Protection of Refugees in Non Signatory States

8 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2012 Last revised: 26 Nov 2012

See all articles by Satya Ranjan Swain

Satya Ranjan Swain

KIIT University - KIIT Law School

Ishani Das

KIIT Law School, KIIT University

Date Written: March 28, 2012


The humanitarian approach of offering sanctuary to frightened strangers and the victims of persecution and violence has become not only an existing reality but also has acquired the status of international tradition. In the aftermath of World War II, the United Nations General Assembly created the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is mandated to protect and find durable solutions for refugees. Its activities are based on a framework of international law and standards. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (herein after referred to as “1951 convention”) is the foundation of international refugee law. It defines the term “refugee” and sets minimum standards for the treatment of persons who are found to qualify for refugee status.

While Ratification of a Treaty clearly conveys in rem, the Government's express intention, that the State is willing to be bound by the Convention concerned and it’s undertaking to fulfill the Convention's provisions; non ratification conveys, if not otherwise, the unwillingness to be obliged to. As of 1st April 2011, there are 144 state parties to the convention. The increasingly difficulty in reconciling the humanitarian impulses and obligations with their domestic needs and political realities often discourages the States not to sign the 1951 convention as it is rights based. Thus Non Signatory State means a State, irrespective of its respect for refugee law, has neither ratified the convention nor the 1967 Protocol.

Keywords: Refugee, Non-Signatory, ICCPR, ICESCR, UDHR, Customary International Law, 1951 Convention, 1967 Protocol

Suggested Citation

Swain, Satya Ranjan and Das, Ishani, Protection of Refugees in Non Signatory States (March 28, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Satya Ranjan Swain (Contact Author)

KIIT University - KIIT Law School ( email )

Bhubaneswar, Orissa 751024

Ishani Das

KIIT Law School, KIIT University ( email )

Bhubaneswar -751024


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