Protecting Refugees in the Global 'War on Terror'

Indian Juridical Review, 2008

Sydney Centre for International Law Working Paper No. 3

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/130

16 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2008  

Ben Saul

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: October, 31 2008

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.

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

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1292604

Ben Saul (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New 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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