The Problem of Refugees in the Light of Contemporary International Law Issues


The contributions collected in the present book go beyond refugee law in its traditional sense - largely centred on questions of durable asylum and the plight of only a small tranche of the asylum-seeking population - in situating refugee law within the broader international legal system. The refugee problem is thus seen as a prism through which a host of exploding issues confront traditional international law and international relations: creation and dissolution of states, state responsibility, human rights, international jurisdiction and the United Nations mandate. These theoretical problems and their legal incidence on the refugee condition are debated against the background of UNHCR field operations in Former Yugoslavia, Africa and Eastern Europe. The contributions were originally presented at a Colloquium held in May 1994, organised by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Refugee law experts, members of the UN International Law Commission and practitioners were brought together in a dialogue between scholars and practitioners on a major and exponentially growing international problem.

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Preface; D. Warner. Introduction; V. Gowlland-Debbas. Keynote Address; S. Ogata. Part I: UNHCR Perspective. Legal Issues Arising from Recent UNHCR Operations: Introduction; L. Franco. Coping with a Complex Refugee Crisis in Africa: Issues, Problems and Constraints for Refugees and International Law; G. Okoth-Obbo. Issues Arising from the UNHCR Operation in Former Yugoslavia; W. van Hövell. Nationality and Statelessness Issues in the Newly Independent States; M. Iogna-Prat. Part II: International Law Perspective. Legal Problems Arising from the Dissolution of States in Relation to the Refugee Phenomenon; V. Mikulka. Commentaires sur: les problèmes découlant de la création et de la dissolution des États et les flux de réfugiés; A. Pellet. State Responsibility and the Country of Origin; C. Tomuschat. Commentaires sur: la responsabilité de l'État d'origine des réfugiés; B. Stern. The Right to Leave, the Right to Return and the Question of a Right to Remain; G.S. Goodwin-Gill. Comments on: The Right to Leave, the Right to Return and the Questions of a Right to Remain; K. Hailbronner. The Legal Basis of International Jurisdiction to Act with Regard to the Internally Displaced; R. Plender. Comments on: The Legal Basis of International Jurisdiction to Act with Regard to the Internally Displaced; V.P. Nanda. Legal Issues Arising from Conflicts between UN Humanitarian and Political Mandates – A Survey; C. Palley. Reflecting the Discussions; V.A. Leary. List of Abbreviations.