Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Vincent Chetail and Céline Bauloz
Chapter 21: Subsidiary protection and other alternative forms of protection
The terms 'subsidiary' and 'complementary' protection are of relatively recent origin, but the type of protection they refer to was already alluded to during the drafting of the Refugee Convention. For the drafters of the Refugee Convention were fully aware of the fact that the instrument did not cover all persons who may be in need of protection. For example, as one representative observed, victims of 'natural disasters' or 'war' would not satisfy the nexus requirement. Accordingly, the Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries expressed the hope that the Contracting States would extend Refugee Convention protection to persons 'not … covered by the terms of the Convention'. This call received some response. In 1969, on the initiative of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) a convention was adopted that extended the refugee definition to persons who had to flee 'owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order'. Likewise, the Cartagena Declaration urged the Member States of the Organization of American States to extend refugee protection to persons who fled 'because their lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order'. It appears that a similar approach to protection needs not covered by the Refugee Convention prevailed until the 1980s in most other jurisdictions, including European ones. But since the mid-1980s, alternative forms of protection have been developed.
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