The Normative Terrain of the Global Refugee Regime

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 29.4 (Winter 2015)

October 14, 2015

Syrian refugees in Turkey.
CREDIT: European Commission DG ECHO (CC)

By Alexander Betts

Editor's note: This is a First View version of the essay, which is forthcoming in the Winter issue of the journal. 

The global refugee regime encompasses the rules, norms, principles, and decision-making procedures that govern states' responses to refugees. It comprises a set of norms, primarily those entrenched in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which defines who is a refugee and the rights to which such people are entitled. It also comprises an international organization, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has supervisory responsibility for ensuring that states meet their obligations toward refugees.

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