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Protecting Refugees in the Global 'War on Terror'


Ben Saul


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

October, 31 2008

Indian Juridical Review, 2008
Sydney Centre for International Law Working Paper No. 3
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/130

Abstract:     
This paper focuses on the growing pressure to automatically exclude suspected terrorists from refugee status since the late 1990s including exclusion based on mere membership of terrorist organizations. As the first part of this paper shows, such pressure has emanated from the UN General Assembly, the Security Council, regional organizations, States and even the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Yet, as the remainder of the paper illustrates, terrorism is not listed as a separate ground of exclusion in the 1951 Refugee Convention, and there is no internationally accepted definition of terrorist offences which could serve as a principled basis of exclusion. In the absence of an international definition of terrorism, operative legal reference to terrorism in exclusion decisions endangers refugees and violates international refugee law. This chapter argues foremost that exclusion must be based on an individual assessment of whether a person meets the specific criteria for exclusion in Article 1F of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Further, the existing exclusion grounds - though misapplied by some States in practice - are adequate and appropriate for addressing the serious challenges posed by modern terrorism.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: security, refugees, 'war on terror', terrorism, exclusion

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33

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Date posted: October 31, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Saul, Ben, Protecting Refugees in the Global 'War on Terror' (October, 31 2008). Indian Juridical Review, 2008; Sydney Centre for International Law Working Paper No. 3; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/130. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1292604

Contact Information

Ben Saul (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.usyd.edu.au/about/staff/BenSaul/index.shtml
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