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7. Religion within the Refugee Context: Squaring the Circle?

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Chapter Summary

Religion based refugee claims can be amongst the most complex not least because a consistent approach has not always been adopted by decision-makers. Religion as a ground for refugee status embraces both elements: affording protection to those who are at risk because they are known adherents of a particular religion as well as to those who are at risk for living by their convictions. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Guidelines reinforce the UNHCR Handbook and acknowledge persecution for reasons of religion may take various forms. UNHCR Guidelines cite discriminatory measures amounting to persecution as those which have consequences of a substantially prejudicial nature for the person concerned, such as serious restrictions on the right to earn a livelihood, or to access normally available educational institutions and/or health services. Genuineness of conversion has come under judicial scrutiny.

Keywords: discriminatory measures; religion based refugee; religious conversion; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) guidelines



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