Research Handbook on International Refugee Law
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Research Handbook on International Refugee Law

Edited by Satvinder Singh Juss

In an age of ethnic nationalism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, the study of refugees can help develop a new outlook on social justice, just as the post-war international order ends. The global financial crisis, the rise of populist leaders like Trump, Putin, and Erdogan, not to mention the arrival of anti-EU parties, raises the need to interrogate the refugee, migrant, citizen, stateless, legal, and illegal as concepts. This insightful Research Handbook is a timely contribution to that debate.
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Chapter 12: What is the future of non-refoulement in international refugee law?

James C. Simeon


The cornerstone of the modern international refugee protection system is the principle of non-refoulement. There are now very few states in the world that are not bound by any universal treaty obligation that contains the non-refoulement principle and, with respect to opinio juris, it is considered by a number of the leading authorities of public international law as a universal obligation by states whose interests are directly affected. This chapter demonstrates how the jurisprudence of the ECtHR is the most progressive in the protection of asylum seekers with respect to the principle of non-refoulement, in comparison to the judgements of the Supreme Court of the US, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the High Court of Australia. In fact, the interdiction policies and practices of the US and Australia have been upheld by their highest courts, and even the Suresh judgement of the Supreme Court of Canada allows for refugees to be deported on grounds of national security risks, even in the face of torture back home. However, given current circumstances and persistent global trends, it is reasonable to conclude that the future of nonrefoulement is far from salutary.

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