Towards a Theory of Asylum as Reparation for Past Injustice

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Abstract

In this article, I contend that asylum should at times act as a form of reparation for past injustice. This function, I argue, stems from states' special obligation to provide asylum to refugees for whose lack of state protection they are responsible. After suggesting that the development of a theory of asylum as reparation necessitates a diachronic approach, I outline the conditions under which asylum should function reparatively, and draw on the reparations framework within international law to suggest that asylum can provide refugees with meaningful restitution, compensation and satisfaction. In particular, I seek to identify the conditions under which asylum constitutes the most fitting form of reparation for the harm of refugeehood that is available to states. Finally, I explore the question of how direct the causal link between a state's actions and a refugee's flight must be for the former to owe asylum to the latter.

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