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 17: The art of drawing lines: future behaviour and refugee status

Janna Wessels


This chapter discusses the implications of the UK Supreme Court judgment on gay rights in HJ (Iran) [2010] UKSC 31, which inspired a fierce debate among refugee law scholars on the role of a claimant’s acts, identity and rights, especially in a 2012 article by James Hathaway and Jason Pobjoy in 2012. The chapter argues that the reaction to that decision by Hathaway and Pobjoy’s article crystallises a broader dispute concerning a gay person’s future conduct in refugee law at the heart of refugee protection and how this debate systematises the two broad trends that literature and case law reveal, which are represented by the judgment and the article. The chapter proceeds thereafter to reflects on the reasons why the claimant’s future behaviour causes such trouble and suggests that the refugee law community might in fact be fighting over the ‘right’ solution to a different puzzle.

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