Abstract: It is widely held that the current refugee Convention is inadequate with respect to its specification of who counts as a refugee and in its assignment of responsibility concerning refugees to states. At the same time, there is substantial agreement among scholars that the negotiation of a new Convention would lead states to extricate themselves from previously assumed responsibilities rather than sign on to a set of more desirable legal norms. In this paper, I argue that states should ultimately negotiate a new Convention, but that first they must alleviate the institutional and motivational constraints that make progress currently unattainable.
Comment: This text provides a clear introduction to the philosophical treatment of the 1951 Refugee Convention. It criticises contemporary international law concerning refugees and asylum, and discusses the constraints to feasability for a new legal regime. This text would work well as an introduction to the philosophical issues involved in granting refugee status, or within a specialized context concerning the right to immigrate/migrate. It would also have a place in a class on human rights that covered greivous human rights violations and their remedy.