ASILE Training School – Containing refugees and migrants? Allocating and Attributing Responsibility for Human Rights Violations

Call for Applications

Application Deadline – 6th July 2022 at 10pm

A two-day and a half training seminar for PhD researchers specialized on migration, refugee and human rights studies who are in the final stages of completion or having been granted the doctorate within the last 3 years and Master students having completed a degree in the field of international migration, asylum and refugee studies within the last 2 years.

Multi-disciplinary and insights are encouraged form law, political science, geography, IR, sociology, migration studies, anthropology and other relevant perspectives. A key aim is to allow participants to work with leading scholars, practitioners and each other in order to support and develop their own research.

The Training School will be hosted by the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) of the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, in partnership with the Justice and Home Affairs Section of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) which will be responsible for leading the overall organization of the event. The Training School will take place between the 18 and 20 October 2022.

There is not a fee required for taking part in this Training School. The selected researchers will be expected to participate in person and be granted a scholarship covering their main participation costs, including their flight tickets, accommodation and subsistence costs. This Training school is organized within the framework of ASILE, a project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, coordinated by Sergio Carrera (CEPS).

Description and topics covered

The second ASILE Training Seminar (ATS) will focus on the state of the art in international and EU law when it comes to responsibility allocation, attribution and accountability for violations of migrant and refugee rights in the context of migration control policies and practices. The program will take an international comparative perspective by exploring identified gaps in fundamental rights compliance linked with migration and asylum management policies adopted in different countries and world regions.

A specific focus will be put on ‘contained mobility’ policies and initiatives implemented by states and other actors within the framework of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular migration (GCM). Furthermore, the ATS will examine the role of variation in governance systems in accounting for the key forms, sources and implications of variation in adaptation to global norms and standards, including the GCR and mobilisations by civil society organisations to safeguard or promote standards and protect the rights of migrant and refugees.

Adopting an interdisciplinary, multi-actor and multilevel perspective, the ATS will identify key human rights obligations towards migrants and asylum seekers, assess the level of compliance with these obligations in the context of relevant policy instruments and identify gaps and key issues in existing international and regional responsibility attribution laws and standards.

Selected case and/or country studies will cover different instruments and actors in areas such as: border control and surveillance (including push backs); Search and Rescue (SAR) at sea (‘pull backs’); and the role of funding in support of external cooperation and capacity building on migration and asylum governance. Attention will be paid to specific issues related to various kinds of instruments through which contained mobility is being designed and implemented, including policy (non-legally binding) arrangements as well as financial and surveillance tools.

The ATS will examine European Union (EU) actors and their cooperation with third countries, given the key role played by EU institutions and agencies and its member states in shaping and implementing global, national and local responses on migration and asylum governance in the context of the GCR and GCM. Relevant experiences in other world regions and countries will be also central in the Training School. This will include an assessment and comparative analysis of the key issues and ways in which other countries and regions around the world are dealing with similar or distinct issues of responsibility attribution and jurisdiction in the context of extraterritorial migration and asylum management and offshoring.

The different panels will explore possible ways to address identified legal/judicial, political/democratic and financial accountability gaps in cases of fundamental rights violations – including internationally wrongful acts and crimes against humanity – linked to contained mobility and cooperative deterrence policies. They will focus on the specific issues related to the increasing involvement of EU actors, international organisations, the private sector and non-governmental organisations, as well as the roles and impacts of judicial and non-judicial actors, including international, regional and courts, United Nations Treaty Bodies, civil society actors and parliaments in upholding justice.

