The Duties of Refugees
Matthew J Gibney
Chapter 7 in The Political Philosophy of Refuge, edited by David Miller and Christine Straehle. Summary: What are the duties of refugees? Writing in 1970, Michael Walzer described refugees a possessing a peculiar and distinctive ‘kind of freedom’. The refugee, by virtue of being effectively stateless, is released from all the duties associated with citizenship, not least the duty to fight for the state. However, this, Walzer immediately noted, was a poisoned freedom, one that any refugee would gladly exchange for the bonds of citizenship. It was a freedom grounded in uncertainty and insecurity because the refugee’s liberation from duties came with the disappearance of any state duties to the refugee.