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Human Rights and Refugees: Enhancing Protection through International Human Rights Law

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This essay analyses how UN mechanisms of human rights protection – namely the UN Commission and Sub-Commission on Human Rights, the Committee Against Torture, the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Human Rights Committee – can be used as a practical and analytical tool to enhance the protection of refugees and suggests that they can make a significant contribution to refugee protection. Although UN mechanisms may not provide a framework of protection as expansive and reliable as domestic systems, recent developments in international human rights law have contributed to an increasingly important legal framework that can be invoked in support of both specific cases and more broad-based advocacy on behalf of refugees. This article draws on specific examples to argue that UNHCR and refugee advocates can use these laws and mechanisms to enhance protection principles and give effect to forms of enforcement.

Affiliations: 1: Refugee Law Training Officer, UNHCR Regional Office for the Baltic and Nordic Countries, Stockholm

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