Revisiting the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps
Refuge from inhumanity ? : war refugees and international humanitarian law
Leiden ; Boston : Brill Nijhoff, 2014
This chapter describes the curious ‘amalgamation of international law’ evidenced in the rule relating to the ‘civilian and humanitarian character’ of refugee camps. This norm has in recent decades emerged as an important principle of international law, drawing on IRL, IHL, the laws of neutrality and the UN Charter. Tracing the origins of the principle as well as its developments in UN documents, the author seeks to clarify the respective influences of IHL and IRL in defining what is (or should be) ‘civilian’ and ‘humanitarian’ in the settlement of refugees. She asks whether, in the application of this asylum-related principle, ‘civilian’ and ‘humanitarian’ are direct imports, perversions, or vague imitations of the same concepts in IHL. She concludes that the IRL terms do not — and are not intended to — correspond with their IHL meaning; they serve an operational and functional, rather than strictly legal, purpose.