Journal of Global Ethics 12 (3):327-346 (2016)

Jennifer Kling
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
The suffering of war refugees is often regarded as a wrong-less harm. Although war refugees have been made worse off in severe ways, they have not been wronged, because no one intentionally caused their suffering. In military parlance, war refugees are collateral damage. As such, nothing is owed to them as a matter of justice, because their suffering is not the result of intentional wrongdoing; rather, it is the regrettable and unintended result of necessary and proportionate wartime actions. So, while the warring national or extra-national groups might help war refugees, such aid is regarded as humanitarian, not as justice.I challenge the view that war refugees are harmed but not wronged when those harms directly result from necessary and proportionate wartime actions. War refugees are innocent bystanders, and so are an exception to the principle that permits defense by any necessary and proportionate means. Just as an individual may not kill or seriously harm an innocent bystander to save herself, so too national or extra-national groups may not create refugees to win a war. If such groups do create war refugees during the legitimate pursuit of military goals, they have wronged those refugees, and so owe them recompense.
Keywords refugees  global justice  just war theory
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/17449626.2016.1248297
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,039
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
The Ethics of Immigration.Joseph Carens - 2013 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Self-Defense.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (4):283-310.

View all 46 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Refugees and Justice Between States.Matthew J. Gibney - 2015 - European Journal of Political Theory 14 (4):448-463.
A Fair Distribution of Refugees in the European Union.Nils Holtug - 2016 - Journal of Global Ethics 12 (3):279-288.
Are Refugees Special?Chandran Kukathas - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
45 ( #251,260 of 2,505,228 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #169,997 of 2,505,228 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes