Prospective PhD idea

PhD researcher or student information

Shepherd Mutsvara

Contact email:

Discipline: Law

Degrees BA: Ll.B (Unisa)


LL.M (London)

PhD idea information

Economic refugees: an analysis of persecution and displacement in the new global era.

Brief description:

The United Nations Convention for Refugees, crafted after the World Wars, does not accord protection to a new class of refugees who are a direct result of globalisation. The Global North countries have imposed neoliberal policies on the poor countries in the South, which have resulted in substantial economic infirmities directly debasing one’s liberty, dignity and right to life.
These blanket economic prescriptions have misread the Global South’s fiscal landscape by assuming that the developing countries have the same economic problems. The aggressive neoliberal prescriptions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The World Bank prescribed under the guise of economic development have not materialised. In fact, the major source of livelihood in the Global South, as was during colonialism, is agriculture and mining which is the mainstay of the international market. This has resulted in unprecedented human flight to the industrialised Global North as political contestation over meagre resources has caused severe economic deprivation.
This study is therefore an investigation of the effect of macroeconomics and neoliberal policies on refugee movements. It seeks to establish that neoliberal policies on developing countries are inimical and directly threaten an individual’s life. It argues that economic liberalisation has become a serious form of economic persecution which International Law should take into consideration in the adjudication of asylum claims. Finally the study will interrogate the ambivalent attitude of International Law in addressing refugee movements. It will demonstrate that International Refugee Law has ameliorated economic persecution and yet International Law has perpetuated, rather than oppose, the neoliberal agenda of economic liberalisation which has triggered the humanitarian crisis.


Keywords: Displacement, persecution, Neoliberalism, economic refugees, Globalisation

Potential language(s) of writing: English

Added to catalogue on: 23-03-2019

Additional information: