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Title: The notion of persecution in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its relevance for the protection needs of refugees in the 21st century
Author: Crepin, Mathilde
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 9359
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The notion of persecution is a pivotal element of the definition of a refugee set out in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Convention). Yet, this notion has been increasingly criticised because it has been deemed inadequate in the current geopolitical context. Therefore, the present thesis will explore whether the notion of persecution can adapt to the circumstances of refugees in the 21st century or whether a change of paradigm is needed in international refugee law. In particular, it will be observed that persecution has never been defined in the 1951 Convention. Some authors have considered that the absence of authoritative definition was intentional to make the concept of persecution adaptable to its various changing forms. Whilst the lack of a definition indeed makes this notion flexible, it also encourages divergent interpretations in the jurisprudence. As a result, a principled approach is needed and, in that perspective, the present thesis will explore the propositions made by various authors for interpreting persecution in the current world. The most widely accepted interpretive framework considers that basic human rights should be used as benchmarks for interpreting persecution. Although this narrative proposes objective and tangible standards of interpretation, it has been inconsistently applied in national jurisdictions and has been quite criticised by a number of authors. This thesis will analyse this human rights framework, as well as alternative models that have been more recently proposed for interpreting persecution. The benefits and limitations of these different models, and how they have been concretely applied in the jurisprudence of various countries will be assessed in order to identify the most suitable approach for interpreting the notion in the 21st century. Finally, the limitations of persecution will be explored in order to precisely delineate the contours of the current definition of a refugee at the 4 international level. It will be argued that this notion is sufficiently flexible to adapt to a large number of forcibly displaced people in the present world, if properly interpreted. Whilst, the limitations of this notion are not ignored, it will be contended that the 1951 Convention remains, to a large extent, relevant in the current geopolitical circumstances whereas other forms of protection could be more appropriate for individuals who do not meet the criteria of the refugee definition.
Supervisor: Juss, Satvinder Singh ; Mumford Alldridge, Ann Catherine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available