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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: July 2014

1 - Alienage

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      • Alienage
      • James C. Hathaway, University of Michigan Law School, Michelle Foster, University of Melbourne
      • Book: The Law of Refugee Status
      • Online publication: 05 July 2014
      • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511998300.002
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      • Alienage
      • James C. Hathaway, University of Michigan Law School, Michelle Foster, University of Melbourne
      • Book: The Law of Refugee Status
      • Online publication: 05 July 2014
      • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511998300.002
      Available formats
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      • Alienage
      • James C. Hathaway, University of Michigan Law School, Michelle Foster, University of Melbourne
      • Book: The Law of Refugee Status
      • Online publication: 05 July 2014
      • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511998300.002
      Available formats
      ×

Summary

Only a person outside her own state can qualify as a Convention refugee. The alienage requirement of the definition – limiting status to an at-risk person who is “outside” her own country – derives from the limited aim of the Refugee Convention to deal “only with the problem of legal protection and status.” The treaty was conceived not to relieve the suffering of all forced migrants, but rather to assist a subset comprised of persons who were “outside their own countries [and] who lacked the protection of a Government.” The intent was to provide this group of enforced expatriates with legal status and protection to offset the disabilities of presence outside their own country until they could acquire new or renewed national protection. Internally displaced persons, while objects of humanitarian concern, were thought to raise “separate problems of a different character,” since such persons did not suffer from the legal disabilities of enforced alienage.

The drafters’ focus on enfranchising persons forced abroad also reflected a candid appraisal that the broader problem of persons dislocated within their own countries would demand a more sustained commitment of resources than was then available to the international community. Indeed, there was concern that the inclusion of internally displaced persons in the international protection regime might prompt states to shift responsibility for the well-being of large parts of their own population to the world community. The obligations of states under the Convention would thereby be increased, inclining fewer states to participate in the treaty regime.

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