Details from the Forced Migration Discussion List.
Call for Papers: Special 60th Anniversary Issue: “Is the 1951 Convention Outdated?”
Many commentators who criticise the alleged widespread abuse of the refugee protection system point to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention as the source of the problem. Its supposed generosity constrains government actions and allegedly prevents the adoption of measures that would make the system more effective and efficient. If we consider developments in global modes of transportation and border controls, it becomes apparent that conditions have changed considerably since governments adopted this historic treaty following the Second World War. It is therefore not surprising that the Refugee Convention’s relevance has been questioned in recent years. Yet a closer look at the Convention reveals that it does not include anything relating to status determination procedures which constitute the most burdensome aspect of protection in many rich countries. It does not even guarantee a right to asylum for persecuted people who are granted refugee status. Have national procedures become inefficient because of the Convention or do other factors explain this situation?
The common response from advocates and academics suggests that any opening of discussions on the Refugee Convention will result in diminishing standards which will leave refugees with even less protection. Aside from legitimate fears about a general lack of solidarity and generosity, what specific forms of protection offered in the Convention risk being abandoned? Is there any fundamental right in this refugee treaty that would be threatened or that is not already covered in other areas of international law? Recent cases suggest courts have relied to a large extent on other human rights treaties to provide actual legal protection. What particular reasons lead advocates to prefer the status quo with regards to the Refugee Convention?
For its special issue on the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention, REFUGE invites submissions that explore the debate surrounding the relevance of this historic treaty. In particular, we are interested in papers that recognise the diverging assessments in order to propose approaches that might address current and future problems in a more effective manner.
Submission Deadline: **March 30, 2012**
For more information, visit the Refuge web site at http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/refuge/index.