Essay Example: Refugees Freedom of Movement as a Human Right

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Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1815 Words
Date:  2021-03-24

In the modern world many states and regions in a country have fallen victim of clashes and wars causing people to flee for their safety. The clashes force the citizen to flee from their country or the habitual settings making them to be refugees or the internally displaced persons. Different governments and state have granted permission to refugee but tut it becoming a global threat forcing some governments and state agencies to reject the refugees (Geiger & Pecoud, 2010). There exist some internationally agreed definitions of refugees, but regions have devised new definitions to describe the refugees so as to increase inclusivity to some disadvantaged groups. There are laws to protect the refugees that trace their origin to the refugee crisis and World War which caused many people to be displaced from their areas of origin (Kennedy, 2002). Article 14(1) of the universal declaration of human rights adopted in 1948 guarantees the right to acquire and enjoy asylum in other nations following a well established attempt or a perceived violation of the basic human rights from the mother country. Several regional and continental conventions have been formulated to offer legislative procedure for the refugees (Beyani, 2001). They include the following;

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Convention relating to the status of refugees of 1951.

Optional protocol relating to the status of refugees of 1967.

Universal declaration of human rights.

American convention on human rights (Article 22)

American declaration of the rights and duties of individuals (Article 27)

African Charter on human and people's rights (Article 12)

European convention on human rights (article 2,3 and 5)

OAU Convention governing specific aspects of refugee in Africa

Cairo declaration on human rights in Islam

Arab charter on human rights.

Convention on rights of the child

Africa Union convention for the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons in Africa.

Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Among others

The 1951 Convention is the internationally agreed protocol for a refugee that states the definition of who a refugee is as well as the principle of non-refoulement and the freedom and rights accorded to those qualifying for the refugee status. It is followed by the Optional Protocol relating to the situation of refugees of 1967 (Geiger & Pecoud, 2010).

The 1951 Convention in article 1(A)(2) defines refugees as individuals who are out of their nation or regular place of residence and is unable or unwilling to go back. This could be due to some well-established fear of mistreatment on the grounds of religion, race, nationality, membership to a particular social group or political opinion. This definition is not sufficient enough to include all the refugees (Harris & Livingstone, 2001). It was redefined to include an individual owing to external aggression, foreign suppression, occupation, or events that seriously disturbs the public peace in either part or the whole of his nation of origin or nationality who is forced to flee in order to attain refuge in another place (Beyani, 2001).

The United Nation High Commission for Refugees provides protection and humanitarian aid to people who are internally displaced from their habitual places. People who at the time of the 1951 convention were receiving the protection and assistance from the UN are excluded from the refugee status (Harris & Livingstone, 2001). An individual to whom there are un-doubtable reasons for considering that he or she has been involved in a crime that sabotage peace or a crime against humanity as stated in the international legislation is denied access to refugee status. A person who has committed an offensive non-political crime outside the borders of the country of refuge before his admission to that country as a refugee is also denied access as well as one who has been guilty of an act opposed to the purposes and principles of the United Nations (Kennedy, 2002).

The refugees are entitled to many human rights and freedoms where the refugee law and international human rights law are closely intertwined. Refugees may flee from governments that are unable or unwilling to protect their basic human rights (Geiger & Pecoud, 2010). The refugee law intersects with international humanitarian law in cases where the fear of persecution or instability to life or safety occurs in the context of an armed conflict. Non-refoulment is the basic principle of the refugee law which refers to the mandates of States not to return a refugee to the regions of a territory where life or freedom would be threatened on the basis of his nationality, race, political opinion, religion or membership of a certain social group (Harris & Livingstone, 2001). Non-refoulment is an internationally agreed human right and is expressly stated in human rights protocols such as article three of the convention against torture and Article 22(8) of the American Convention on Human Rights (Beyani, 2001). However, this principle can be revoked in two scenarios. Firstly is a case in which persons who otherwise qualifies as refugees may not claim protection under the clause where there is reasonable evidence for regarding the refugee as a threat to the national security of the host country. Secondly is where the refugee has been convicted of a particularly serious crime that constitutes a danger to the host community (Kennedy, 2002).

