About Us

Women in Refugee Law (WiRL) brings together asylum seeking and refugee women, senior and early career scholars, practitioners, policymakers and activists from all states and jurisdictions to re-centre the study of refugee women within refugee law, policy and practice.

The Refugee Convention was not drafted with the protection needs of women in mind. As a result, while women and girls make up 50% of the world’s displaced people, refugee law, policy and practice does not satisfactorily recognise gender-specific forms of persecution such as domestic violence and sex trafficking.

Furthermore, there has been a loss of momentum in research addressing the needs and experiences of women claiming asylum (Arbel et al (eds), ‘Gender in Refugee Law’, Routledge 2014), while in some jurisdictions, organisations that focus on women’s asylum have closed or struggle to survive.

In response to these concerns, Christel Querton (UWE Bristol) and Moira Dustin (University of Sussex) launched Women in Refugee Law (WiRL) in May 2021 as a collaborative platform for researchers, refugee women and practitioners. Christel and Moira have a history of working in this field within and outside academia, including on the Asylum Aid Women’s Project where they met. Christel is a qualified barrister with practice experience. Moira developed a network on LGBTQI+ asylum for the SOGICA project and previously worked at the UK Refugee Council.