Mahanirban Calcutta Research group


Global Protection of Refugees and Migrants in 2023

Concept Note

Global Protection of Refugees and Migrants in 2023

Concept Note 



The agenda for 2023 emerges from the constructive interventions made by CRG during the past few years in the field of research and public activism related to issues of migration, forced migration, human rights, justice, dignity, and peace. It derives sustenance from CRG’s dedication, in recent years, to the particular study of migration and refugee flows. The Kolkata Declaration, adopted during CRG’s Third Annual Research and Orientation Workshop and Conference in 2018, articulated its perspective on the relevant issues. The Afghanistan Declaration emphasised the need to take a view from the South and a more refugee and migrant oriented approach to the task of protection of refugees and migrants and to facilitate all other necessary measures on the basis of non-securitising humanitarian assistance towards the protection of and justice for the victims of war, intervention, violence, minority repression, denial of women and children’s rights and ecological calamity in the form of successive severe droughts in past decades. The Seventh Annual Research and Orientation Workshop and Conference in November was designed in way that would reflect these dimensions. In 2023 also, CRG aspires to continue with a similar approach.

The Annual Orientation Workshop and Conference continues to provide a concrete manifesto which can guide the organisation’s work. The two Declarations (2018 and 2021) emphasise the importance of a holistic understanding of the present refugee and migrant crises. The Workshop and Conference also underline the importance of paying simultaneous attention to the different categories of migrants, pointing out the similarities between these categories, the consequent phenomenon of “mixed and massive population flows”, and the reality that stateless populations face in the form of immediate danger of displacement, total disenfranchisement, and a situation of basic “rightlessness”. CRG’s engagement is also underlined by its realisation that most of the population groups dispossessed of rights belong to the labouring classes of society, and that informal migrant workers form the overwhelming part of refugees and migrants. This perspective will continue to inform CRG’s symbiotic relationship with the world of migration theory and practice. The overall situation is now marked by wars and environmental degradation which has led to greater forced population flows. Founded on its past work, CRG, in the coming year aims to explore and identify alternative knowledge(s) from the everyday life of migrants, refugees, and stateless persons who are victims of wars, conflicts, developmental disasters, and environmental catastrophes.

As in previous years, South Asia and the broader region of the Asian continent will remain the context in which CRG will deploy these ideas, seeking to learn lessons and best practices which could then be advocated for implementation either in the region singularly or, even, globally.

Global protection of the migrants and victims of forced migration will remain the general theme of CRG’s work in this field.

Nourished by the above vision, it is proposed that CRG’s activities during 2022 will have four components:

(a) Annual winter workshop and conference;

(b) Research segment;

(c) Updation of the Handbook of the Keywords on Refugee and Migration Studies

(d) Policy Brief on Climate Change and its Effects

(e) Popular Book on Routes and Ports of Migration

a) Annual Research and Orientation Workshop and Conference on Global Protection of Refugees and Migrants:

This annual residential event—comprising a four-day Workshop and a two-day Conference—is the core of CRG’s annual programme. The event continues to provide a cosmopolitan (while rooted in South Asian experience) platform that brings together young researchers and experts for an intense deliberation on the emerging issues in the global protection of refugees and migrants. The Workshop, interspersed with lectures by experts, features deliberations and face to face discussions among scholar-activists in the form of working groups. The aim is to foster among young researcher-activists the intellectual capacity to cope with the common task of articulating the prevailing challenges in the protection regime. Succeeding the 4-day Workshop, the 2-day Conference, joined by reputed academics and practitioners, then probes these challenges further so as to allow the participants—the young researchers in particular—a formidable understanding of the discipline. Between 2022 and 2024, the event will see its Seventh, Eighth and Ninth editions. In 2021, CRG took the innovative step to provide individual guidance to young researchers in the form of regular meetings and discussions with an assigned tutor in the form of long-distance working group (module) meetings in the months preceding the November Workshop. This mentoring will be continued and developed in the coming years and the pedagogic innovations will continue.

The Eighth Annual Workshop will retain the format of the previous Workshops but there would be additional 3 optional Modules apart from the compulsory 5 Modules. While participants would be assigned the compulsory Module based on the Statement of Purpose they had submitted, they have to choose from any one of the optional Modules.

