Alternative pathways for Refugee Protection in the Global South

2 March 2022

The presentations will look at three countries whose domestic legislation and international commitments differ widely: Bangladesh, who has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention; Brazil, who has ratified the Convention and has some of the most liberal migration and refugee legislation in the world; and Turkey, who has ratified the Convention but with a geographical limitation. How is refugee protection understood and implemented these countries? Which domestic policies apply for diverse groups of forcibly displaced persons? Who are the main policymaking and implementing actors in each country and how do they ‘shape’ refugee protection? To answer these questions, this Webinar will show some results of the research that has been done in the framework of the H2020 ASILE project. The three presentations will look at the interaction between domestic and international norms and will explain the role of the implementing actors in refugee governance in each country.

Migrants or refugees? The non-differentiation between legal categories in Brazil, by Leiza Brumat, MPC, EUI


Brazil, a country that is governed by a far-right President who has been repeatedly hostile towards migrants and refugees, has the highest regularisation rate of Venezuelan nationals in South America (74% against an average rate below 50% in the rest of the countries). Brazil is also the only country in South America that has recognised large numbers of Venezuelan citizens as refugees while, at the same time, it has adopted a longer-term regularisation policy based on a regional agreement, the Mercosur Residency Agreement. How can this seemingly contradictory policy approach be explained? This presentation will show why and how, in practice, Brazil makes no difference between ‘migrants’ and ‘refugees’. The forcibly displaced persons are the ones who can ‘choose’ the legal status that they want to apply to. These ‘regularisation’ routes – by providing residence and migratory status, without making any distinction between these legal categories- resulted in the largest regularisation rate in South America and can be seen as a way for the Brazilian state to address the issue of irregularity and increase its control over its territory and population. By studying the case of Brazil, this presentation will shed light on policy approaches that challenge the sharp discursive, political and legal distinctions between migrant and refugee that prevail in the Global North, especially in Europe.

Refugees without ‘refugee’ status: The ad-hoc patters of hospitable protections in Bangladesh, by Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman, University of Dhaka


Bangladesh, one of the leading refugee-host countries, neither is a party to any legally binding international instrument dealing with the protection of refugees nor has any domestic law providing for granting asylum or refugee status. In this legal void, nearly one million Rohingya refugees sheltered in camps are not officially or legally recognised as ‘refugees’. The framework for their protection is not ‘rights-based’ and its extent largely depends on ad-hoc policies based on hospitality and mercy of the executive. While the current policies are supportive of providing essential humanitarian services to camp-based refugees, they put restrictions on their movement and right to work. Against this backdrop, this presentation will shed light on the factors behind Bangladesh’s ambivalence and hesitancy towards international as well as domestic legal protection mechanism for refugees. Unless and until these factors are properly addressed by domestic and international actors, it would be difficult – this presentation will argue- to ensure a ‘rights-based’ protection framework for refugees.

Temporary without a limit? A critical overview of Turkey’s protection laws and policies, by Meltem Ineli Ciger, Süleyman Demirel University

Turkey today hosts the largest number of refugees in the world including more than 3.7 million forcibly displaced Syrians. Turkey is a party to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees but maintains a geographical limitation to the Convention. With the standing reservation to the said Convention, Turkey is not obligated to grant refugee status to asylum seekers coming from outside Europe. Turkey’s reservation to the 1951 Convention has long shaped its asylum laws and policies and it still does to date. Turkey has been protecting Syrians under a temporary protection regime since 2011. Turkey has yet to set a maximum time limit on the temporary protection regime which has already been in place for more than eleven years. This presentation revisits the findings of the author in Protecting Syrians in Turkey: a legal analysis. (2017). International Journal of Refugee Law, 29(4), 555-579. In doing so, the presentation seeks to critically analyse Turkish asylum laws and policies and in particular protection of Syrian refugees in Turkey in view of recent changes in the Turkish Law on Foreigners and International Protection and the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016.


Sergio Carrera

Migration Policy Centre, EUI and CEPS


Leiza Brumat


Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman

University of Dhaka

Meltem Ineli Ciger

Süleyman Demirel University

Event details

Date: 02.03.2022, Wednesday

Time: 15:00 – 16:15