Karin Jardstam
Umeå University
Using the events in Sweden in the autumn of 2015 as a practical example, this paper examines the question of whether there are circumstances when it is morally permissible for rich, democratic states to close their borders to asylum-seekers. To lay a common ground, the author starts by looking at the right of asylum-seekers, who a refugee is, and what obligations a host country have towards them. Thus, after looking at general human rights, and how they apply to the right to seek asylum, the author turns to the question of who a refugee is, and the difference between refugees according to the 1951 Geneva Convention, and people who are in need of subsidiary protection, before choosing to use UNHCR’s wider definition of a refugee. While acknowledging that refugees have specific rights that other persons in need of protection do not, all asylum-seekers are entitled to not be sent back to a place of danger. Though both groups are entitled to stay on in the country, the temporary status for those in need of subsidiary protection raises some questions about integration and their standing in society and therefore the question of membership rights is discussed before the author returns to the events in Sweden in 2015 and argues that there are circumstances when it is morally acceptable for a country to close its borders to refugees, but that there are limitations when this can be done and for how long. Finally, it is argued that a system that prevents countries from having to – or choosing to – close their borders to refugees is needed. The author discusses whether the grounds for such a system could be found in the work that UNHCR does, and if the DAC agreement can be used as a model for fair distribution.
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References found in this work BETA

Who Are Refugees?Matthew Lister* - 2013 - Law and Philosophy 32 (5):645-671.
The Dark Side of Human Rights1.Onora O'Neill - 2005 - In Thomas Christiano & John Philip Christman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Political Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 17--425.
A Liberal Theory of Asylum.Andy Lamey - 2012 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (3):235-257.

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Who Are Refugees?Matthew Lister* - 2013 - Law and Philosophy 32 (5):645-671.


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