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Voting Rights of Refugees
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Voting Rights of Refugees develops a novel legal argument about the voting rights of refugees recognised in the 1951 Geneva Convention. The main normative contention is that such refugees should have the right to vote in the political community where they reside, assuming that this community is a democracy and that its citizens have the right to vote. The book argues that recognised refugees are a special category of non-citizen residents: they are unable to participate in elections of their state of origin, do not enjoy its diplomatic protection and consular assistance abroad, and are unable or unwilling, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution, to return to it. Refugees deserve to have a place in the world, in the Arendtian sense, where their opinions are significant and their actions are effective. Their state of asylum is the only community in which there is any prospect of political participation on their part.


‘The refugee rights regime offers a stark contrast: despite its unstinting commitment to economic empowerment, the Refugee Convention affords refugees surprisingly few political rights in their asylum country. As Ziegler cogently argues, this ‘political limbo’ exacts an especially high cost when refugees are forced to remain abroad for many years, if not forever. Echoing Hannah Arendt’s plea for a right to have rights, the author draws on both political theory and law to argue that the unique political predicament of refugees requires that they be enfranchised. This book is important reading for all of us concerned to ensure the dignity of refugees in challenging times.’

James C. Hathaway - University of Michigan Law School

'At a time when the condition of refugees has become a global challenge, Ziegler analyzes the normative and theoretical bases of international refugee law and conventions. He makes the provocative argument that the disenfranchisement of Convention refugees is objectionable from the standpoint of goods such as recognition, integration and public voice, that liberal democracies seek to achieve. A meticulously researched and provocatively argued book. Enlightening for all interested in the cross-border movements of people in a new century!'

Seyla Benhabib - Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Yale University, Connecticut

'Ziegler provides an introduction to an audacious argument: that refugees should have voting rights in the communities where they reside. Originally a doctoral dissertation, the book contains a compendium of useful perspectives on the issue, including liberal, republican, and communitarian conceptions of citizenship.'

S. E. Schier Source: CHOICE

'Ziegler confines himself to detailed doctrinal analysis and provides an excellent and informative discussion of the Convention and the rights of refugees. This is the central contribution of Voting Rights of Refugees, of interest to legal scholars focused on the 1951 Convention and political philosophers exploring voting rights outside the citizen-state context (a context of increasing import).'

Ashwini Vasanthakumar Source: Border Criminologies

‘Voting Rights of Refugees raises topical and important issues about the fundamental political rights of refugees and the substance and meaning of citizenship in an age of migration. Based on thorough and wide-ranging legal and political analysis, Ziegler develops a convincing case for extending the right of CSR 1951 refugees to vote in their states of asylum due to their special case and political predicament.’

Lisa Pilgram Source: Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law

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  • 2 - Rights of CSR1951 Refugees and Citizenship Voting Qualifications
    pp 35-62


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