The right to file for an asylum and freedom of movement are closely related. The inability to return to one's country dictates the benchmark for an asylum claim while the ability to vacate one's nation is the way forward for claiming refugee status under the refugee convention of 1951 (Harris & Livingstone, 2001). Freedom of movement is a key right for refugees within their host country. Article 26 of the 1951 Convention provides that governments shall accord refugees the right to determine their place of residence within the nation and to move and associate freely within the State. Article 28 deliberates that the states parties should issue refugees travel authorization papers permitting them to move out of the State unless compelling reasons of national security or public order otherwise require (Kennedy, 2002).

Freedom of movement is an important right for the refugees concerning protracted refugee situations in regions and nations with limited national resources and structures for protecting refugees who at times accommodate a considerable number of refugee populations (Beyani, 2001). The refugees are confined into closely guarded refugee camps denying them access to viable economic activities in the camps. The laws in some countries like Kenya restrict the refugees to some designated areas depriving them access to education and other social functions due to matters of national security (Geiger & Pecoud, 2010). Denying the refugees the freedom of movement limits them from mingling with other citizens that ha both negative and positive impacts to the economic implication of the host country. In most countries where the refugee regulation is well formulated allow the refugees to move around and compete favourably with the citizen of the hot national thus benefiting from their inputs for the nation building (Walters & Cornelisse, 2010).

Refugees should be accorded the freedom to move and join their family members where the family is perceived as the natural and basic unit of any society and state. A member who is granted the refugee status should have the dependant relatives allowed to move and join him or her and start life in the host country (Kennedy, 2002). In the case of violation of the refugee status of an individual, then the status of the dependents is also suspended but can seek person refugees depending on the local laws guiding the refugee problem in the country where they live. The 1951 Convention for refugee safeguards other rights of refugees, such as the rights to education, employment, access to justice, and other fundamental freedoms and privileges stipulated in the international and regional human rights agreements (Harris & Livingstone, 2001).

Refugee freedom of movement

The employee freedom of movement is pegged on the condition of the refugee status as either being lawful or unlawful. Freedom of movement is an internationally agreed human right for any individual under the united nation bill of human rights and freedom (Beyani, 2001). Any person has the right to freely move and settle in any region or state of which the person is a lawful resident. However, the freedom may be limited in case the movement cause threat of may bring some state of unrest to the rest of the citizens. Individuals who are unlawfully found in another state for which the relevant authorities do not approve their citizenship may have their freedom of movement withheld in accordance with the country's legal framework (Geiger & Pecoud, 2010). The freedom to move freely in a nation depends on the countries stipulated laws. The movement may be restricted to some confined region if the local laws dictate so for people seeking refuge. However, according to the United Nations regulation movement of all individuals should be treated as a universal human right that should be accorded to refugee just like the countrys residents (Kennedy, 2002).

A human being is a social being with freedom to engage in any meaningful association even when it is not required for survival. Self-worth and self-esteem should be availed to all individuals for personal fulfilment including the refugees (Harris & Livingstone, 2001). Impairing the rights of refugees to move and associate freely with the rest of the citizens will cause tension and frustrations among the refugees and the host citizens. It fuels in inhuman treatment to the refugees making them vulnerable to segregation, forced recruitment, cheap labour and long-term dependency on humanitarian aid (Beyani, 2001). Refugees allowed the freedom of movement will be empowered economically from acquisition and attainment of sound economic and income generating undertaking. Refugees who are restricted to confined location are likely to be marginalized which triggers illegal movement of the refugee posing stability and security problem to the host state and the surrounding regions.

Government and hosting refugees should consider giving them sympathetic assimilation and give them rights to feel at home and engage them in the economic strategy for the government policies (Kennedy, 2002). The government should be willing in good faith to allow the refugee the freedom of movement and to seek wage earning employment. Refugees living lawfully should receive similar treatment the citizens receive regarding movement and other human rights. These rights should apply to all the refugees recognized by the UNHCR or the state, refugees waiting to be resettled in another state or asylum seekers in a country that fails to conform to the refugee status or where the registration process has been delayed. Any requirement for the refugees to move or obtain permission to engage in a social activity caused by hardship resulting from the displaced process should be exempted (Walters & Cornelisse, 2010).

Refugee Right of Movement and the Host Country Economics

Refugees have the ability to take important roles in the development of the host nation and its citizens and therefore should not be considered as passive humanitarian assistance recipients. The refugees participate in the local markets and contribute to their expansion, creation of new ones and encourage local and international trade (Beyani, 2001). The business interaction between the refugees, the local community, and the international community will hav...

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