UNHCR's Parallel Universe: Marking the Contours of a Problem
Marjoleine Zieck, UNHCR's PARALLEL UNIVERSE: MARKING THE CONTOURS OF A PROBLEM, Vossiuspers UvA/Amsterdam University Press, July 2010
15 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2010 Last revised: 28 Apr 2011
Date Written: April 22, 2010
The universal international refugee law regime that was created in the wake of the Second World War - consisting of the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the Statute of UNHCR - has in the course of time been changed, gradually but inexorably. The regime that is currently in place has consequently lost its original structure and consistency. In particular, it is no longer a normative continuum, and as a result, the international protection of refugees is no longer secure but dependent on contingencies.
The changes in the regime exclusively concern the mandate of UNHCR. The personal and substantive scope of its activities has been extended time and again with the consent of states as represented in the UN General Assembly. As those extensions have never been (considered to be) matched by corresponding obligations on the part of states, UNHCR’s world has been turned into a parallel universe.
Keywords: UNHCR, International Refugee Law, International Protection
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