The Info List - Convention Relating To The Status Of Refugees

The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the 1951 Refugee
Convention, is a United Nations
United Nations
multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals. The Convention also provides for some visa-free travel for holders of travel documents issued under the convention. Although the Refugee
Convention was agreed in Geneva, it is considered incorrect to refer to it as "the Geneva
Convention" because that term is more widely understood as referring to any of four treaties regulating armed conflict. The Refugee
Convention builds on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. A refugee may enjoy rights and benefits in a state in addition to those provided for in the Convention.[2]


1 History 2 Definition of refugee 3 Rights and responsibilities of parties to the Refugee

3.1 Refugees shall 3.2 The contracting states shall 3.3 The contracting states shall not 3.4 Refugees shall be treated at least like nationals in relation to 3.5 Refugees shall be treated at least like other non-nationals in relation to

4 Noncompliance 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

History[edit] The Convention was approved at a special United Nations
United Nations
conference on 28 July 1951. Denmark
was the first state to ratify the treaty on 4 December 1952, which entered into force on 22 April 1954. It was initially limited to protecting European refugees from before 1 January 1951 (after World War II), though states could make a declaration that the provisions would apply to refugees from other places. The 1967 Protocol removed the time limits and applied to refugees "without any geographic limitation", but declarations previously made by parties to the Convention on geographic scope were grandfathered.[3] As at 1 July 2013, there were 145 parties to the Convention, and 146 to the Protocol.[1][4][5] Most recently, the President of Nauru, Marcus Stephen, signed both the Convention and the Protocol on 17 June 2011[6][7] and acceded on 28 June 2011. Madagascar
and Saint Kitts and Nevis are parties only to the Convention, while Cape Verde, the United States of America and Venezuela
are parties only to the Protocol. Since the US ratified the Protocol in 1968, it undertook a majority of the obligations spelled out in the original 1951 document (Articles 2-34), and Article 1 as amended in the Protocol, as "supreme Law of the Land".[8] The rights promulgated by the Convention generally still stand today. Some have argued that the complex nature of 21st century refugee relationships calls for a new treaty that recognizes the evolving nature of the nation-state, population displacement, environmental migrants, and modern warfare.[9] [10] Nevertheless, ideas like the principle of non-refoulement (Article 33) are still applied today, with the 1951 Convention being the hallmark of such rights. Definition of refugee[edit] Article 1 of the Convention, as amended by the 1967 Protocol, defines a refugee as this:

"A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.."[11]

Several groups have built upon the 1951 Convention to create a more objective definition. While their terms differ from those of the 1951 Convention, the Convention has significantly shaped the new, more objective definitions. They include the 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee
Problems in Africa by the Organisation of African Unity (since 2002 African Union) and the 1984 Cartagena Declaration, while nonbinding, also sets out regional standards for refugees in Central America, Mexico and Panama. Rights and responsibilities of parties to the Refugee
Convention[edit] In the general principle of international law, treaties in force are binding upon the parties to it and must be performed in good faith. Countries that have ratified the Refugee
Convention are obliged to protect refugees that are on their territory, in accordance with its terms.[12] There are a number of provisions that States parties to the Refugee
Convention must adhere to. Refugees shall[edit]

abide by the national laws of the contracting states (Article 2)

The contracting states shall[edit]

exempt refugees from reciprocity (Article 7): That means that the granting of a right to a refugee should not be subject to the granting of similar treatment by the refugee's country of nationality, because refugees do not enjoy the protection of their home state.[12] be able to take provisional measures against a refugee if needed in the interest of essential national security (Article 9) respect a refugee's personal status and the rights that come with it, particularly rights related to marriage (Article 12) provide free access to courts for refugees (Article 16) provide administrative assistance for refugees (Article 25) provide identity papers for refugees (Article 27) provide travel documents for refugees (Article 28) allow refugees to transfer their assets (Article 30) provide the possibility of assimilation and naturalization to refugees (Article 34) cooperate with the UNHCR (Article 35) in the exercise of its functions and to help UNHCR supervise the implementation of the provisions in the Convention.[12] provide information on any national legislation they may adopt to ensure the application of the Convention (Article 36).[12] settle disputes they may have with other contracting states at the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
if not otherwise possible (Article 38)

