The Women in Refugee Law (WiRL) network was set up in 2021 by Dr Christel Querton (UWE Bristol) and Dr Moira Dustin (University of Sussex) to bring together asylum seeking and refugee women, senior and early career scholars, practitioners, policymakers and activists working in this field around the globe. The purpose of the network is to re-centre the study of refugee women within refugee law, policy and practice. In particular, the initiative challenges the assumption that legal and policy changes in the last 30 years have displaced the need for continued research and advocacy efforts. It aims to safeguard advances and identify contemporary obstacles to the protection of women in refugee law, policy and practice. 

The broad objectives of this network are:

  • refocusing attention on the needs and experiences of refugee women
  • reviewing the state of protection in domestic jurisdictions and internationally
  • identifying any unrecognised setbacks to adequate protection
  • exploring new challenges and opportunities for collaborative work
  • building an open and inclusive global network to take forward all of the above objectives.

On 4 May 2021, a Roundtable was organised to launch the network. Twenty-one participants from European countries, Australia and the USA attended, including academics, asylum-seeking and refugee women, activists, advocates, and representatives of UNHCR, NGOs and the legal profession. Participants brainstormed and identified research questions and areas of contemporary significance for the protection of refugee women, before proposing steps for taking the initiative forward. The Roundtable was informed by a Concept Note (PDF)

View the Summary Note of the Roundtable (PDF)

WiRL Conference

The first Women in Refugee Law (WiRL) network conference took place on 30 November 2021 and brought together academics, activists and practitioners to discuss key questions in asylum, refugee and human rights law.

Read a summary of the conference (PDF).

View the speakers' biographies and abstracts for the panels (PDF).

Watch the recordings of the conference:

WiRL First Anniversary Members' Event

WiRL held its first anniversary members' event on 12 July 2022 where members identified priorities for refugee women from their sector, discipline, region and perspectives and considered how WiRL might contribute to addressing these priorities in its second year.

Read the summary note of the anniversary event (PDF).

Steering Group Members

Find out more about the convenors and Steering Group members of WiRL.


The list of members is regularly updated. If you have any queries about WiRL or about joining, please contact either Dr Christel Querton ( or Dr Moira Dustin (

WiRL is a collaboration between the University of Sussex and UWE Bristol.

  • University of Sussex logo with the acronym 'US' in navy above the words 'University of Sussex'.

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