Public event

Undoing Discriminatory Borders

This seminar is hosted by the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford and the Hertie School Centre for Fundamental Rights.

This seminar discusses a recent Symposium issue of AJIL Unbound on Undoing Discriminatory Borders, which was co-edited by Professor Cathryn Costello and Dr Catherine Briddick.

“The distribution of migration opportunities globally is deeply unequal, with nationals of some generally wealthy, stable, states benefitting from far greater migration opportunities than those from poorer, or unstable ones. An examination of any individual state's migration controls also often reveals problematic patterns of disadvantage. Contemporary migration controls frequently disadvantage women, racial and religious groups, and those whose sexual orientation, gender-identity or family status departs from the nuclear hetero-norm. To many, it is unsurprising that discrimination is rife in migration laws and controls, given that these practices reflect nationalist, colonial, and postcolonial projects of racialized and gendered exclusion and subordination. And yet, with a few notable exceptions the question of the legality of discrimination at borders is underexplored.”

Briddick, C., & Costello, C. (2021). Introduction to the Symposium on Undoing Discriminatory Borders. AJIL Unbound, 115, 328-332.

This seminar discusses the circumstances in which these inequalities, within and across states, are legally discriminatory.


Shreya Atrey, Professor of International Human Rights Law at University of Oxford


E. Tendayi Achiume, Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles and UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance) | ‘Digital Racial Borders’,

Cathryn Costello, Professor of Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School and Co-Director of its Centre for Fundamental Right | ‘Race Discrimination Effaced at the ICJ’.

Catherine Briddick, Lecturer in Gender and International Human Rights and Refugee Law at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford | ‘When Does Migration Law Discriminate Against Women?’

Anuscheh Farahat, Professor of Public Law, Migration Law and Human Rights Law at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg | ‘Discrimination Inside: Non-Discrimination as a Tool of Migrant Integration’

Liav Orgad, Head of the Project Group “International Citizenship Law” at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Director of the Research Group “Global Citizenship Governance” at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, the European University Institute (EUI), Faculty Member at the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies, and an Associate Professor at the Lauder School of Government Diplomacy and Strategy, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya | ‘When is Immigration Selection Discriminatory?’

Colm O’Cinneide, Professor of Constitutional and Human Rights Law at University College London (UCL) | ‘Why Challenging Discrimination at Borders is Challenging (and Often Futile)’


Related information

  • This seminar is hosted by the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford and the Hertie School Centre for Fundamental Rights. It is part of the Undoing Discriminatory Borders research project.