The contracting states shall not[edit]

discriminate against refugees (Article 3) take exceptional measures against a refugee solely on account of his or her nationality (Article 8) expect refugees to pay taxes and fiscal charges that are different to those of nationals (Article 29) impose penalties on refugees who entered illegally in search of asylum if they present themselves (Article 31) expel refugees (Article 32) forcibly return or "refoul" refugees to the country they've fled from (Article 33). It is widely accepted that the prohibition of forcible return is part of customary international law. This means that even States that are not party to the 1951 Refugee
Convention must respect the principle of non-refoulement.[12] Therefore, States are obligated under the Convention and under customary international law to respect the principle of non-refoulement. If and when this principle is threatened, UNHCR can respond by intervening with relevant authorities, and if it deems necessary, will inform the public.[12]

Refugees shall be treated at least like nationals in relation to[edit]

freedom to practice their religion (Article 4) the respect and protection of artistic rights and industrial property (Article 14) rationing (Article 20) elementary education (Article 22) public relief and assistance (Article 23) labour legislation and social security (Article 24)

Refugees shall be treated at least like other non-nationals in relation to[edit]

movable and immovable property (Article 13) the right of association in unions or other associations (Article 15) wage-earning employment (Article 17) self-employment (Article 18) practice of the liberal professions (Article 19) housing (Article 21) education higher than elementary (Article 22) the right to free movement and free choice of residence within the country (Article 26)

Noncompliance[edit] Although the Convention is “legally binding” there is no body that monitors compliance. The United Nations
United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has supervisory responsibilities, but cannot enforce the Convention, and there is no formal mechanism for individuals to file complaints. The Convention specifies that complaints should be referred to the International Court of Justice[13]. It appears that no nation has ever done this. An individual may lodge a complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or with the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but no one has ever done so in regard to violations of the Convention. Nations may levy international sanctions against violators, but no nation has ever done this. At present, the only real consequences of violation are 1) public shaming in the press, and 2) verbal condemnation of the violator by the UN and by other nations. To date these have not proven to be significant deterrents.[14] See also[edit]

has original text related to this article: 1951 Refugee

Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons Environmental migrant Office of the United Nations
United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Refugee
Law Refugee
travel document Right of Asylum Statelessness Travel Document Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(Article 14) United Nations
United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) United Nations
United Nations
Commission on Human Rights World Refugee
Refugee, as per the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees


^ a b c "Chapter V – Refugees and Stateless Persons". United Nations Treaty Series. 22 July 2013. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2013.  ^ Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Article 5. ^ "Treaty Series - Treaties and international agreements registered or filed and recorded with the Secretariat of the United Nations" (PDF). 606 (8791). United Nations. 1970: 268. Retrieved 2013-10-19.  ^ "Chapter V – Refugees and Stateless Persons". United Nations Treaty Series. 22 July 2013. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2013.  ^ UNHCR: States Parties to the Convention and Protocol, retrieved 15 July 2010 ^ " Nauru
signs UN refugee convention". Radio New Zealand International. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011.  ^ "Nauru's UN move on refugee convention adds to pressure on Labor", The Australian, 17 June 2011 ^ Joan Fitzpatrick, "The International Dimension of U.S. Refugee
Law", 15 Berkeley J. Int'l. Law 1, Berkeley Law Scholarship Repository, 1997 ^ http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2768162 ^ http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2617336 ^ United Nations
United Nations
High Commission for Refugees. (2012). Text of Convention. Retrieved 5 May 2012. Archived 7 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c d e f UNHCR: Refugee
protection: A Guide to International Refugee
Law, 2001, ISBN 92-9142-101-4, retrieved 19 August 2015 ^ Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Article 38. ^ Rose Moloney, "Does Australia's refugee policy breach UN rules?" Crikey Clarifier, Nov 29, 2012.

