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration (, Germany’s main independent institution providing background information for asylum and migration practitioners. She is a lecturer in asylum and migration law at the Humboldt University Berlin (Refugee Law Clinic) and board member of Amnesty International Germany.

Pauline studied law at the Humboldt University Berlin and the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, with legal traineeships in Brazil, London and Rome. She is now enrolled as PhD fellow at the University in Gießen (supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bast), focusing on the topic of legal access to international protection in the EU. In 2016, she was a visiting study fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford.

Eleni Karageorgiou, module convenor

Eleni Karageorgiou - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Eleni Karageorgiou is a qualified lawyer (Athens Bar Association) and a PhD candidate in public international law at Lund University, Sweden. Her research explores the functions and implications of the principle of solidarity and responsibility sharing in EU asylum law and policies and forms part of the Lund/Uppsala Migration Law Network (L/UMIN).

Prior to commencing her doctoral studies, Eleni worked for the Greek Asylum Appeal Committees and before that, in migration law practice. Her research interests include theory of international law, international and regional human rights systems, non-citizens’ rights, refugee law and gender, the Common European Asylum System, ECtHR and CJEU asylum jurisprudence.

Christel Querton, module convenor

Christel Querton - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Christel is a practising barrister and a doctoral candidate at Newcastle University. Her comparative research explores judicial decision-making in the context of asylum claims made by persons fleeing armed conflict and generalised violence. In particular her research examines whether women and girls who flee armed conflicts and seek international protection in the European Union (‘EU’) are adequately protected in a manner which takes account of specific forms of gender-related persecution or gender-based violence and in particular the gender-differentiated impact of armed conflict. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2016-2019). Christel is particularly interested in the concept of gender dynamics in international refugee law and decision-making and is a Research Affiliate at the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London.

Christel was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2013 (Middle Temple) and is an asylum, immigration and human rights barrister at Lamb Building. She is also a Trustee of the Asylum Research Consultancy Foundation and a member of the Women’s Project Advisory Committee at Asylum Aid. Christel was previously employed at Asylum Aid (2010-2012) and Wilson Solicitors LLP (2009-2010).