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Department of Comparative Politics
Research project

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

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The project will study the impacts of the United Nations’ ‘Global Refugee Compact’ and ‘Global Migration Compact’ on the functioning of the international refugee protection system.
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PROTECT is an international project which is funded by the European Commission under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework programme (Call H2020-SC6-MIGRATION-2018-2020, Topic MIGRATION-07-2019). PROTECT will study the impacts of the United Nations’ ‘Global Refugee Compact’ and ‘Global Migration Compact’ on the functioning of the international refugee protection system. It will be conducted by an international consortium of 11 universities in Europe, Canada and South Africa. The PROTECT Consortium is led by Professor Hakan G. Sicakkan on behalf of the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen.

About the project

PROTECT will study the impacts of the United Nations’ ‘Global Refugee Compact’ and ‘Global Migration Compact’ on the functioning of the international refugee protection system. This investigation will be 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 an 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.

We will (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 above, discover ways of aligning the Global Compacts with human rights and the right to international protection.

Partner universities

Participant organization name

Lead Researchers

Country

Universitetet i Bergen (Coordinator)

Hakan G. Sicakkan (PI)

Norway

Queen Mary University of London

Elspeth Guild

UK

Justus Liebig Universität Giessen

Jürgen Bast

Germany

Universiteit Ghent

Frank Caestecker

Belgium

University of Surrey

Simon Usherwood

UK

Universita degli Studi di Catania

Francesca Longo

Italy

Ryerson University

Idil Atak

Canada

Univerza V Ljubljani

Slavko Splichal

Slovenia

Lunds universitet

Anamaria Dutceac Segesten

Sweden

University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg

Jo Vearey

South Africa

Universität Stuttgart

Raphael Heiberger

Germany