Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism
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Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism

Edited by Ben Saul

This newly revised and updated second edition provides a comprehensive overview of international counter-terrorism law and practice. Brand new and revised chapters provide critical commentary on the law from leading scholars and practitioners in the field, including new topics for this edition such as foreign terrorist fighters, the nexus between organized crime and terrorism, and the prevention of violent extremism.
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Chapter 29: Terrorism and international refugee law

Geoff Gilbert


Terrorism impacts on international refugee law in two ways. First, the existence of terrorism in a state might well force its nationals to flee and cross a border, and then seek refugee status in the country of asylum. In such cases, where the terrorism is carried out by a non-state actor, it might be challenged as to whether the applicant for refugee status cannot rely on the protection of the country of nationality through some internal protection alternative in a different part of the state away from the acts of violence. On the other hand, acts of terrorism can leave the persecutor excluded from protection because it counts as a war crime, a crime against humanity, a serious non-political crime or an act contrary to the purposes and principles of the UN. If committed after receiving refugee status, it can lead to loss of protection under Article 33.2 or 32. Nevertheless, every case must be judged on its own facts and the mere description of an act as ‘terrorist’ can never automatically exclude from international protection an applicant for refugee status.

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