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This paper explores the limits of 'subsidiary' or 'complementary' protection, with particular emphasis on how the concept is applied within the European Communities [EC] legal order. Seeking light in obscure places, it argues that recent developments in EC law, as well as the evolving jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, can be construed positively as dispelling confusion between differently motivated claims to international protection. Should ambiguity prevail, however, these developments may well signal the emergence of a regional 'asylum law', calling into question the continuing relevance of the universal legal framework enshrined in the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

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Refugee Studies Centre

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