Moving Towards an Integrated Approach of Refugee Law and Human Rights Law
Prof. Chetail’s contribution to the Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law, calls for acknowledging the plurality of legal sources and proposes an integrated approach to refugee protection, whereby the broad variety of applicable rules are articulated within a comprehensive and coherent framework of analysis. The interface between refugee law and human rights law not only mirrors the systemic evolution of international law, but also provides a fertile ground for revisiting the reach and potential of the contemporary refugee protection regime.
Instead of regarding the two branches of international law as professional silos, his new perspective offers a broader vision of international protection: refugee law and human rights law complement and reinforce each other within one single continuum of protection. The conceptual foundation of his integrated approach relies on the complementarity model, as an alternative to the dogma of lex specialis. This normative continuum of protection is further tested by a comparative assessment between the rules of the Refugee Convention and those of human rights treaties.
When assessed from the broader perspective of international law and its evolution since the adoption of the Refugee Convention 70 years ago, human rights law has shaped, updated and enlarged refugee law to such an extent that the latter has become an integral component of the former. Prof. Chetail concludes:
‘International law is not a menu à la carte. It is binding as a whole and its overall design makes sense only when its rules are understood and applied in their totality. Following this stance, an integrated approach to refugee protection reflects the unity and diversity of international law, whereby states are bound by a plurality of legal commitments within the same international legal system. This holistic approach opens up new perspectives to rethink and revisit the reach of refugee protection. From this angle, acknowledging the pervasiveness of human rights law goes beyond the range of states parties to the Refugee Convention. It provides an authoritative framework of international protection for non-states parties and it addresses the responsibility of States of origin.’
The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law sets the agenda for future academic research and examines a wide range of legal instruments relevant to refugee protection, including from international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international migration law, the law of the sea, and international criminal law.
The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law
Edited by Cathryn Costello, Michelle Foster, and Jane McAdam.
The chapter IS AVAILABLE on the download link BELOW