UNHCR and International Refugee Law: From Treaties to Innovation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

UNHCR and International Refugee Law

From Treaties to Innovation, 1st Edition

By Corinne Lewis


204 pages

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This book considers the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ contribution to international refugee law since the establishment of UNHCR by the United Nations General Assembly in 1951. The book explores the historical and statutory foundations that create an indelible link between UNHCR and international refugee law. This book charts the significant evolution that has occurred in the organisation’s role throughout the last sixty years, looking at both the formal means by which UNHCR’s mandate may be modified, and the techniques UNHCR has used to facilitate the changes in its role, thereby revealing a significant evolution in the organisation’s role since the onset of the crisis in refugee protection in the 1980’s. UNHCR, itself, has demonstrated its organizational autonomy as the primary agent for the adaptation of its responsibilities and work related to international refugee law. The author does suggest however that UNHCR needs to continue to extend and strengthen its role related to international refugee law if UNHCR is to ensure a stronger legal framework for the protection of refugees as well as a fuller respect for refugees’ rights in practice.

UNHCR and International Refugee Law should be of particular interest to refugee lawyers as well as academics and students of refugee law and international law, and anyone concerned with the important role that UNHCR plays in the protection of refugees today.

Table of Contents

1. Foundations for UNHCR’s International Refugee Law Role 2. UNHCR’s Statutory Role and Work Related to Refugee Law 3. Flexibility in UNHCR’s International Law Role 4. The Crisis in Refugee Protection 5. UNHCR’s Approaches to Address Weaknesses in the Treaty Framework 6. UNHCR’s Approaches to Improve the Effectiveness of International Refugee Law 7. Applying Lessons from the Past to Enhance UNHCR's Role in the Future

About the Author

Corinne Lewis has drawn upon her decade of experience as a Legal Officer with UNHCR and her human rights and refugee law research to explore UNHCR’s contribution to the development and effectiveness of international refugee law. She has taught courses on human rights, refugee law, and international organisations law, as well as the United Nations and brings these areas together in this book.

About the Series

Routledge Research in International Law

The series offers a space for new and emerging scholars of international law to publish original arguments, as well as presenting alternative perspectives from more established names in international legal research.  Works cover both the theory and practice of international law, presenting innovative analyses of the nature and state of international law itself as well as more specific studies within particular disciplines. The series will explore topics such as the changes to the international legal order, the processes of law-making and law-enforcement, as well as the range of actors in public international law. The books will take a variety of different methodological approaches to the subject including interdisciplinary, critical legal studies, feminist, and Third World approaches, as well as the sociology of international law. Looking at the past, present and future of international law the series reflects the current vitality and diversity of international legal scholarship.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / International