Territorial Protection: Cessation of Refugee Status and Internal Flight Alternative Compared

Authored by: Maria O’Sullivan

The Ashgate Research Companion to Migration Law, Theory and Policy

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754671886
eBook ISBN: 9781315613239
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042648


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The meaning of ‘protection’ for the purpose of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1 1

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 189 UNTS 150, supplemented by the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 606 UNTS 267.

(the ‘Refugee Convention’) has changed over the decades since the Convention was signed. Many States utilize the concept of a ‘third safe country’, ‘safe country of origin’ and ‘internal flight alternative’ 2 2

James C. Hathaway and Michelle Foster present an interesting critique of the terminology ‘Internal Flight Alternative’, advocating instead the use of ‘Internal Protection Alternative’: see James C. Hathaway and Michelle Foster, ‘Internal Protection/Relocation/Flight Alternative as an Aspect of Refugee Status Determination’, in Erika Feller, Volker Türk and Frances Nicholson (eds), Refugee Protection in International Law: UNHCR’s Global Consultations on International Protection (2003), 357–417, at 382–3. However, as ‘internal flight alternative’ is the term used by many States and in both academic commentary and jurisprudence, I have used it here as the more commonly recognized terminology.

to return refugees to a ‘safe’ country or part of a country. In recent years, some States have also begun to grant time-limited visas to recognized refugees and, as part of this, have utilized the ‘changed circumstances’ cessation provisions under Article 1C(5) to return recognized refugees to countries where protection against persecution is now being provided in the country of origin. 3 3

Australia and Germany are the main State Parties to the Convention that have utilized Article 1C(5) – see Maria O’Sullivan, ‘Withdrawing Protection under Article 1C(5) of the 1951 Convention: Lessons from Australia’ (2008) 20(4) International Journal of Refugee Law 586–610, at 587–90.

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