Closing the Gap: Toward a Rights-Based Approach to Refugee Law
4 Nw. Interdisc. L. Rev. 147 (2011)
26 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2020
Date Written: April 2011
This Article attempts to bridge the gap between refugee law and human rights by advocating for a human rights-based amendment of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The Convention links the definition of persecution primarily to violations of civil and political rights, and as such, persons who suffer socioeconomic persecution are largely excluded from refugee status. Conversely, contemporary human rights norms give socioeconomic rights equal status with civil and political rights, reflecting that in reality, the world's masses experience severe violations of their socioeconomic rights on a daily basis. The paper contends that the existing gap between refugee and human rights law can be bridged by adopting a rights-based approach to refugee law that fully embraces the equality, interrelatedness and indivisibility of all human rights. It also critiques the deeply-embedded global politics of the refugee law system (and international law, in general) which have contributed to the lacuna between the practice of refugee law and human rights by denigrating socioeconomic persecution. Ultimately, the paper proposes that recognizing the severity of socioeconomic persecution should allow for policymakers and adjudicators to expand the definition of the refugee.
Keywords: human rights, refugee law, law, persecution, asylum
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