Socioeconomic Rights and Refugee Status: Deepening the Dialogue Between Human Rights and Refugee Law

American Journal of International Law, Vol. 103, p. 784, 2009

UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-23

14 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2010 Last revised: 18 Aug 2010

See all articles by Fatma E. Marouf

Fatma E. Marouf

Texas A&M University School of Law

Deborah Anker

Harvard University; Harvard University - Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Date Written: January 1, 2010

Abstract

Over the past two decades, international human rights law has provided an increasingly useful framework for interpreting key criteria of the definition of a refugee. A human rights-based approach to analyzing refugee status helps to increase consistency and uniformity in decision making by state parties regarding who qualifies for international protection.

Michelle Foster's book, International Refugee Law and Socio-economic Rights: Refuge from Deprivation (Cambridge U. Press 2007), comes at a critical time, not only because of increasing acceptance of the connection between refugee law and human rights law and significant developments in the current understanding of economic and social rights, but also because more asylum applicants are articulating the aspects of their claims involving socioeconomic deprivation. All jurisdictions, including the United States, now recognize that socioeconomic harm can rise to the level of persecution, but inconsistencies and insecurities still obstruct attempts at coherent analysis. Foster's meticulous research, sober reasoning, and original analysis may encourage additional scholarship on these pressing issues and lead to a more sophisticated understanding of both the refugee definition and the substantive content of economic and social rights. The proper adjudication of socioeconomic claims will likely play a vital role in challenging the lingering, dominant orthodoxy of civil and political rights, help coalesce the relationship between human rights and refugee law, and promote the development of refugee law, with some coherency, as a body of law.

Keywords: Human Rights, Refugee, Economic Rights, Social Rights, Asylum, Persecution

Suggested Citation

Marouf, Fatma E. and Anker, Deborah, Socioeconomic Rights and Refugee Status: Deepening the Dialogue Between Human Rights and Refugee Law (January 1, 2010). American Journal of International Law, Vol. 103, p. 784, 2009; UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1658923

Fatma E. Marouf (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

Deborah Anker

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Pound Hall 408
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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