Since the 1980s, Western states have denied refugee status for asylum seekers who can receive protection in a part of their country of nationality other than that of their habitual residence based on the principle of the internal protection alternative (IPA). Since then, this principle has been applied very inconsistently. While some jurisdictions require a high level of human rights protection in the IPA area, others return asylum seekers to such an area despite a history of significant human rights violations. The question that this thesis aims to answer is: What is the required level of human rights protection in the IPA area under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees? This thesis explores the current approaches to assessing the required level of human rights protection. This thesis then argues for a new approach, which is more in line with the Refugee Convention. Using a contextual approach of the legal basis of the IPA inquiry, it is argued that the new approach must assess whether basic civil and political rights are respected in the IPA zone, as “national protection” under the Refugee Convention entails at least the protection of these rights. Furthermore, states must assess whether the conditions in the IPA zone may compel someone to return to the area of persecution, as returning someone an area with such conditions violates the prohibition of refoulement under Article 33(1) of the Refugee Convention. This thesis explores how a lack of respect for the rights to work, education and health may result in someone returning to the area of persecution. This is because in cases where people do not receive enough remuneration or unemployment assistance to sustain themselves and their families or cannot afford to access education or health services, they typically rely on support from their family and community. If they cannot access such support in the IPA area, but they believe they can in the area of persecution, they may therefore be compelled to return. Therefore, a high level of human rights protection is required in the IPA area.
MA in International Human Rights Law
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Committee Member 3
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
International Human Rights Law
The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy. The author has granted the American University in Cairo or its agents a non-exclusive license to archive this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study, and to make it accessible, in whole or in part, in all forms of media, now or hereafter known.
Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval
Not necessary for this item
(2020).The importance of human rights protection in the internal protection alternative inquiry [Master's Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Niks, Matthijs Ivo. The importance of human rights protection in the internal protection alternative inquiry. 2020. American University in Cairo, Master's Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.