‘Truly’ International Refugee Law? Or Yet Another East/West Divide?
Davies, Sara E. (2002) ‘Truly’ International Refugee Law? Or Yet Another East/West Divide? Social Alternatives, 21(4).
In the recent literature on international refugee law (Martin 1997, Goodwin-Gill 1996, Kourula 1999) there is a predominant assumption that it is indeed international. However, it is clear that the main possibilities of refugee law come from state adherence and obligation to it. The will of the Western states to practice international refugee law has been questioned in the last two decades (Feller 2001, Loescher 1993, Chowdhury 2001, Chimni 1998), but very little has been written about the role of Asian and developing states in international refugee law. In this paper, I present a brief history of the formation of international refugee law. I show that ‘East’ and ‘West’ (Said 1978) have taken up very different positions in relation to refugees, and that this has significant implications in the present day. The possibilities of international refugee law are limited by an East/West divide.
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