In 2018, the United Nations Refugee Agency reported a record: 74.79 million persons of concern. This figure comprises 20,360,562 refugees and 3,503,284 asylum seekers. International law protects their human rights from potential threats and violations through the tenets of Refugee Law – and International Human Rights Law more in general. It protects the special rights of refugees, including the right to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries as enshrined in Article 14 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
To elaborate further on Refugee Law and its principles, this paper is divided into two parts. The first aims to address the historical background of Refugee Law to create a foundational basis for understanding the right to asylum in International Law. “The Right to Asylum under International Law – Part I: The History of Refugee Law” shall dive deeper into the right to asylum, the application requirements and the various challenges asylum seekers face when exercising this right. More specifically, we shall look at the historical background of Refugee Law before looking at the distinction between refugees and migrants. Consequently, this will create a solid understanding of the main theme of this article series on gender as a protected group in the Right of Asylum series.
“The Right to Asylum under International Law – Part II: Asylum Law and Procedural Requirements” clarifies the meaning of the word asylum seeker and outlines the origin and evolution of the right to asylum, alongside the requirements to obtain refugee status.