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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

Regional approaches to the protection of refugees are sometimes seen as the answer to problems in the global refugee protection framework. However, the description of some of the relevant arrangements as ‘regional’ and the benefits of these arrangements are contested. This introductory chapter examines the concept of regionalism in international politics and the development of regionalism in refugee law. The chapter compares the approaches to asylum taken in the five main regions of the world, and considers the advantages and disadvantages of regional approaches to the protection of refugees.
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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

For the framers of the Refugee Convention, the reasons for states to protect refugees must have seemed self-evident. After the conclusion of World War II, states were extremely mindful of the consequences of not protecting persons from persecution. However, as time has passed, many States have questioned the relevance of the Refugee Convention in the context of today’s mixed migration movements and some states have openly breached the Convention’s obligations. In light of these developments, this chapter explores the moral, ethical, theological, and practical reasons for granting protection to refugees. The chapter goes beyond merely reciting the legal obligations to which states have voluntarily agreed, seeking rather to highlight why states should shelter refugees and the benefits that may flow from doing so.
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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

There is an endemic lack of cooperation regarding the protection of refugees that sees 86 per cent of refugees sheltered in the developing world. After looking at the reasons for the lack of cooperation, this chapter examines why responsibility should be shared, the criteria that should be used for ensuring that responsibility for protecting refugees is distributed equitably among states and the means by which responsibility should be shared.
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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

One of the first major multilateral arrangements to address refugee situations within a regional context was the 1989 Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees (CPA). This arrangement built on a 1979 arrangement conceived following the end of the war in Vietnam to address the mass displacement of people in the region. Under the CPA, countries of first asylum in the region, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong, agreed to give temporary protection to Vietnamese and Laotians arriving in their territory so long as states from outside the region committed to resettle large numbers of these refugees. This chapter examines the successes and limitations of this arrangement, and explores the conception of regionalism reflected in this arrangement which sought to shift responsibility for refugees from the region to the developed world.
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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

In comparison to other regions in the world, such as South East Asia and the Middle East, Africa has a strong legal commitment to the protection of refugees. In 1969, the OAU (now the African Union) developed a definition of refugeehood that expanded the definition of a refugee to include those fleeing generalized violence. Since then, African countries have committed to the primary responsibility of hosting refugees, albeit with questionable implementation. This chapter examines a major set of arrangements developed for sharing responsibility for refugees in Africa, namely the International Conferences on Assistance to Refugees in Africa. ICARA I and II took place in the early 1980s and focused on obtaining extra-regional funding from the international community to support the protection of large-scale intra-regional refugee and returnee populations within Africa. The regionalism evident in this arrangement was arguably primarily about inter-African solidarity and containment and the arrangements are notable for their failure to fully achieve the goal of improved refugee protection.
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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

This chapter examines the 1989 International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA). CIREFCA aimed to provide durable solutions for over two million refugees and other displaced persons in the Central American region. Formed in response to the displacement caused by civil wars and economic crises, and as part of a broader peace process in the region, the arrangement aimed to provide support to a mix of migrant groups: refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and, uniquely, ‘externally displaced persons’. This chapter explores the extent to which this arrangement led to short and long term protection dividends for these groups in the region, and how regionalism was manifested in the arrangement.
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Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

This chapter looks at the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). It examines the Dublin system of allocating responsibility for unauthorised asylum seekers to the European Union country in which they first arrive; the harmonisation of the definition of a refugee and beneficiaries of protection for those in refugee-like situations (subsidiary protection), the procedures for determining refugee status and the reception conditions for asylum seekers (eg rights with respect to accommodation); efforts to share responsibility for refugees within the EU, such as the efforts to relocate asylum seekers; and the ‘external dimension’, including efforts to resettle refugees from third countries, and regional protection programmes that seek to improve protection in countries within the region of the refugee flow. The chapter documents the different forms of regionalism evident in the tension between individual EU member states’ desire to deter refugees and practices and proposals for reform that focus on sharing responsibility.