The 1951 Refugee Convention is Janus-Faced: It Asserts as Well as Undermines State Sovereignty.

14 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2016

See all articles by Khushi Pandya

Khushi Pandya

Loyola University of Chicago; University of Westminster - School of Law

Date Written: April 11, 2016


As per UNHRC’s data, the number of refugees till mid-2015 reached an estimated 15.1 million refugees, the highest level in 20 years.

The concept and idea of protection to Refugees originally hail from Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (“UDHR” for short) which deal with the persons seeking asylum in other countries in a situation specified therein; while United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951, which has been entered into force in 1954, is an ornamental object on the subject matter of Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The Convention on Refugees was amended in the year of 1967 and its scope was then extended to the whole world which was earlier limited to persons who have become refugees as a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951. But it is important to note that this Convention do not spell out a right of a person to be accepted as a Refugee. If we go more in past then it is believed that Baby Jesus was the first Refugee on this World. While discussing this subject matter, it may be looked that at present total 142 Nations are party to both – Convention and Protocol.

Apart from the Refugee Convention, 1951, there are certain other Regional and International Conventions and Treaties which protects the rights of the Refugees to name a few those are – Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, Colloquium on the International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Mexico and Panama, OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of the Refugee Problem in Africa, Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted. 

The present academic work is majorly divided as – background of the Refugee Convention 1951, Salient Features of the Convention explaining various rights available to Refugees under the Convention, Liabilities and Obligation of the Contracting State under the Convention, how state’s sovereign power is exercising when provisions of the Refugee Conventions are to be interpreted and the same discussion reach to the conclusion that same is undermining as well as asserting Sovereignty of the State.

Keywords: Refugee Law, International Convention

Suggested Citation

Pandya, Khushi, The 1951 Refugee Convention is Janus-Faced: It Asserts as Well as Undermines State Sovereignty. (April 11, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Khushi Pandya (Contact Author)

Loyola University of Chicago ( email )

25 East Pearson Street
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

University of Westminster - School of Law ( email )

4 Little Titchfield Street
London, England W1W 7UW
United Kingdom
00919537557242 (Phone)

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