Participants could consider the following research questions:

  • What are the key features and dynamics of ‘contained mobility’ policies, including extraterritorial or transnational migration control practices implemented by state and non-state actors in different world regions (in areas such as border control and surveillance, SAR and pull backs, and the use of funding to carry out training or delegating migration management responsibilities and promoting the criminalization of human smuggling and irregular migration in third countries)?
  • What are the key standards protecting the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants laid down in international and regional refugee and human rights law, and the laws on international responsibility in cases of internationally wrongful acts and crimes against humanity, that are relevant when addressing the consequences contained mobility policies and practices?
  • What are the specificities of different regional human rights systems on aspects such as extraterritorial jurisdiction and attribution of responsibility? Are there any cross-region or cross-country commonalities as regards responsibility attribution standards and challenges? What are the ones related to the EU, in particular when looking at the role of European institutions and agencies such as Frontex or the EU asylum agency?
  • What are the most relevant and recent cases concerning violations of migrants and asylum seekers fundamental rights brought to regional human rights courts/commissions and UN bodies and what impact could emerging case-law have on state and non-state actors’ practices? What have been the main connecting factors and links in determining human rights jurisdiction by each of these actors, and are there any relevant variations or responsibility gaps?
  • Can the GCR and GCM, as non-legally binding instruments, produce any kind of legal effects impacting on states migration policies and practices? How could the key guiding legal principles included in the two Compacts be leveraged upon to increase adherence with international human rights and protection standards towards migrants and refugees? What are the sources and effects in the organization of national asylum governance systems in adapting (or not) to the GCR and the GCM, the partnership principle (involving states, regional and international organisations, civil society and private sector), and what issues of accountability and responsibility attribution do these raises?

Learning outcomes

Participants will:

  • Develop an enhanced understanding of fundamental rights issues and responsibility allocation, attribution/accountability issues and gaps raised by emerging migration and asylum governance policies and practices in different parts of the world.
  • Expand their ability to formulate policy and legal solutions/recommendations to ensure responsibility, ‘portable justice’ and adherence of migration policies and practices with fundamental rights and protection standards.
  • Know more about the kinds of actors that are involved in international protection and global asylum governance, including in the field of human rights protection, and their different roles and interactions, as well as the emerging kinds of instruments used to evade or shift responsibilities.
  • Gain tools to develop new ideas building from promising practices and evidence-based tools for the development of human rights-compliant migration and refugee policies.
  • Engage in an international academic-policy dialogue about current and future issues for the monitoring the implementation of the UN GCR and GCM.


This Training school will adopt an innovative, comparative perspective combining high-level academic insight with the views and insights of early career researchers. This will enable participants to hone their knowledge and upgrade their skills in understanding the specific fundamental rights and protection issues of asylum and migration governance instruments in diverse world settings, while also developing an enhanced understanding of key comparative themes across regions. This seminar will provide the participants with intensive training sessions facilitating specialization on these topics.

The structure of the two day and a half training school will be as follows:

  • The training school will combine presentations by academics and high-experienced practitioners with the participation of the students.
  • There will one plenary session with high profile speakers.
  • There will be a set of panels composed of a group of papers by the students and two/three discussants acting as commentators and reviewers of the papers being presented. Students’ papers will be discussed by leading scholars, including ASILE consortium members and other external academics.
  • The Training Sessions will allow the attendants to present their own research and to deepen their knowledge on the subjects covered by the project together with the partners of the network as well as external experts, academics and practitioners.


  • PhD researchers with a strong research background in international migration and asylum, and human rights, who are in final stages of completion or having been granted the doctorate not earlier than 3 years before the starting of the Training School.
  • Master students having completed a degree in the field of international migration, asylum and refugee studies not earlier than 2 years before om the starting date of the Training School.
  • An excellent working knowledge (speaking and writing) of English;
  • The availability to attend the entire programme in person.
  • Participants are required to present at the training school a research paper that will be presented and commented by the rest of the participants during the training seminar. The final draft of the research paper will be delivered by 12 September 2022.
  • The participation of refugee, temporary protection and asylum seekers scholars is encouraged and promoted.


To apply participants will need to submit:

  • An extended abstract of their proposed research paper contribution (1 page max.)
  • A motivation letter explaining why and how they will benefit from participation (1 page max.)
  • A CV (4 pages max.)

Please send your application to the following email address: info.asileproject@ceps.eu