Martin Jones
Senior Lecturer in International Human Rights Law



BA, BA (Hons.) (Queen's, Canada); LL.B. (UBC)

Martin Jones is a senior lecturer in international human rights law at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York.

Martin joined the Centre in 2009. Before joining the Centre, he held various visiting positions at Georgetown University, the University of Michigan, the American University in Cairo, and the University of Melbourne. He is currently also visiting associate professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Before his academic positions, Martin practiced refugee law in Vancouver. He continues to work closely with legal practitioners, particularly providers of refugee legal aid in the Global South. He was a founding member and chair of the Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network and the founding chair of the Legal Aid Working Group of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. He has consulted to refugee legal aid organisations and externally evaluated programmes of refugee legal aid operating in a number of states in the Middle East and Asia. Martin is a co-founder and the vice-chairman of the Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights, the largest provider of legal aid to refugees in Egypt.

Martin also works closely with human rights defenders at risk. Since 2015, he has worked closely with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, facilitating consultations with human rights defenders and supporting his thematic reports to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly. Since April 2018, Martin has been seconded to the OHCHR to help support the UN Special Rapporteur’s upcoming report to the UN General Assembly to mark the 20th anniversary of the watershed Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.


Departmental roles

Martin coordinates the doctoral programme at the Centre and welcomes any inquiries about doctoral studies at the Centre.



Martin conducts research on refugee and migration law and policy. His three main areas of research at present are (i) refugee law in Asia (or, rather, the broader “law of asylum” in that region); (ii) doctrinal issues in the interpretation of the definition of “refugee” in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (in particular, the qualification of conscientious objectors for refugee status under this definition); and, (iii) the provision of legal services to and legal advocacy on behalf of refugees in the Global South (in particular, in the Middle East and Asia). His research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the US Institute of Peace; and, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Martin’s research interests are rooted in and support his engagement in practice. He is a founding member of the Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network (a network of providers of legal services to refugees in the Global South) and is a member of its Steering Committee. He is also an advisor to the Steering Committee of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (a network of more than 100 refugee advocacy organisations in Asia) and previously chaired its Legal Aid Working Group. He has conducted training for and consulted to refugee legal aid providers in in Cyprus, Egypt, Hong Kong, Jordan, Malaysia and Turkey. He has been consulted for expert advice on refugee law and policy by the governments of Hong Kong, Indonesia and Canada and by UNHCR. In 2008, he co-founded the Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights which has become the largest provider of legal aid in domestic courts to refugees and migrants in Egypt. Before returning to academia, Martin was a refugee lawyer in Canada and represented asylum seekers and refugees at all levels of administrative and judicial review of their cases. He is co-author of the leading text on refugee law in Canda (with Sasha Baglay) which has been cited with approval in decisions by the Quebec Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.


Martin is interested in supervising doctoral students pursuing PhD's in either law or politics in the fields of migration and refugee law and policy.

Martin is currently supervising PhD students doing research on:

  • Human trafficking in Saudi Arabia
  • Refugees, civil society and the Arab Spring in Egypt
  • The reduction of statelessness in Europe
  • Advocacy and development of new international norms for mobile indigenous peoples


Selected publications


Refugee Law (Irwin Law, Toronto, 2007) 469 pp. (with Sasha Baglay).

Selected book chapters

"Moving beyond Protection Space: Developing a law of asylum in South East Asia” in Susan Kneebone, Dallal Stevens, and Loretta Baldassar, eds.Conflicting Identities: Refugee Protection and the Role of Law (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013 (forthcoming)).

"The Governance Question: UNHCR, the Refugee Convention, and the International Refugee Regime” in James Simeon, ed. The UNHCR and the Supervision of International Refugee Law (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2012 (in press)).

Selected journal articles

"Building a Better Refugee Status Determination System” Refuge, Volume 25, Issue 2 (Fall 2008) (with France Houle).

"Abandoning Refugees? An Analysis of the Legal Framework Governing Non-compliant Claimants in Canada” Refuge, Volume 25, Issue 2 (Fall 2008).

"The Refusal to Bear Arms as Grounds for Refugee Protection in the Canadian Jurisprudence” International Journal of Refugee Law, Volume 20, Issue 1 (March 2008).

"Lies, Damned Lies and Diplomatic Assurances: The Misuse of Diplomatic Assurances in Removal Proceedings” European Journal of Migration and Law, Volume 7, Number 4 (January 2006).

Selected practitioner publications

"Refugee Status Determination: Three Challenges” Forced Migration Review, Volume 32 (April 2009).

"Case Comment on Lee Seng Kee v. Sukatno and Ong Thean Soo” (National Human Rights Society of Malaysia [HAKAM]: Kuala Lumpur, September 2008).

"CRS Working Paper No. 2: Beyond Conscientious Objection: Canadian Refugee Jurisprudence on Military Service Evasion" Centre for Refugee Studies Working Papers. (August 2005).



Martin teaches Immigration Law and Politics in the UK in the Spring term.


Martin teaches on Defending Human Rights and coordinates the field trip to Malaysia together with Alice Nah.

In the Autumn term Martin teaches Law, Public Policy and Human Rights, whereas he in the Spring term convenes Asylum, Migration and Human Trafficking as well as the International Human Rights Clinic.

Other teaching

Martin teaches a short-course on International Refugee Law and Advocacy in Bangkok in the Spring term.

External activities


Advisor to the Immigration Detention and International Law: Coding State Adherence to Norms Project of the Institut de hautes Etudes internationales et du Développement (Switzerland)

Member of the Advisory Committee, Health Equity Initiatives (Malaysia)

Member of the Executive Committee, Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network

Advisor to the Steering Committee, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network

Vice-chairperson and member of the Board of Directors, Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights

Trustee, Refugee Action York

Member of the Management Group of the York City of Sanctuary project

Recent policy submissions

Submission of the Egyptian Foundation of Refugee Rights to the Constitutional Drafting Committee of the Egyptian Parliament (March 2012).

Recent trainings

"Refugee Law for Legal Aid Lawyers” hosted by the South Asian Network for Refugees, IDPs and Migrants (SANRIM) in Colombo, 21 and 22 April 2012.

"Refugee Empowerment and Advocacy in Egypt: Lessons Learned from civil society elsewhere and best practices" hosted by the Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights in Cairo, 27 to 29 September 2011.

Editorial duties

Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Human Rights Practice
Member of the Editorial Board, Human Rights Law Review of the UN University of Peace (Costa Rica)

Martin Jones

Contact details

Martin Jones
Centre for Applied Human Rights
University of York
6 Innovation Close
Science Park
Heslington, York
YO10 5ZF

Tel: +44 (0)1904 325834

Office hours

Wednesdays 12:00 - 13:00

(Spring term 2018)