Resettlement

C Costello, M Foster, J McAdam, Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law (OUP, 2020)

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See all articles by Audrey Macklin

Audrey Macklin

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Susan York Kneebone

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: June 1, 2020

Abstract

Resettlement is one of the three ‘durable solutions’ developed as a response to state responsibilities for refugee protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention. This chapter surveys historical antecedents, and explains the shift from group-based to individualized selection. Unlike the other two durable solutions (local integration and repatriation), which derive directly from non-refoulement/non-discrimination obligations (Refugee Convention Arts 31, 33) resettlement occurs outside the Convention, is not underwritten by legal obligation, and remains in the realm of humanitarian discretion. We explore two implications of resettlement’s discretionary character: First, it permeates the structure of the UNHCR regime, the operation of national programs, and the relationship between refugees seeking resettlement and actors engaged in selection. Refugees play almost no active role in resettlement processes or decisions. Secondly, to the extent that states view their Convention obligations as an impingement on national sovereignty, states may present resettled refugees as preferable, more deserving, and as an alternative to asylum seekers.

Keywords: refugee, resettlement, international refugee law, durable solutions, soft law, UNHCR

Suggested Citation

Macklin, Audrey and Kneebone, Susan York, Resettlement (June 1, 2020). C Costello, M Foster, J McAdam, Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law (OUP, 2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Audrey Macklin (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-946-7493 (Phone)
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Susan York Kneebone

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

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