Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Vincent Chetail and Céline Bauloz
Chapter 18: The asylum procedures and the assessment of asylum requests
Although the United Nations Refugee Convention includes no specific provisions concerning the procedures to be established by Contracting States for the examination of asylum applications, the Convention has significant influence, both directly and indirectly, on the procedural approach that has to be taken by States when confronted with persons claiming refugee status and applying for protection on that basis. The legal impact of the Refugee Convention in this respect stems primarily from the need to examine claims to refugee status in order to determine whether the applicant is entitled to treatment according to the standards laid down in the Convention. In so far as a person claiming refugee status is within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the Refugee Convention, that State will be under the obligation to treat him or her in accordance with the Convention unless and until it has been established in a formal examination procedure that the applicant is not a refugee as defined in Article 1 of the Convention. Thus, the duty to examine applications for asylum is closely interconnected with the basic feature of the Refugee Convention according to which the recognition of refugee status is a declaratory act, not an act constituting such status. Refugee status does not arise as the result of formal recognition of such status. On the contrary, refugee status is recognized because the applicant for protection is already a refugee within the meaning of the Convention.
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