International Summer School on Refugee Law – Western Balkans in focus [ISS 2015]


The Centre for Refugee and IDP Studies (CESI) of the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo

Invites you to register for International Summer School on Refugee Law – Western Balkans in focus, with Professor Emerita Barbara Harrell-Bond

Date: 6-16th of July, 2015

University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the last decade countries of Western Balkans, including Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Serbia have been transformed from refugee producing countries to host countries for asylum-seekers and refugees. Moreover, due to ongoing wars and prolonged hostilities in Syria and other parts of the world, it is expected that the number of persons seeking an international protection in the region will grow, thus making further development of the three countries asylum systems an important task.

This year’s International Summer School on refugee law and refugee rights will offer a specific focus on the refugee law and asylum rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. We aim to gather students from different countries with social sciences background, NGO workers and activists to discuss the current challenges of access to international refugee protection in the countries of the Western Balkans, and the responsibilities of both citizens and the state towards them.

The Summer School will employ an interactive learning environment using documentary films and open discussions enabling participants to both contribute to and gain an in-depth knowledge of asylum adjudication procedures, reception and integration policies.


Our training program will cover the following modules:

  • Assessment of 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol
  • The Relevance of International Human Rights Law to Flight from Persecution
  • UNHCR Guidelines on International Protection: “Membership of a particular social group” within the context of Article 1A(2).
  • Assessment of the Female Genital Cutting debate in Africa
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child: Unaccompanied Minor/Separated Children
  • UNHCR Guidance Note on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Statelessness
  • The ethics of Refugee Law
  • Psycho-Social Issues: Medical Evidence in Asylum and Human Rights Appeals
  • Use of Country of origin Information assessment
  • Credibility Assessment in Asylum Procedures
  • Establishment and development of Asylum systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia
  • Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Procedures in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia
  • Reception and integration of Refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia
  • Detention in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia
  • Transit migration, readmission and irregular migration in the Western Balkans
  • UNHCR Guidelines on the Application in Mass Influx Situations of the Exclusion Clauses
  • Internal Protection/Relocation/Flight Alternatives
  • Providing Legal Aid to Refugees: Starting a Refugee Legal Aid Clinic?


Instructors at the course are experienced and committed lawyers, scholars, practitioners and activists in the field that will bring a comparative and locally focused perspective to the international protection debate. They are lead by Professor Emerita Barbara Harrell-Bond, being with us for the third time, supporting CESI work and helping the development of the refugee studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina/ WB region, Nedim Kulenović, doctoral candidate and a lawyer at the Association “Vaša prava Bosnia and Herzegovina”, providing free legal aid in the sector for international protection, Radoš Đurović, LL.M International Law, Belgrade University, Asylum Protection Center-APC, Belgrade, Serbia, Drago Župarić-Iljić, Junior Research Assistant at the institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Zagreb, Croatia, Victoria Smythies, Juris Doctorate, LL.M. International Law, University of Vienna, Grants writer, British Red Cross , Gabriel Bonis, MA, International Relations from Queen Mary, University of London, Refugee Caseworker, British Red Cross and Dr. Selma Porobić , CESI director and forced migration scholar.

The school is open to students from all social sciences backgrounds with admission fee of 500Euros/with considerable discount offered to the participants from the WB region, covering school programme with materials, supervision, tutoring, certificate of participation, food and beverage during the 10-days long training and activities.

CESI invites you to conduct the registration for the ISS 2015 by sending your letter of interest and CV by 1st of June, 2015 by email to


pdf-logo-s pdf-logo-s pdf-logo-s
OPEN CALL: CESI ISS 2015 Usual questions about ISS
on Refugee Law
CESI Summer School Brief


With sincere regards,

CESI team

Student’s comments on ISS2014:

Lea Pehnec, graduating law student at University of Zagreb and a volunteer working on integration of refugees at Center for Peace studies, Zagreb, Croatia:

“Jako sam sretna što sam sudjelovala na ljetnoj školi ove godine. Sve je bilo odlično organizirano, program zanimljiv, a nešto od naučenog već sam uspjela primijeniti u svom angažmanu. Drago mi je da sam uspjela upoznati ljude iz drugih zemalja koji se bave sličnom djelatnošću te imala priliku učiti od nekog s Vašim znanjem i iskustvom u ovom području. ” / “I am truly happy for attending this year’s school. Everything was well organized, the programme was very interesting, and I was already able to apply some of the learned skills upon the return to my work. I am very glad to have met people from other countries who work in the similar field and for having been given the opportunity to learn from such an experienced scholars in this field. “

Dan Villegas, MA in International Development and International Relations, Florida International University, Miami, USA, UNDP in Mozambique in 2010, international electoral advisor in Georgia and Kazakhstan and electoral advisor for UNMIT (United Nations Mission in East Timor) in 2012-2013:

“I must compliment the Centre for Refugee and IDP Studies (CESI) in Sarajevo on the excellent training I attended in Bosnia! We had a myriad of brilliant refugee law speakers, led by Dr. Barbara Harell-Bond-, an icon in this field, who applied a perfect combination of technical expertise, humor, patience and experience to showcase the complexity of refugee law. We covered so much more than I would ever have expected, and so thoroughly!! It was so far superior to any previous training I may have exposed to. CESI is an extraordinary center located at the heart of Sarajevo, Bosnia led by a tireless and forward-looking director, Selma Porobic. I can’t wait for more to be available next year. Thank you for making the whole experience so worthwhile”

Cassidy Rappaport, undergraduate student in refugee studies, human rights, cultural anthropology and law at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and an intern at Fahamu Refugee Programme, Oxford, UK:

“Despite the many highlights of the course, one moment encapsulated the essence of the reasons we had come together to study. One participant, a Syrian refugee, bravely told her story and experiences in Syria. As for that botany question, she answered it:

With a small, crumbling, piece of chalk, she doodled a picture of a little plant with a childlike sun situated above it. She then drew an identical plant but the sun was gone with snowflakes surrounding it. She asked ‘What happens when a plant is uprooted from its home to a new, harsh environment?’ As you probably said as well, a fellow participant exclaimed: ‘It dies’.

‘No’ she declared, ‘Not if it has someone nurturing it, providing sunlight, warmth, food, and care.’ She continued ‘Just like refugees, uprooted from their homes and placed in harsh and different environments, they can die and deteriorate but not if there are people, people like you, to ensure it survives’ And in those few words came the essence of the course – a lesson at the heart of righting injustice suffered by refugees. “

To view the school pictures taken by Jusitna Gornyak, CESI intern and ERMA student, please click here:
CESI ISS 2014 Photo Gallery