PROTECT - The Right to International Protection. A Pendulum between Globalization and Nativization?

February 2020 to January 2025
refugee protection
refugee protection governance
human rights
right to international protection
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
Research fields
Law and Political Science

PROTECT studies the impacts of the United Nations’ Global Refugee Compact and Global Migration Compact on the functioning of the international refugee protection systemThis investigation is done from the perspectives of political theory, legal theory, cleavage theory, public sphere theory, multilevel global governance, and ethnography.

The entities focused on are the UNHCR and IOM (the global level), the European Union and the African Union (regional level), EU countries, Canada and South Africa (state level), and Canadian, South-African, and South-European border zones (the local level).

Empirically, PROTECT engages in extensive legal, institutional, attitudinal, and media content data collection. As part of its empirical work, it aims to identify the changes in the notion of refugee protection due to the introduction of the two UN Global Compacts.

Conceptually, PROTECT endeavors to develop a notion of refugee protection that is sensitive to the current political realities. Theoretically, it aspires to develop a theory explaining why a notion of refugee and refugee protection governance, and not other competing notions, wins the race at the global level.

PROTECT aims to (i) develop the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological tools needed to understand the right to international protection as a multilevel and trans-level phenomenon, (ii) identify whether or how the objectives and substance of the Global Compacts are aligned with the right to international protection (the rights dimension), (iii) assess which governance modes (actors, structures, and networks) serve best the goal of aligning the Global Compacts with the right to international protection (the governance dimension), (iv) detect societal discourses which promote the recognition of the primacy of human rights and the right to international protection (the recognition dimension), and (vi) based on the all that, discover ways of aligning the Global Compacts with human rights and the right to international protection.