This month sees the publication of two new books by RSC staff and associates.
EU Asylum Policies: The Power of Strong Regulating States, by Natascha Zaun (RSC Junior Research Fellow), has been published by Springer. It adds to our understanding of the refugee crisis by analysing the dynamics that lie behind 15 years of asylum policies in the European Union. It sheds light on why cooperation has led to reinforced refugee protection on paper but has failed to provide it in practice. Offering innovative empirical, theoretical and methodological research, it argues that the different asylum systems and priorities of the various Member States explain the EU’s lack of initiative in responding to this humanitarian emergency. Zaun demonstrates that the strong regulators of North-Western Europe have used their powerful bargaining positions to shape EU asylum policies and impose their will on Member States in South-Eastern Europe. These latter countries, having barely made a mark on EU policies, are now facing significant difficulties in implementing them. Zaun concludes that the EU will only identify potential solutions to the crisis when it takes these disparities into account and establishes a functioning common refugee policy.
Voting Rights of Refugees, by Ruvi Ziegler (RSC Research Associate, University of Reading), develops a novel legal argument about the voting rights of recognised 1951 Geneva Convention Refugees. The main normative contention is that such refugees should have the right to vote in the political community where they reside, assuming that the political community is a democracy and that its citizens have the right to vote. The basis of this contention is that the right to political participation in some political community is a basic right from the point of view of dignity and the protection of one’s interests. Due to their unique political predicament, 1951 Geneva Convention Refugees are a special category of non-citizen residents. They are unable to participate in elections of their state of origin, do not enjoy its diplomatic protection and consular assistance abroad, and – most fundamentally – are unable or unwilling, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution, to return to it; thus, they are in limbo for a potentially protracted period. Refugees, too, deserve to have a place in the world in the Arendtian sense, where their opinions are significant and their actions are effective. Their state of asylum is, for the time being, the only community in which there is any realistic prospect of political participation on their part. Voting Rights of Refugees is published by Cambridge University Press.