Right to asylum

Learning goals

What is the right to asylum? How is it currently applied, and where is it headed? In this module, we will learn how and why this right came into being, what form it has taken since the Second World War, the reasons behind recent developments affecting it, what forms it takes around the world, and how it has found specific expressions in a range of different historical and political contexts and periods.

With the collaboration of:

Photography: Galdric Peñarroja.


– Gain knowledge of the right to asylum, its philosophical and political foundations, its historical origins and the ways in which it is applied.
– Learn about its recent evolution in relation to the European obsession with ‘migration control’, and its legal and personal consequences.


– Analyse the evolution of the right to asylum and political and governmental approaches to it. Analyse the impact of changes in approaches to the right to asylum for refugees.
– Apply a critical, anticolonial and intersectional perspective in analysis of the evolution and implementation of the right to asylum.


– Engage with and develop critical thinking towards the philosophical and political construction of the right to asylum and its practical application.
– Encourage commitment to the defence of human rights and in particular the right to asylum, upholding them in the face of authoritarian and xenophobic trends, and working to offset the causes that push people to seek refuge and asylum.

The outsourcing of migration control and the consequences for the right to asylum

The outsourcing of migration control – that is, the delegation of control and repression of the movement of people to non-European countries – also has consequences for the right to asylum. This results in a de facto outsourcing of asylum, insofar as restrictions are applied indiscriminately towards all people on the move. Given that there are no safe channels to Europe for refugees seeking asylum, they are forced to resort to ‘intermediaries’ to follow very costly, long and above all exceptionally violent and dangerous migratory routes, during the course of which they are subject to mistreatment, exploitation, racism and violence.