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ASYLUM & THE

RIGHTS OF REFUGEES
An Introduction

Overview
Article 14(1) of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights : Everyone
has the right to seek and to enjoy in other
countries asylum from persecution.
Controlling international convention on
refugee law
1951 Convention relating to the Status of
Refugees*
1967 Optional Protocol relating to the
Status of Refugees

*Does not define how States parties are to

Legal Protections
1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
1967 Optional Protocol relating to the Status of Refug
ees
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 14)
American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man
(art. 27)
American Convention on Human Rights (art. 22)
Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, Colloquium on the
International Protection of Refugees in Central Ame
rica, Mexico and Panama (Cartagena Declaration)
African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples Rights

Arab Charter on Human Rights (art. 28)


Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (art. 12)
European Convention on Human Rights (arts. 2, 3, an
d 5)
Council Regulation EC No 343/2003 of 18 February 200
3 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for deter
mining the Member State responsible for examining an
asylum application lodged in one of the Member Stat
es by a third country national
Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on mini
mum standards for the qualification and status of thi
rd country nationals or stateless persons as refugees
or as persons who otherwise need international prote

Who is a Refugee?
Article 1(A)(2) of the 1951 Convention defines
a refugee as any person who:
owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted
for reasons of race, religion, nationality,
membership of a particular social group or
political opinion
is outside the country of his nationality
is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to
avail himself of the protection of that country

Article 3 of the Cartagena Declaration


includes among refugees persons who have
fled their country because their lives, safety
or freedom have been threatened by:

generalized violence,
foreign aggression,
internal conflicts,
massive violation of human rights
other circumstances which have seriously
disturbed public order

Article 1(2) of the 1969 OAU Convention states


that the term refugee shall also apply to every
person who is compelled to leave his place of
habitual residence in order to seek refuge in
another place outside his country of origin, owing
to:

external aggression,
occupation,
foreign domination
events seriously disturbing public order in either part
or the whole of his country of origin or nationality

What Rights Do
Refugees Have?
Non-refoulement obligation of States not to refoule,
or return, a refugee to the frontiers of territories
where his life or freedom would be threatened on
account of his race, religion, nationality, membership
of a particular social group or political opinion.

Exceptions:
where there are reasonable grounds for regarding the
refugee as a danger to the national security of the host
country
where the refugee, having been convicted of a
particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the
host community

Freedom of movement
Article 26 of the 1951 Convention : States shall
afford refugees the right to choose their place
of residence within the territory and to move
freely within the State.
Article 28 obliges States parties to issue
refugees travel documents permitting them to
travel outside the State unless compelling
reasons of national security or public order
otherwise require.

Right to liberty and security of the person


Right to family life
Other rights

Selected Case Law


Membership in a Particular Social Group
Matter of Kasinga
Matter of Acosta
Matter of C-ABenitez Ramos v. Holder
Islam (A.P.) v. Secretary of State for the Home
Department
Regina v. Immigration Appeal Tribunal and Another Ex
Parte Shah (A.P.)
In Re G.J.
A and Another v. Minister for Immigration & Ethnic
Affairs

Non-refoulement and Countries of Transit


Sale v. Haitian Ctr. Council, Inc.
Abdi and Another v. Minister of Home Affairs
Case of M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece
M70/2011 and M106/2011 v. Minister for
Immigration and Citizenship & Anor
Institute for Human Rights and Development in
Africa (on behalf of Sierra Leonean refugees in
Guinea) v. Guinea