External links[edit]

Full text of the Convention (UNHCR) Introductory note by Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, procedural history note and audiovisual material on the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees in the Historic Archives of the United Nations
United Nations
Audiovisual Library of International Law Lectures by Guy S. Goodwin-Gill entitled International Migration Law – A General Introduction and Forced Migration – The Evolution of International Refugee
Law and Organization in the Lecture Series of the United Nations
United Nations
Audiovisual Library of International Law

v t e

International human rights instruments

Declarations, Manifestos and Resolutions

Brazilian Resolution Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples Cairo Declaration of Human Rights Declaration of Montreal Declaration of the Rights of the Child Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity Universal Declaration of Human Rights American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man Paris Principles Yogyakarta Principles

International law

United Nations
United Nations
General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples UN Convention Against Torture Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Convention on the Political Rights of Women Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Convention on the Rights of the Child United Nations
United Nations
Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Regional law

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights European

Convention on Human Rights Convention for the Prevention of Torture European Convention on Nationality Convention for the Protection of National Minorities Social Charter

American Convention on Human Rights Inter-American Convention

to Prevent and Punish Torture on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities

International humanitarian law

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Convention relating to the Status of Refugees Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness Geneva
Conventions Hague Conventions Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

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European migrant crisis

Timeline of the European migrant crisis

Refugees and immigration

Afghan refugees Kurdish refugees Syrian refugees Libyan refugees Iraqi refugees

Assyrian refugees

Sudanese refugees Immigration to Europe

Immigration to Italy Immigration to Greece African immigration to Europe

Migrant vehicle incidents

Lampedusa shipwreck (October 2013) Blue Sky M incident
Blue Sky M incident
(December 2014) Ezadeen incident (January 2015) Death of Alan Kurdi
Death of Alan Kurdi
(September 2015) 2016 Egypt migrant shipwreck (September 2016) November 2016 Libya migrant shipwrecks (November 2016) List of migrant vessel incidents on the Mediterranean Sea List of migrant vehicle incidents in Europe List of migrant incidents on the borders in Europe

Maritime operations

Operation Poseidon (EU, 2006–2015) Operation Hermes (EU, 2011–2013) Operation Mare Nostrum
Operation Mare Nostrum
(Italy, 2013–2014) Operation Triton
Operation Triton
(EU, 2014–present) EUNAVFOR Med (Operation Sophia) (EU, 2015–present) Operation Poseidon Rapid Intervention (EU, 2015–present)

Migrant camps

Lampedusa immigrant reception center Migrants around Calais

Calais Jungle Calais migrant crisis

La Liniere refugee camp Basroch refugee camp

Border barriers

Austrian border barrier Bulgarian border barrier Ceuta border fence Calais border barrier Hungarian border barrier Macedonian border barrier Melilla border fence Norway–Russia border barrier Slovenian border barrier

Related events

2015 IKEA stabbing attack November 2015 Paris attacks 2015 Vienna swimming pool rape 2015 Geldermalsen riot 2015 Corsican protests New Year's Eve sexual assaults in Germany Murder of Ashley Ann Olsen Killing of Alexandra Mezher 2016 Würzburg train attack 2016 Ansbach bombing Reutlingen knife attack Hungarian migrant quota referendum, 2016 Murder of Maria Ladenburger Marseille stabbing 2017 Kandel stabbing attack 2018 Calais migrant violence

Related articles

Asylum in the European Union

European Asylum Curriculum (EAC) European Asylum Support Office
European Asylum Support Office

Convention relating to the Status of Refugees Dublin Regulation


European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur) Fire at Sea Frontex
(European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders

European Border and Coast Guard

Fortress Europe Schengen Agreement

Schengen Information System
Schengen Information System

Valletta Summit on Migration

v t e

Immigration to the United States
Immigration to the United States
and related topics

