Human Rights Consortium
Safety Zones in Countries of Origin: A Violation of International Law?
Dr Bríd Ní Ghráinne
(University of Sheffield)
In the post-Cold War era, the recognition of refugees was no longer seen as a political act highlighting the failure of the country of origin to protect its nationals. Attention thus turned to policies of containment with the goal of minimising refugee outflows and a new vocabulary entered refugee discourse, comprising terms such as ‘preventive protection’, ‘the right to remain’, and ‘safety zones.’
This Seminar will analyse the legality of initiatives such as the Open Relief Centres in Sri Lanka in 1990, Operation Safe Haven in Northern Iraq, ‘safe havens’ in Bosnia in 1992, and the more recent calls by the Turkish government for safety zones in Syria. It will consider whether such ‘protection’ within a country of origin can be a substitute for asylum under international refugee law, as well as explore whether such initiatives violate human rights law and refugee law, such as the right to leave one’s country as embodied in Article 12(2) of the ICCPR and the prohibition of refoulement in Article 33(1) of the Refugee Convention.