Anna Purkey

Anna Purkey

Program Director & Associate Professor of Human Rights

Dr. Anna Purkey is a lawyer and human rights scholar with a focus on refugee and forced migration studies. She received her Doctorate in Law from McGill University, and is a member of the Quebec Bar Association and the executive of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS). She has previously held the position of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice (Canada) and has worked as an external consultant for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

Dr. Purkey’s research focuses on international and Canadian refugee law and policy, with a special emphasis on protracted refugee situations and themes of human rights, human capability, and legal empowerment. Recent and current projects center on the concept of vulnerability in the Canadian refugee system, and the treatment of marginalized groups including refugee children and older refugees.

Select Publications

Purkey, A. (2022) Vulnerability and the Quest for Protection: A Review of Canadian Migration Case Law. Laws: 11(2):20, 1-22. Available at:

Purkey, A. (2022) Challenges of Canada’s Contemporary Migration Policy. In Ervis Martani & Denise Helly, eds. Asylum and Resettlement in Canada: Historical development, successes, challenges and lessons learned. Genova: Genova University Press, (pp. 60-83).

Purkey A. (2022). Exclusion in the Time of COVID-19: Migrant rights in Canada during the pandemic. Vol III Canadian Yearbook of Human Rights, pp. 127-133.

Nakache, D., Purkey, A., Anderson, M., Tanotra, R., Soennecken, D., Sagay, C., Hajjar, O., Yousuf, B., Crépeau, F. (2022). Migrant vulnerability in the Canadian protection system: The view of migrants, public servants and on-the ground practitioners. VULNER Research Report 2. Available at:

Purkey. A. (2019) Refugee Dignity in Protracted Exile: Rights, Capabilities and Legal Empowerment. New York: Routledge.

Crépeau, F., Carlier, J-Y. & Purkey, A. (2020). From the European ‘Migration Crisis’ to the Global Compact for Migration: A political transition short on legal standards. 16(1) McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law, 37-81. Available at:

Purkey, A. (2016). Justice, Reconciliation, and Ending Displacement: Legal Empowerment and Refugee Engagement in Transitional Processes. 35(4) Refugee Survey Quarterly, 1-25.