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    International refugee regime: an alternative form of protection for human rights defenders?

    Koula, Aikaterini-Christina (2021) International refugee regime: an alternative form of protection for human rights defenders? Israel Law Review, 54 (3). pp. 340-368. ISSN 0021-2237

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    Abstract

    Human rights defenders (HRDs) are subjected to serious human rights violations through legal and extralegal actions. Notably, most of the abuses against them remain unpunished, perpetuating a vicious cycle of violence against them. There is room for doubt that international human rights law has failed to provide efficient protection for HRDs, and this article considers the international refugee regime as an alternative system of protection. In this sense the article first discusses the intersection between the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘human rights defender’ to establish that defenders fall within the protection of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Following an inductive reasoning, the article considers the most well-trodden defects of the refugee regime and the reluctance of HRDs to adopt refugee status; it concludes that this alternative may not be suitable for defenders. Besides a doctrinal approach, the article employs a socio-legal approach, which is enhanced by interviews with HRDs.

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