Refugee protection must be analysed, interpreted, implemented, and enforced through a human rights framework. The RC, as the only universal, legally binding instrument to deal specifically with refugees and asylum-seekers, must be considered as a complement to the various human rights treaties, which are applicable to all human beings regardless of status and regardless of their position vis--vis the state. The RC on its own, with its various restrictions and derogations, does not provide adequate protection for the human rights of refugees and asylum-seekers. That its scope is limited to those individuals who fall within the definition of a refugee provided for in Article 1A of the RC means that there are millions of people who, while in need of protection, are not afforded it.
While it is true that the expanded refugee definitions provided for in the OAU Convention and the CD represent progress within the field of IRL, the level of progress achieved at the practical level is disappointing. Developed states continue to institute restrictive policies aimed at reducing the numbers of refugees who are able to seek asylum. Europe has interpreted the RC restrictively and the policies adopted represent a regressive step in the march towards better protection for refugees.
Finally, the principal problem remains unresolved, namely that refugees exist in the first place. The biggest challenge in addressing the root causes of why refugees exist is a political one. States must interpret existing IRL according to its "object and purpose"- namely to assure refugees the widest possible exercise of these fundamental rights and freedoms. That they have hitherto preferred a strict textual interpretation is problematic. Improvements in written law, such as the proliferation of human rights treaties, the OAU Convention and the CD, do not automatically translate into an improvement in refugees' lives. Current state policy and restrictive interpretations of IRL and IHRL are a product not of states' lack of ability to provide better protection, but rather of their lack of will to do so.
Non-Electronic Resources and bibliography
- Arboleda, Eduardo. La Declaracion de Cartagena de 1984 y sus semejanzas con la convencion de la organizacion de la unidad Africana de 1969: una perspective comparative. In: Namihas, Sandra ed.Derecho Internacional de los RefugiadosDerecho Internacional de los Refugiados. Peru: Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru Instituto de Estudios Internacionales: 2001
- Craven, Matthew. "The Protection of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights under the Inter-American System of Human Rights." In: David Harris and Stephen Livingstone, eds.The Inter-American System of Human RightsThe Inter-American System of Human Rights. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998.
- Deng, Francis and Roberta Cohen.Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal DisplacementMasses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement. Washington: Brookings Institution, 1998.
- Espiell, Hector Gross, Sonia Picado, Leo Valladares Lanza. 1990. Principles and Criteria for the Protection of and Assistance to Central American Refugees, Returnees, and Displaced Persons in Central America.International Journal of Refugee LawInternational Journal of Refugee Law 2:1.
- Goodwin-Gill, Guy. Article 31- Non-Penalization, Detention, and Protection. In: E. Feller, V. Turk, and F. Nicholson, eds. Refugee Protection inInternational Law: UNHCRs Global Consultations on International ProtectionInternational Law: UNHCRs Global Consultations on International Protection. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003: 185 252.
- Goodwin-Gill, Guy. The Individual Refugee, the 1951 Convention and the Treaty of Amsterdam. In: E. Guild and C. Harlow, eds.Implementing Amsterdam: Immigration and Asylum Rights in EC LawImplementing Amsterdam: Immigration and Asylum Rights in EC Law. Oxford: Oxford Hart Publishers, 2001. 141-164.
- Goodwin-Gill, Guy.The Refugee in International LawThe Refugee in International Law 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.
- Hathaway, James.The Law of Refugee StatusThe Law of Refugee Status. Toronto: Butterworths, 1991.
- Hathaway, James. "A Reconsideration of the Underlying Premises of Refugee Law." 31Harvard International Law JournalHarvard International Law Journal 129 (1990): 129-174.
- Jastram, J, and K. Newland, 'Family Unity and Refugee Protection' in E. Feller, V. Turk, and F. Nicholson (eds.) Refugee Protection inInternational Law: UNHCR's Global Consultations on International ProtectionInternational Law: UNHCR's Global Consultations on International Protection, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
- HRC General Comment No.15, 27th Session, 1986. The position of aliens under the Covenant.
- HRC General Comment No. 20, replacing No.7, 44th Session, 1992. Replaces general comment 7 concerning prohibition of torture or cruel or inhuman treatment.
- Macklin, Audrey. Refugee Women and the Imperative of Categories. 17Human Rights QuarterlyHuman Rights Quarterly 2 (1995): 213-277.
- Malanczuk, P.Akehurst's Modern Introduction to International LawAkehurst's Modern Introduction to International Law 7th ed. London: Routledge, 1997.
- Okoth-Obbo, George. Thirty Years On: A Legal Review of the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. 20Refugee Survey QuarterlyRefugee Survey Quarterly 1, 2001.
- Plender, R. and N. Mole. Beyond the Geneva Convention: Constructing a de facto Right of Asylum from International Human Rights Instruments. In: Nicholson,F. and P. Twomey, eds.Refugee Rights and Realities: Evolving International Concepts and RegimesRefugee Rights and Realities: Evolving International Concepts and Regimes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 81-105.
- Storey, Hugo and Rebecca Wallace. 2001. "War and Peace in Refugee Law Jurisprudence."American Journal of International LawAmerican Journal of International Law, 95:2.
- Storey, Hugo. The IFA Test. 10International Journal of Refugee LawInternational Journal of Refugee Law 3 (1998): 449-532.
- UNHCR. Persons covered by the OAU Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and by the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees. EXCOM Sub-Committee on International Protection, UN Doc. No. EC/1992/SCP/CRP.6, 1992.