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  • Hélène Lambert (a1)

The rule of temporary refuge forms the cornerstone of the response of States to large-scale influx of refugees. In the context of civilians fleeing armed conflict, this legal rule imposes a positive obligation on all States to admit and not to return anyone to a situation where there is a risk to life, and to provide basic rights commensurate with human dignity. Also implicit in the rule is the expectation of shared responsibility for large numbers of refugees and of international cooperation towards finding durable solutions. This article examines the customary international law of temporary refuge (also known as temporary protection) in relation to the Syrian conflict. It discusses implementation of the rule in the practice of three countries neighbouring Syria, and in the EU. It finds that the practice of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan has been consistent with the rule of temporary refuge. However, the EU has decided not to use the Temporary Protection Directive; instead individual Member States have relied on the Refugee Convention and EU law, combined with various other measures not pertinent to temporary protection. It is concluded that shared responsibility is the linchpin of temporary refuge. Absent this keystone, the rule of temporary refuge is likely to continue to be implemented primarily in a regional context by those countries nearest to the country affected by the conflict, as in the case of Syria.

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P Gatrell , The Making of the Modern Refugee (Oxford University Press 2013)

JF Hartman , ‘The Principle and Practice of Temporary Refuge: A Customary Norm Protecting Civilians Fleeing Internal Armed Conflict’ in DA Martin (ed), The New Asylum Seekers: Refugee Law in the 1980s (Martinus Nijhoff 1988) 87

D Luca , ‘Questioning Temporary Protection’ (1994) 6 IJRL 535

WC Robinson , ‘The Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees, 1989–1997: Sharing the Burden and Passing the Buck’ (2004) 17 Journal of Refugee Studies 319

D Luca , ‘Questioning Temporary Protection’ (1994) 6 IJRL 535–7

JF Durieux , ‘Three Asylum Paradigms’ (2013) 20 International Journal of Minority and Group Rights 165

JF Durieux , ‘The Duty to Rescue Refugees’ (2016) 28 IJRL 637, 640–1

A Hurwitz , The Collective Responsibility of States to Protect Refugees (Oxford University Press 2009)

J Thorburn , ‘Transcending Boundaries: Temporary Protection and Burden-Sharing in Europe’ (1995) 7 IJRL 459

J Thorburn , ‘Transcending Boundaries: Temporary Protection and Burden-Sharing in Europe’ (1995) 7 IJRL 459, 459–60

J Wouters and C Ryngaert , ‘Impact on the Process of the Formation of Customary International Law’ in MT Kamminga and M Scheinin (eds), The Impact of Human Rights Law on General International Law (Oxford University Press 2009)

E Lauterpacht and D Bethlehem , ‘The Scope and Content of the Principle of Non-Refoulement: Opinion’ in E Feller , V Turk and F Nicholson (eds), Refugee Protection in International Law – UNHCR's Global Consultations on International Protection (Cambridge 2003) 87

A Khalil , ‘Socioeconomic Rights of Palestinian Refugees in Arab Countries’ (2011) 23 IJRL 680, 693

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International & Comparative Law Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0020-5893
  • EISSN: 1471-6895
  • URL: /core/journals/international-and-comparative-law-quarterly
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