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Revisiting the Civilian and Humanitarian Character of Refugee Camps

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Chapter Summary

Refugee camps are anomalous spaces in which several fields of law often converge. The intersection of different bodies of international law is most prominent in the standard known as the 'civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps'. This norm has emerged as an important principle of international law, drawing on international refugee law (IRL), international humanitarian law (IHL), the laws of neutrality and the United Nation (UN) Charter. This chapter seeks to clarify the inter-relationship of IHL and IRL in establishing and clarifying this principle. It asks: What is the 'civilian and humanitarian character' of refugee camps, and how does this concept fit in humanitarian law and refugee law? The chapter starts with a brief exploration of the historical development of the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps, then illustrates the role played by international humanitarian law and refugee law in giving meaning to 'civilian' and 'humanitarian'.

Keywords: civilian; humanitarian character; international humanitarian law (IHL); international refugee law (IRL); refugee camps; United Nation (UN) Charter

10.1163/9789004261594_011
/content/books/b9789004261594s011
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