Center for Forced Migration Studies (CFMS)

Galya Ruffer

Professor Ruffer is the founding Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies. Her work centers on refugee rights and protection, regional understandings of the root causes of conflict and refugee crises, rule of law and the process of international justice with a particular focus on the Great Lakes Region of Africa. She has published on the role of experts in the refugee status determination process, testimony and justice in the DR Congo, asylum law and policy, human rights litigation in transnational courts and immigrant incorporation and integration in Europe. Her new research focuses on refugee protection outside of the international legal framework. Aside from her academic work, she has worked as an immigration attorney representing political asylum claimants both as a solo-practitioner and as a pro-bono attorney.


  • Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony (co-edited with Benjamin Lawrance), Cambridge University Press (2014)

Select Publications

  • “Testimony of Sexual Violence in the DR Congo and the Injustice of Rape: Moral Outrage, Epistemic Injustice and the Failures of Bearing Witness,” Oregon Review of International Law (Spring 2014).
  • “Legal Forms and Democratic Citizens in Republican Theory,” in Andreas Niederberger and Philipp Schink, editors, Republican Democracy: Liberty, Law and Politics (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013)
  • “Pushed Beyond Recognition? The Liberality of Family Reunification Policies in the EU,” Journal of Ethnic Migration Studies (July 2011).
  • “The Cosmopolitics of Asylum Seekers in the European Union,” New Political Science, 27:3 (September 2005).
  • “Courts Across Borders: The Implications of Judicial Agency for Human Rights and Democracy,” (with David Jacobson), Human Rights Quarterly, 25:1 (February 2003).
  • Reprinted in:
“Agency on a Global Scale: Rule, Rights and the European Union,” (with David Jacobson), in Alison Brysk and Gershon Shafir, editors, Citizenship and Human Rights in an Age of Globalization (University of Rutgers Press, 2004).
  • “Agency on a Global Scale: Rule, Rights and the European Union,” (with David Jacobson) in Marco Giugni and Florence Passy, editors,Dialogues on Migration Policy (Lexington: Lanham, MD, March 2006). 

Courses taught

  • Refugee Crises and Human Rights
  • INT_ST 398 1,2,3 International Studies Honors Seminar