Human Rights Consortium
Voting Rights of Refugees
Dr Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler
(University of Reading)
Dr. Ruvi Ziegler is a lecturer at the University of Reading School of Law, Editor-in-Chief of the Refugee Law Initiative’s Working Paper Series, and a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute (analysing questions of immigration and asylum, particularly regarding the treatment of African asylum seekers in Israel). Previously, he was a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School, affiliated with its ‘Immigration and Refugee Clinic’ and ‘Human Rights Program’; a tutor in Pubic International Law at the University of Oxford; and a legal advising officer at the IDF’s Legal Counselor’s Office to the West Bank (mandatory military service). He holds a DPhil, MPhil and BCL from the University of Oxford, an LLM (with specialisation in Public Law) from the Hebrew University, and an LLB & BA (Economics) from the University of Haifa. His scholarly interests are in Human Rights Law, Migration and International Refugee Law, International Humanitarian Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, and Democratic Theory.
In this Seminar, Dr Ziegler will argue that recognised 1951 Geneva Convention refugees should have the right to vote in the political community where they reside, assuming that the political community is a democracy and that its citizens have the right to vote. The basis of his contention is that the right to political participation in some political community is a basic right from the point of view of dignity and the protection of one’s interests; and that such refugees are effectively excluded, physically and symbolically, from the political community of their state of origin to which they are unwilling and/or unable to return. The state of asylum is, for the time being, the only community in which there is any realistic prospect of political participation on the refugees' part. The argument also turns on the fact that the state of refuge has become the refugee’s home, namely the place where she is settled indefinitely, that is until the legal and factual circumstances change leading to cessation of her refugee status. Hence for these reasons, such refugees should be considered as a special category of non-citizen residents.
5th International Refugee Law seminar series