Out-of-Country Voting: The Predicament of the Recognised Refugee
in Jean-Pierre Gauci, Mariagiulia Giuffré, Lilian Tsourdi (eds), Exploring the Boundaries of Refugee Law: Current Protection Challenges (Brill, 2015) 298-322
34 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2015 Last revised: 29 Sep 2015
Date Written: April 1, 2015
The chapter points to an emerging global trajectory to consider non-resident citizens (expatriates) as eligible voters in elections of their country of citizenship and to provide them access to Out-of-Country Voting (OCV) procedures. The chapter distinguishes between three types of expatriates: voluntary migrants, including migrant workers and their families; conflict forced migrants; and recognised (1951 Geneva Convention) refugees. It argues that the strength of the normative claim of recognised refugees to remain eligible voters and to access OCV processes is met with a political (and legal) reality in which their disenfranchisement is highly likely. They are both effectively and symbolically, territorially and extraterritorially, shunned from the political community of their state of origin. Their unique vulnerability is heightened by the fact that the length of their stay in the state of asylum is indefinite, and their repatriation is thus neither imminent nor necessarily forthcoming. The chapter argues that their political predicament characterises recognised refugees as a special category of non-citizen residents.
Keywords: Citizenship, voting, expatriates, refugees, forced migration, UNHCR, IOM
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