First do no harm : refugee law as a response to armed conflict
Protecting civlians during violent conflict : theoretical and practical issues for the 21st century
Farnham ; Burlington : Ashgate, 2012
The problem of refugees has become an extremely important one in recent times, especially as conflicts increase the numbers fleeing for their safety and as places that might be considered safe havens - Australia and Europe, for example - suffer an internal political backlash against the arrival of large numbers of refugees. Against this background, Penelope Mathew argues that the cardinal principle of non-refoulement or non-return is arguably the first line of defence for people fleeing armed conflict. As many internal armed conflicts reflect racial, ethnic and religious cleavages, the definition of a refugee contained in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is capable of responding to the needs of many persons displaced by armed conflict. Some persons, however, will be determined not to be refugees as they have fled "generalized violence". It is possible to meet the compelling protection needs of such war refugees through expanded refugee definitions (as in the African and American regions) or the notion of "complementary protection" (as in Europe). Using examples from recent and ongoing conflicts, Mathew explores the argument in favour of surrogate protection for these war refugees, the relevance of international humanitarian law to the allocation of protection responsibilities and the uncomfortable division of labour in human rights protection that is imposed by the state system in which all remain formally sovereign despite huge substantive inequalities.