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3 (Mis)perception of Refugees, State Sovereignty, and the Continuing Challenge of International Protection

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Chapter Summary

A contemporary view of state sovereignty would focus as much on the objective of states to control territory as on who enters that territory. The refugee problem is not getting any easier to deal with, and despite the relative decrease in number of refugees globally, the basic challenge for the UNHCR and other refugee advocates is to ensure a strong commitment to basic principles of refugee protection that includes access to territory and granting of asylum to deserving individuals. Advances in linking refugee protection with human rights protection in global refugee policy, remains seriously affected by two linked yet discernible trends. One is the growth of racism and xenophobia, and other is the preoccupation with security. The challenge of today and for the future is to maintain the system of international human rights and refugee protection that has been enshrined in international law and to which states have bound themselves.

Keywords: human rights protection; international law; racism; refugees; state sovereignty; UNHCR



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