Contextualizing the Reasonableness Test of Internal Relocation in International Refugee Law: Empirical Analysis of Decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia Concerning Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka
McGill University, Faculty of Law, Students
January 23, 2017
The applicability of the internal relocation principle (IRP) – also known as internal relocation/protection/flight alternative – in refugee status determination (RSD) has been firmly established by widespread international practice. Although the reasonableness test, which requires internal relocation to be without undue hardship for the applicant, has become the legal standard of IRP in predominant State practice and UNHCR’s International Guidelines, State parties apply IRP with considerable range of variations under the same legal standard of the reasonableness test. This phenomenon calls for a redirection of research focus from the legal standard itself to the “contextualization” of the legal standard.
This paper defines “contextualization” as the process in which RSD authorities transform the abstract legal standard of the reasonableness test to a real-life picture of what it means for a particular asylum seeker to reasonably relocate to his specified country of origin. This process shows how personal circumstances of the applicant and information about the country of origin are gathered, ascertained, and analyzed to form the contextual background in which the reasonableness of internal relocation is decided. Using the State practice of Australia – decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal concerning Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka – as an example, this paper demonstrates the method to approach the contextualization of the reasonableness test in international practice and argues that this contextualization is the key to identify, understand, and compare State practice of IRP.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: Internal relocation principle, internal relocation/protection/flight alternative, the reasonableness test, contextualization
Date posted: February 1, 2017