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International Refugee Law and Socio-Economic Rights
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  • Page extent: 444 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.76 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 342.08/3
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: K3230.R45 F67 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Refugees--Legal status, laws, etc
    • Asylum, Right of
    • Human rights
    • Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees--(19)
    • Migrant labor--Legal status, laws, etc

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521870177)

A range of emerging refugee claims is beginning to challenge the boundaries of the Refugee Convention regime and question traditional distinctions between 'economic migrants' and 'political refugees'. This book, first published in 2007, identifies the conceptual and analytical challenges presented by claims based on socio-economic deprivation, and undertakes an assessment of the extent to which these challenges may be overcome by a creative interpretation of the Refugee Convention, consistent with correct principles of international treaty interpretation. The central argument is that, notwithstanding the dichotomy between 'economic migrants' and 'political refugees', the Refugee Convention is capable of accommodating a more complex analysis which recognizes that many claims based on socio-economic deprivation are indeed properly considered within the purview of the Refugee Convention. This, the first book to consider these issues, will be of great interest to refugee law scholars, advocates, decision-makers and non-governmental organizations.

• The first book to consider the cutting edge issue of refugee claims based on the deprivation of socio-economic rights • The book contains extensive original case-law research across five common law jurisdictions on an important contemporary issue of international refugee law • Provides an excellent resource for refugee advocates, policy-makers (such as NGOs) and refugee decision-makers around the world


1. Introduction; 2. A human rights framework for interpreting the Refugee Convention; 3. Persecution and socio-economic deprivation in refugee law; 4. Rethinking the conceptual approach to socio-economic claims; 5. Economic deprivation as the reason for being persecuted; 6. Economic disadvantage and the Refugee Convention grounds; 7. Conclusions.


'… complex hermeneutical legal approach, which is particularly useful in the context of contemporary international law in general … offers strong interpretive means for a better and more coherent interpretation of the [Refugee Convention].' International Journal of Refugee Law

'… a stunning debut that is accessible to a wider readership … structured beautifully and shows an impressive grasp of comparative jurisprudence across the common law jurisdictions studied. … strong focus on domestic jurisprudence and her insistence on a careful and principled approach to interpreting the Convention definition should be particularly useful for refugee adjudicators.' Australian Yearbook of International Law

'… all practitioners, decision-makers, and policy-makers involved in refugee issues, plus refugee scholars and academics alike will find this book an invaluable aid … [it] will undoubtedly be regarded as a major authority in this area of scholarship, by reason of the excellent analysis of the elements of the refugee definition which it contains.' Public Law Review

'… thoroughly impressed by Dr Foster's ability to negotiate some of the most difficult issues facing refugee decision-makers. This book is a must-read for all such decision-makers and policy-makers and makes a valuable contribution to the international literature on refugee law.' Australian International Law Journal

'The book's explanation of the interconnections between economic deprivation and grounds under the Convention is insightful and will push legal scholars, policy-makers and decision-makers on refugee issues, including eligibility for refugee status to think outside the box. … an ingenious reading of the Refugee Convention …' Journal of Refugee Studies

'Foster reviews the case law of common law courts, as well as recent theoretical developments in human rights law, to build a persuasive case for including socio-economic claims in refugee status determinations. … Foster makes a string and convincing argument that in a world where law and ethics exist outside of foreign policy considerations, the Refugee Convention clearly allows for broader inclusion of socio-economic claims in the determination of refugee status.' The Yale Journal of International Law

'… a magnificent book addressing a major cutting edge issue in refugee and asylum law … the analysis is grounded in theory, as well as caselaw from jurisdictions around the globe … Accessible, sophisticated writing, and evident depth in scholarship …' Deborah Anker, Director, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, Harvard Law School

'A lucid and authoritative exposition of the reasons why the violation of socio-economic rights is included in the Refugee Convention. No responsible lawyer or judge engaged with the Convention can be without this text.' Rodger Haines QC, New Zealand Refugee Status Appeals Authority

'I was thoroughly impressed by Dr Foster's ability to negotiate some of the most difficult issues facing refugee decision-makers. This book is a must-read for all such decision-makers and policy-makers, and makes a valuable contribution to the international literature on refugee law.' Penelope Mathew, Interim Director, Program in Refugee and Asylum Law, University of Michigan Law School

'… impressive … an exceptional book which makes an outstanding contribution to the progressive development of international refugee law. Foster displays an extensive knowledge and understanding of the law, policy and practice. … This book will be widely read in academic circles, but it also should and must inform and shape practice. … of immense value …' Human Rights Law Review

'It is hoped that Foster's meticulous research, sober reasoning, and original analysis will encourage further scholarship on these pressing issues and will lead to a more sophisticated understanding of both the refugee definition and the substantive content of economic and social rights.' American Journal of International Law

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