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13 The Role of Human Rights Bodies in Protecting Refugees

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Chapter Summary

The divide between the protection of refugees and human rights that exists in theory and practice is a false one. A major pitfall has been lack of a treaty body mechanism with competence to decide on legality of measures pursued by States under the Refugee Convention. Human rights treaty bodies may remedy this defect. Although there are acknowledged constraints concerning the competence of these bodies to deal with refugee claims, the evidence shows that they have begun to address complaints by refugees in the context of protecting human rights. The challenges arise mainly on three fronts. The first is to articulate an international legal content of primary basis for protection of refugees. The second involves scope of non-refoulement by reference to human rights and gender-based claims. The third is with respect to synthesize the standards for treatment of refugees under Refugee Convention with those enumerated by human rights treaties.

Keywords: gender-based claims; human rights treaty bodies; non-refoulement; protecting human rights; protecting refugees; Refugee Convention



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