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"Our Refugee Policy is Generous": Reflections on the Importance of a State's Self-Image
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Law, Department of Law.
2014 (English)In: Refugee Survey Quarterly, ISSN 1020-4067, E-ISSN 1471-695X, Vol. 33, no 1, 25-43 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A number of matters must be taken into account in the drafting of a State’s migration policy: legal obligations, economic concerns, political deliberations as well as ethical and moral aspects. Adding to these is the self-image of the State. Liberal democratic States emphasise the principle of asylum, of humanitarianism, and respect for human rights and international refugee law. The legal and practical barriers established to limit the possibilities for migrants to enter and remain legally in these countries however speak a different language, questioning the adequacy of the generous refugee policy claimed by these countries. In this article, the bearing of a State’s self-image on the manner in which criticism by international stakeholders is received by the State in question is discussed. Focus in particular lies on the reluctance of recognizing the possibility of the existence of systemic flaws. The key question concerns the consequences for the State’s self-image when theory and practice are no longer in accord. Is the image to be adjusted, or maintained in denial of its flaws? Sweden, a country often described as having one of the most generous refugee policies in Europe, is employed as an illustration of these issues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Vol. 33, no 1, 25-43 p.
Keyword [en]
human rights, refugee policy, self-image, Sweden
National Category
Research subject
Public International Law
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204758DOI: 10.1093/rsq/hdt020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-204758DiVA: diva2:639924
Overlapping protection or conflicting rules? A study of the concept of subsidiary protection in the context of Swedish, EC and international law
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-08-11 Created: 2013-08-11 Last updated: 2014-06-03Bibliographically approved

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