Mehreen Afzal- SIPA

Mehreen Afzal

Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs

Personal Details

Focus Areas: Climate change and Human Mobility, International Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law, Public Policy and International Security Studies

Mehreen Afzal is a specialist in international refugee and human rights law with fifteen years professional experience with UNHCR ranging from protection delivery in refugee camps in Africa and Asia to global advocacy in multilateral processes at UN Headquarters in New York. Her specific and ever-expanding interest since completing her PhD at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy two decades ago, has been examining the normative and policy frameworks geared towards protecting people on the move as a result of new and emerging forms crises or disasters. New framing, new nomenclature, new ideas, and whether any of these are at all possible. Her course on climate change and human mobility will be focusing on exactly these issues. 

Mehreen has worked in a range of functions within UNHCR from most recently holding a senior legal position within the administration of justice space looking at whistleblower protection, to occupying a senior policy role in the development of global political declarations at the UN General Assembly. Most notably, she was embedded in the advocacy and negotiations for the development of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and in parallel the Global Compact on Refugees (2017-2018). She has also been deeply engaged in climate policy discussions at UNHQ and how these relate to the human face of the crises, specifically looking at the nexus between climate change and international peace and security. Previously, she has worked in national and regional refugee contexts in Bangladesh, Senegal, Rwanda and Kenya in both emergency and development contexts.

Mehreen is a Luxembourg national of Pakistani origin. She has taught across the world, including at US universities and Law societies and has been a visiting scholar at Columbia Law School and University of Michigan Law School. 


  • PhD International Refugee Law, European University Institute, Florence Italy
  • Masters in Comparative European and International Law (MRes), European University Institute, Florence Italy
  • LLB (Honors) University of Warwick, UK