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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Extending the limits or narrowing the scope? Deconstructing the OAU refugee definition thirty years on
Author:Rankin, Micah Bond
Periodical:South African Journal on Human Rights
Geographic term:Africa
legal terminology
Abstract:The OAU Refugee Convention is recognized for having extended the conventional concept of a refugee beyond the narrower scope of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Yet while the OAU refugee definition has been praised for its broader scope, relatively little effort has been made to subject it to a rigorous interpretative analysis. Instead, scholarship has tended to minimize a number of serious interpretive difficulties posed by the definition. The result is an 'interpretive consensus' that suggests that three fundamental characteristics differentiate it from the 1951 refugee definition: first, the OAU definition is objective rather than subjective; second, it does not require a specific type of harm or cause of flight; and third, it was primarily designed and intended to be applied to the context of group displacements. On closer examination, this consensus appears untenable and may be harmful to the broader goal of refugee protection. This article reviews existing scholarship on the OAU definition and provides a clause by clause analysis of the OAU refugee definition in light of contemporary international refugee law. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]