The Jean Monnet Erasmus+ Network grant The Comparative Network on Refugee Externalisation Policies (CONREP) is an international, interdisciplinary network of experts from seven universities in Australia and Europe.


CONREP researches the impact and effects of the externalisation of refugee policies in two regions: Australia’s activities in Southeast Asia and the Pacific; and the European Union and its member states’ activities in North Africa. These policies exploit power asymmetries to transfer state and regional obligations and responsibility for asylums seekers and refugees to neighbouring states. At their most destructive, externalisation policies can prevent refugees from reaching safety, and breach their human rights.

Externalisation policies reshape the boundaries of sovereignty and blur the lines of responsibility among states. By avoiding their legal and political responsibility, many states violate their legal obligations. Externalisation deflects responsibility, transforming the governance of refugee protection and border control. Regional cooperation for refugee protection is weakened, and human rights protections are undermined. At a global level, migration pathways are disrupted and refugees are often trapped in transit, placing them at risk. Nationally, some governments gain electoral advantage by being ‘tough’ on border protection. The accelerating phenomenon of externalisation characterising these ‘tough’ border protection policies requires a comprehensive analysis by researchers, civil society actors, refugees and policy makers.

CONREP partners

The project is co-funded by the European Union under the Erasmus+ Programme – Jean Monnet Activities (599660 EPP-1-2018-1-AU-EPPJMO-NETWORK).

The network partners are: