Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention or the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951,[2] is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who a refugee is, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals. The Convention also provides for some visa-free travel for holders of refugee travel documents issued under the convention.

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
  Parties to only the 1951 Convention
  Parties to only the 1967 Protocol
  Parties to both
Signed28 July 1951
LocationGeneva, Switzerland
Effective22 April 1954
  • Convention: 146[1]
  • Protocol: 147[1]
DepositarySecretary-General of the United Nations
LanguagesEnglish and French
(Chinese, Russian and Spanish)
Full text
1951 Refugee Convention at Wikisource

The Refugee Convention builds on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. A refugee may enjoy rights and benefits in a state in addition to those provided for in the Convention.[3]

The rights created by the Convention generally still stand today. Some have argued that the complex nature of 21st century refugee relationships calls for a new treaty that recognizes the evolving nature of the nation-state, economic migrants, population displacement, environmental migrants, and modern warfare.[4][5] Nevertheless, ideas like the principle of non-refoulement (non-returning of refugees to dangerous countries) (Article 33) are still applied today, with the 1951 Convention being the source of such rights.

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