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The Michigan Guidelines

Between 1998 and 2017, the Program in Refugee and Asylum Law hosted eight Colloquia on Challenges in International Refugee Law, which brought leading academic experts and practitioners from around the world to Ann Arbor to identify a strategy for confronting a cutting-edge problem in refugee protection.

Michigan Guidelines on the International Protection of Refugees, 1998-2007

The Colloquium has produced eight sets of unanimously agreed Michigan Guidelines on cutting-edge concerns related to asylum and refugee law. The Guidelines are frequently cited by courts around the world and help shape the way judges, lawyers, and other decision-makers look at a refugee issue.

Michigan Guidelines on Refugee Freedom of Movement (2017) | French Developed an understanding of the right of refugees to freedom of movement - spanning the refugee journey from departure to seek protection to eventual return home if and when protection is restored - that synthesizes relevant norms of international refugee and human rights law.

Michigan Guidelines on Risk for Reasons of Political Opinion (2015) | French  Addressed the proper interpretation of "political opinion" in a manner that ensures both fidelity to international law and the continuing vitality of the Refugee Convention.

Michigan Guidelines on the Exclusion of International Criminals (2013) | French  | Spanish  Analyzed the circumstances in which persons who have committed crimes against humanity and other international offenses are to be excluded from refugee protection.

Michigan Guidelines on the Right to Work (2009) | French Addressed the right to work for refugees, including those seeking asylum, in the country of arrival.

Michigan Guidelines on Protection Elsewhere (2006) | Arabic | French | Russian Took up the question of the lawfulness of rules and procedures that purport to assign the responsibility to protect refugees to some country other than that in which the refugee has sought, or intends to seek, protection (e.g. "country of first arrival," "safe third country," and extraterritorial processing rules and practices.)

Michigan Guidelines on Well-Founded Fear (2004) | Arabic | French | Russian Addressed why the focus of this aspect of the refugee definition is fundamentally objective, even as it requires that account be taken of the particular circumstances of each applicant for refugee status.

Michigan Guidelines on Nexus to a Convention Ground (2001) | Arabic | French | Russian  Defined the meaning and application of the "for reasons of" clause in the Convention refugee definition.

Michigan Guidelines on the Internal Protection Alternative (1999) | Arabic  | French | Russian  Determined under what circumstances state parties to the Convention and Protocol may lawfully compel a refugee claimant to seek or accept protection in a state not of his or her own choosing.


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