Who Is A Refugee?

884 WordsAug 31, 20164 Pages
In his article Who is a Refugee?, Shacknove (1985) attempts to define what it means to be an actual “refugee.” Shacknove (1985) begins by presenting the UN and the OAU’s distinctly varying definitions of who a refugee is and what circumstances constitute refugee status. More specifically, the universally accepted concept of refugeehood, according to the OAU, entails a severed bond between state and citizen. Moreover, when this relationship ceases to exist, persecution and alienation follows, which stems the flow of basic needs and, in turn, pushes the citizen to seek refuge across international lines. However, Shacknove (1985) challenges this conception, as he argues that persecution and alienation should be considered sufficient conditions, but not necessary conditions, for the disconnect between the state and citizen that would cause a person to be defined as a refugee. Furthermore, as briefly noted above, Shacknove (1985) does not consider persecution to be a necessary condition to refugeehood simply because the term “persecution” only takes into account a government that is exploitative, and that fails to protect its citizens. Nevertheless, the term “persecution” does not take into account a state in which a government does not exist at all. Shacknove (1985) assumes that a lack of government would result in the basic needs of a citizen to not be met. Along with persecution, Shacknove (1985) explains that although alienage is often cited as a basis for refugeehood, he
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