Table of Contents

Research Handbook on International Law and Migration

Research Handbook on International Law and Migration

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Vincent Chetail and Céline Bauloz

Migration is a complex and multifaceted issue, and the current legal framework suffers from considerable ambiguity and lack of cohesive focus. This Handbook offers a comprehensive take on the intersection of law and migration studies and provides strategies for better understanding the potential of international legal norms in regulating migration. Authoritative analyses by the most renowned and knowledgeable experts in the field focus on important migration issues and challenge the current normative framework with new ways of thinking about the topic.

Chapter 20: Exclusion under Article 1F since 2001: Two steps backwards, one step forward

Geoff Gilbert

Subjects: development studies, migration, law - academic, human rights, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


Exclusion from refugee status is in a state of flux. From a time when, apart from a very few States, it was used very rarely, it is now a regular feature in refugee status determination hearings. The trigger for the increased use was undoubtedly the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001 and the subsequent Security Council resolutions that unjustifiably linked the granting of refugee status with terrorism. However, it also allowed States to address directly those applying for status who had participated in the various armed conflicts that had become prominent from the 1990s onwards. In the period after 2001, inclusion within Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was being increasingly narrowed for a variety of reasons to do with migratory trends, while the scope of Article 1F seemed to be expanding to exclude ever more applicants for refugee status who would otherwise qualify for protection against refoulement. This is not to say that refugee status should not properly be confined to those not falling within Article 1F, but that Article 1F needs to be understood and interpreted in its context as part of a treaty designed to protect the rights of individuals. Fortunately, more recent decisions of courts carrying out refugee status determination have shown a greater degree of nuancing in their interpretation of Article 1F.

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