The task now before CRG is to expand and increasingly diversify the entire programme to further enrich the outcomes. Towards this end, CRG will broaden the area of its focus and extend the reach of the event to other parts of Asia. Further, CRG will redesign the programme along the line of 2021 by incorporating preparatory as well follow-up activities. The preparatory activities, mostly virtual, will ensure that the six days of the event are not overly hectic and will allow more contemplation and sharing of experiences during the event. There would of course, be a Field Visit. Kolkata is a fertile filed on the subject of displacement and migration, and field experiences during the programme will attempt to efficiently utilise the city’s history as one that has been intimately shaped by people on the move.

There can be two ways of organising follow up steps, which are necessary: (a) Young activist-researchers who show commitment and potential during the programme will be offered further opportunities following the programme. These opportunities may be in the form of short-term fellowships, internships, or invitation to other CRG activities. Such an arrangement, whose benefits will be mutual and sustained, may be considered as a component in the funding plan. This will be based on the submission of small-scale innovative proposals. This initiative will merge with the creation of an alumni network of the programme, as well as with the larger aim of building a solidarity network. (b) There can be a follow up programme in the form of a one day or one and half day Workshop in collaboration with another institution on any of the main themes of the Workshop and Conference.

In 2022, CRG followed both the aspects. There was a Follow-Up to the 2021 Workshop in the form of a one-day Workshop where a few participants from 2021 came and discussed about the progress of their work. It was held in collaboration with the IDSK, Kolkata. Apart from this, research grants were given to certain scholars who worked on issues like droughts, climate change, etc., and presented their findings in the 2022 Conference.

In 2023, CRG will follow similar plan and will initiate short-term research grants focussing on climate change. Along with this, there would be Follow-Up in the form of a Dialogue Programme which would seek to look into the interface between media and academics in understanding climate change.

b) Research Segment (Research on New Challenges to the Task of Protection):

CRG’s continuing research on the global protection of refugees and migrants will underwrite the above-mentioned programme of research and orientation on protection of the rights of the migrants and refugees. It will remain be a vital component of the agenda for the next three years. The journey of international refugee law from the early twentieth century to the global compacts of 2018, the evolution in the rights of refugees and migrants which resulted from that journey, and the failures in the fulfilment of those rights will remain to be of interest to CRG as it probes global, regional and national protection regimes from ethical and post-colonial angles. The study of statelessness and the South Asian context of this distressing phenomenon will be inseparably linked, as it ought to be, to the research on protection. The Research Segment for 2023 has been thought out keeping in mind CRG’s continued focus on the emerging areas in migration and forced migration studies. The staff researchers’ research will look into the labour migration and the interfaces of climate change and migration in culture and literature.

c) Updation of the Handbook of the Keywords on Refugee and Migration Studies :

The Compendium on Keywords in Refugee and Migration Studies is an outcome of CRG’s continued research in the field. Apart from researchers and academics, it can be utilised by refugees, migrants, human rights activists, NGOs and INGOs, lawyers and journalists. The preparation of such a compendium will be similar to the two companion volumes of keywords on autonomy (2005) and social justice (2010) prepared by CRG in the last two decades. Later on, if resources permit, CRG will try to translate the volume in few other languages (such as Bengali, Urdu, Nepali, Sinhalese, and Hindi to cover the South Asian region).

d) A Creative Programme - Policy Brief on Climate Change and its Effects :

Climate change and its effects—climate variables like drought, stressors like mining— would be the focus of Policy Briefs. Two eminent scholars of the filed will work on the Policy Briefs. The aim is to achieve a holistic understanding of the nuances of climate change and its agency as a facilitator of migration.

e) A Creative Programme - Popular Book on Routes and Ports of Migration:

A special Popular Book on Routes and Ports of Migration would focus on the changing dynamics of human mobility across the world as the nature of transit points change. It will take into consideration how ports have undergone changes with time and how contemporary digitaisation has altered the traditional ways of migration. The book will thus try to chart a history of the evolution of ports and migration through time. The aim of the project is to disseminate knowledge of migration among the general populace and hence the format of a creative book has been adopted.

Research Segment

Creative Segments

Programmes 2023


Past Programmes 2022


Disseminations / Resources / Important Links

free hit counter
In association with