Are Refugees Protected by International Law

Although the consequences of the Second World War triggered a refugee crisis, the large influx and resettlement of Indochinese refugees led to the passage of the 1980 Refugee Act. This act incorporated the definitions of the International Refugee Convention into U.S. law. [25] It codified in U.S. law that a refugee is a person with a „well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.“ [26] In addition, the ratification of this Convention has eliminated previous „ideological and geographical discrimination“ against refugees and asylum seekers. [27] This discrimination was a consequence of the old U.S. Refugee Act, which had primarily served as a tool for foreign policy programs. The law also created the legal basis for the admission of refugees to the United States. The Refugee Act of 1980 was the first time the United States created an objective decision-making process for asylum and refugee status. This included a common system between Congress and the presidency in which the two branches would work together to set annual quotas and determine which national groups would receive priority consideration for refugee status. In doing so, the United States turned away from a relatively reactionary system in which refugee laws were passed only in response to political changes within the international community, particularly the spread of communism. Instead, with the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States created a comprehensive framework for the preventive management of refugee crises.

This framework was built on the emerging ideals of „humanitarianism“. [28] An important aspect of this legislation is how a person proceeds when applying for status. A person may meet the definition of „refugee“ but cannot be granted refugee status. If the person is in the United States. with a different status or without status, they receive the status of asylum seeker, but not of refugee. Today`s modern law dates back nearly 100 years, to the legal and institutional initiatives of the League of Nations, first in the appointment of a High Commissioner for Refugees in 1921, and then the following year by agreement on the issuance of certificates of identity to „any person of Russian origin who does not or no longer enjoys the protection of the government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and who does not enjoy any other nationality. has acquired“. After World War II, the refugee issue became highly politicized (Goodwin-Gill 2008), and the first institutional response of the United Nations to the problem – the International Refugee Organization (IRO), a specialized agency – was rejected by the Soviet Union and its allies, remaining funded by only 18 of the 54 governments that were then members of the United Nations. Regardless of the policies of the time, tens of thousands of refugees and displaced persons were resettled under the auspices of the IRO through state selection programmes, individual migration and work placements (Holborn, 1975; Loescher and Scanlan, 1986). Given the broader objective of a solution (assimilation or integration), the Convention concept of refugee status is therefore a starting point for the consideration of the appropriate standard of treatment of refugees in the territory of States parties. Exactly on (S.

41) the Convention betrays its essentially European origins; Here, in the articles on social and economic rights, most of the reservations can be found, especially among developing countries. Otherwise, however, the Convention proposes as a minimum standard that refugees receive at least the treatment generally accorded to non-citizens. In some contexts, „most-favoured-nation treatment“ is required (Article 15, Article 17(1)), in other cases, „national treatment“, i.e. treatment that is not different from that of citizens (Articles 4, 14, 16, 20, 22(1), 23, Article 24(1) and (29)). The principle of non-refoulement states that asylum seekers cannot be returned to a country where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are being persecuted. This principle is based on the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees) and its 1967 Protocol. The Protocol extends the protection of the Convention to all refugees, regardless of the place or date of their expulsion, and most importantly, it obliges its 146 States parties (including the United States) to comply with the Convention, whether or not they are separately Parties to the Convention. .

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