Relevant colonial era, United States and international laws

Colonial era

Nationality law in the American Colonies Plantation Act 1740

18th century

Naturalization Act 1790 / 1795 / 1798

19th century

Naturalization Law 1802 Civil Rights Act of 1866 14th Amendment (1868) Naturalization Act 1870 Page Act (1875) Immigration Act of 1882 Chinese Exclusion (1882) Scott Act (1888) Immigration Act of 1891 Geary Act
Geary Act


Naturalization Act 1906 Gentlemen's Agreement (1907) Immigration Act of 1907 Immigration Act 1917 (Asian Barred Zone) Emergency Quota Act
Emergency Quota Act
(1921) Cable Act
Cable Act
(1922) Immigration Act 1924 Tydings–McDuffie Act
Tydings–McDuffie Act
(1934) Filipino Repatriation Act (1935) Nationality Act of 1940 Bracero Program (1942–1964) Magnuson Act
Magnuson Act
(1943) War Brides Act (1945) Luce–Celler Act (1946)


UN Refugee
Convention (1951) Immigration and Nationality Act 1952 / 1965 Refugee
Act (1980) Immigration Reform and Control Act (1986) American Homecoming Act
American Homecoming Act
(1989) Immigration Act 1990 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) (1996) Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) (1997) American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) (1998)

21st century

American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) (2000) Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) (2000) H-1B Visa Reform Act (2004) REAL ID Act
(2005) Secure Fence Act (2006) DACA (2012) Executive Order 13769
Executive Order 13769
(2017) Executive Order 13780
Executive Order 13780

Visas and policies

Visa policy

Permanent residence Visa Waiver Program Temporary protected status Asylum Green Card Lottery

US-VISIT Security Advisory Opinion E-Verify Section 287(g) National Origins Formula

Government organizations

Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement U.S. Border Patrol U.S. Customs and Border Protection Immigration and Naturalization Service
Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) Board of Immigration Appeals

Supreme Court cases

United States v. Wong Kim Ark
United States v. Wong Kim Ark
(1898) United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind
United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind
(1923) United States v. Brignoni-Ponce
United States v. Brignoni-Ponce
(1975) Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting
Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting

Related issues and events

Economic impact Eugenics in the United States Guest worker program Human trafficking Human smuggling


Immigration reform Immigration reduction Mexico–United States barrier Labor shortage March for America Illegal immigrant population Reverse immigration 2006 protests Unaccompanied minors from Central America List of people deported from the United States


Mexico–United States border Canada–United States border United States Border Patrol interior checkpoints

Proposed legislation

(2001–2010) H.R. 4437 (2005) McCain–Kennedy (2005) SKIL (2006) Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act 2006 STRIVE Act (2007) Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act 2007 Uniting American Families Act
Uniting American Families Act
(2000–2013) Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 SAFE Act (2015) RAISE Act

Immigration stations and points of entry

Angel Island Castle Garden East Boston Ellis Island Sullivan's Island Washington Avenue


"Wetback" (1954) "Peter Pan" (1960–1962) "Babylift" (1975) "Gatekeeper" (1994) "Endgame" (2003–2012) "Front Line" (2004–2005) "Streamline" (2005–present) "Return to Sender" (2006–2007) "Jump Start" (2006–2008) "Phalanx" (2010–2016)

State legislation

California DREAM Act
(2006–2010) Arizona SB 1070
Arizona SB 1070
(2010) Alabama HB 56 (2011)

Non-governmental organizations

Arizona Border Recon Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform National Immigration Forum Center for Community Change We Are America Alliance CASA of Maryland Mexica Movement Mexicans Without Borders Federation for American Immigration Reform Minuteman Project Minuteman Civil Defense Corps California Coalition for Immigration Reform Save Our State Center for Immigration Studies National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) NumbersUSA Negative Population Growth Migration Policy Institute Utah Compact Center for Migration Studies