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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. The underlying ethos of the refugee regime is a reciprocal commitment to the principle of nonrefoulement, that is, the obligation not to return a person to a country where she faces a well-founded fear of persecution. As the preamble to the 1951 Convention makes clear, the premise of the refugee regime is international cooperation; specifically, that states reciprocally commit to provide protection to refugees....

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Journal article


Cambridge University Press

Publication Date



29 (4)