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The Ethics and Politics of Asylum
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  • Cited by 69
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Book description

Asylum has become a highly charged political issue across developed countries, raising a host of difficult ethical and political questions. What responsibilities do the world's richest countries have to refugees arriving at their borders? Are states justified in implementing measures to prevent the arrival of economic migrants if they also block entry for refugees? Is it legitimate to curtail the rights of asylum seekers to maximize the number of refugees receiving protection overall? This book draws upon political and ethical theory and an examination of the experiences of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia to consider how to respond to the challenges of asylum. In addition to explaining why asylum has emerged as such a key political issue in recent years, it provides a compelling account of how states could move towards implementing morally defensible responses to refugees.


‘This is the only book length study available of the ethics of asylum. Gibney’s book weaves together theory and practice, combining a detailed empirical account of asylum policies in four countries with a sophisticated normative analysis. It is intelligent, perceptive, and lucidly written. Anyone interested in questions about refugees should read this book.’

Joseph H. Carens - University of Toronto

‘In this courageous work, Gibney undertakes a lucid critique of prescriptive theories regarding the obligations of liberal democracies to asylum-seekers and subjects their current practices to an unsparing examination. Far from academic exercises, these are the elements of a compelling this-worldly humanitarian approach that imposes itself to the attention of policy-makers and concerned activists.’

Aristide R. Zolberg - Walter P. Eberstadt Professor of Political Science, New School University

'… well-written and interesting … The attempt to 'test' ethical theory against practice marks a welcome addition to the existing literature, and is a real virtue of this book.'

Source: International Affairs

‘Matthew Gibney elegantly explores the evolution of asylum practices of four liberal democracies, touching upon highly problematic ethical dimensions. … Gibney's profound engagement in the topic shows clearly.‘

Source: Journal of Peace Research

'Recent international refugee law scholarship has seen an increasing focus on a 'Convention Plus' approach to refugee-protection: that is, on international burden sharing arrangements, and the temporary protection of refugees in situ. Strong pragmatic arguments have been advanced for this shift in focus; whereas, to date, no sustained normative theoretical justification has been advanced in the same direction. In The Ethics and Politics of Asylum, Matthew Gibney makes an important contribution to filing that gap, and thus to grounding a Convention Plus approach in ethical as well as pragmatic-political imperatives.'

Source: International Journal of Refugee Law

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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