Arrested Development? UNHCR, ILO, and the Refugees’ Right to Work


  • Adèle Garnier Université de Montréal



United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, International Labour Organization, ILO, forced migration, governance, inter-agency cooperation, international organizations, power dynamics, bureaucratic pathologies, right to work


This article contributes to literature assessing power dynamics in the emerging global migration governance. Drawing on Barnett and Finnemore’s analysis of bureaucratic culture in international organizations, it investigates inter-agency cooperation between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Labour Organization in the promotion of refugees’ right to work in the last two decades. While the mandate and activities of both organizations appear to significantly intersect in the promotion of this right, practical constraints related to states’ diverging interests, differences in institutional structure, and discursive ambivalence in the situation of the refugee worker limit coordination and effectiveness.


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How to Cite

Garnier, A. (2014). Arrested Development? UNHCR, ILO, and the Refugees’ Right to Work. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 30(2), 15–25.

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