Rethinking refugee law

Nathwani, N.
October 2003
Refugee Survey Quarterly;Oct2003, Vol. 22 Issue 2/3, p477
Academic Journal
The author states that refugee law faces a serious crisis in Europe. This crisis highlights the need to explain what is the relationship between refugee law and immigration policy. How much immigration do States need to tolerate for moral and practical reasons even if they do not wish any immigration? The legal principle of necessity offers a theoretical basis for refugee law. Necessity explains the conditions under which it would be unfair to fight off unwanted immigrants by deportation and punishment. Necessity explains the conditions under which a restrictive immigration policy is not feasible at a reasonable cost versus desperate individuals. Necessity also overrules a restrictive immigration policy and qualifies as an explanation of the purpose of a fair refugee policy. This book explores the consequences of the theory of necessity for the interpretation of the main concepts of refugee law (persecution, well-founded fear, reasons of persecution, asylum) and concludes that a generous refugee practice can be conceived and justified even if a restrictive immigration policy is a political reality.


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