Michigan Guidelines on Risk for Reasons of Political Opinion

U-M Seal

THE MICHIGAN GUIDELINES ON RISK
FOR REASONS OF POLITICAL OPINION

The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (“Convention”) recognizes as refugees those who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted on the basis of inter alia “political opinion,” are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of their home country.

State practice acknowledges that protection based on “political opinion” should not be limited to those individuals at risk by reason of their views about partisan politics. Beyond this, the absence of an authoritative definition of “political opinion” in either the Convention or international law more generally has allowed interpretive inconsistencies to emerge, both within and among jurisdictions. Further complicating the search for a consistent approach is a lack of clarity about how best to ensure that the social and political context of the country of origin is meaningfully taken into account in assessing the existence of a “political opinion.”

With a view to promoting a shared understanding of the proper interpretation of “political opinion” within the context of Article 1(A)(2) of the Convention, we have engaged in sustained collaborative study and reflection on relevant norms and state practice. Our research was debated and refined at the Seventh Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law, convened in March 2015 by the University of Michigan’s Program in Refugee and Asylum Law. These Guidelines are the product of that endeavor, and reflect the consensus of Colloquium participants on how best to interpret “political opinion” in a manner that ensures both fidelity to international law and the continuing vitality of the Convention. Continue reading

Coming Friday: Michigan Guidelines on Risk for Reasons of Political Opinion

U-M Seal

THE MICHIGAN GUIDELINES ON RISK
FOR REASONS OF POLITICAL OPINION

The Michigan Guidelines on Risk for Reasons of Political Opinion represent the end product of sustained research that culminated in the Seventh Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law.

The Colloquium was convened in March 2015 by Michigan Law’s Program in Refugee and Asylum Law, and chaired by Professor James C. Hathaway. The Michigan Guidelines reflect the consensus of Colloquium participants on when a person faces a risk of being persecuted “for reasons of political opinion” in a manner that ensures both fidelity to international law and the continuing vitality of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The Michigan Guidelines will be first published here on MJIL’s website on July 24th, 2015. Follow MJIL on Facebook and Twitter, MLaw on Facebook and Twitter, and Professor Hathaway on Twitter for more information.

Volume 36:2

Articles

Nancy Amoury Combs
“From Presecutorial To Reparatory: A Valuable Post-Conflict Change Of Focus” // pdf

Richard Ashby Wilson
“Inciting Genocide With Words” // pdf

Notes

Ezekiel Rediker
“The Incitement Of Terrorism On The Internet: Legal Standards, Enforcement, And The Role Of The European Union” // pdf

Comments

Brian Libgober
“Can The EU Be A Constitutional System Without Universal Access To Judicial Review?” // pdf

Economic Shifts in Michigan and China Dictate Need for Socially Responsible Businesses

Amy K. Bergstraesser, Vol. 36 Associate Editor

Introduction

The experience of large economic shifts often sparks the need for more than some governments can or are willing to deal with. Social welfare systems deteriorate and the gap between the rich and the poor grows, causing concern and strife. Recently, businesses have been called on to pick up the pieces. Eastern Michigan, on the brink of recovery from a huge economic downturn, has looked to smaller-scale grassroots ways of revitalizing the economy. Continue reading

Labor Rights Violations in Cambodia’s Garment Industry

Divya Taneja, Vol. 37 Business and Development Editor,
Vol. 36 Associate Editor

Last month, Human Rights Watch released a report on labor violations in Cambodia’s garment industry.[i] The 140-page report details discriminatory and exploitative labor conditions that occur in the factories of many brands that are well known across the globe, including Gap, Marks & Spencer, and Adidas.[ii] The controversy surrounding these labor rights violations have drawn attention to ill-treatment that is specific to women, including pregnancy discrimination, in part because roughly 90% of Cambodia’s seamstresses are women.[iii] Continue reading

How International Conventions Affect Incidence of Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: An Israeli Case Study

Luca Winer, Vol. 37 Editor-in-Chief, Vol. 36 Associate Editor

Violence against women and children is endemic in many conflict zones. Sexual violence is particularly likely to be used a weapon of intimidation and subjugation.[i] The international community has acknowledged this unfortunate truth, and discussed, written and signed many multilateral treaties that attempt to address this type of violation. Since the 1940s, customary international law has recognized that even in wartime, civilians have legal rights and protections.[ii] The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 stated that civilians must be cared for in detention and must not be subject to torture; “violence to their life or person;” be taken hostage; subject to “outrages upon personal dignity;” or subject to rape.[iii] Continue reading

Volume 35:4

Jeffrey R. Boles
“The Two Faces of Bribery: International Corruption Pathways Meet Conflicting Legislative Regimes” // pdf

Sam F. Halabi
“Multipolarity, Intellectual Property, and the Internationalization of Public Health Law” // pdf

Dr. Daphné Richemond-Barak
“Can Self-Regulation Work? Lessons From the Private Security and Military Industry” // pdf

Seth Mohney (Student Note)
“The Great Power Origins of Human Rights” // pdf

The Alien Tort Statute and the Syrian Crisis

Anonymous, Vol. 36 Associate Editor

Syria’s President Bashar Assad has engaged in a civil war with Syrian citizens since March 2011.[i] As the revolution-turned-bloodbath enters its fifth year, the estimated death toll has reached 220,000 and continues to rise.[ii] The conflict has also displaced a significant percentage of the country’s pre-war population. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are 3.8 million Syrian refugees who are now registered in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. [iii] Yet, Assad regime forces have only been more aggressive in their indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and their use of internationally prohibited barrel bombs against both civilians and rebel fighters.[iv]

Continue reading

Volume 35:3

Anjanette H. Raymond & Scott J. Shackelford
Technology, Ethics, and Access to Justice: Should an Alogrithm be Deciding Your Case? // pdf

Timothy Webster
Paper Compliance: How China Implements WTO Decisions // pdf

Meredith Kolsky Lewis & Andrew D. Mitchell
Food Miles: Environmental Protection or Veiled Protectionism? // pdf

Zackary L. Stillings (Student Note)
Human Rights and the New Reality of Climate Change: Adaptation’s Limitations in Achieving Climate Justice // pdf

The Long Arm of Justice: America’s Place in China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

Derek Turnbull, Vol. 36 Associate Editor

As President Xi Jinping’s burgeoning anti-corruption campaign takes root in China, forcing government officials at the top of diverse ministries from the energy sector to the military to sit up and take notice, China’s anticorruption officials have set their sights on a new area: the United States.  Increasingly, China’s state media has critically covered the large number of government officials who have come under investigation in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and then fled abroad, many to the United States, allegedly in possession of billions of dollars in stolen cash and assets.[1]  In February, Chinese and American government officials confirmed that they had recently met to discuss this issue, and announced that in August they will sit down together once more to talk about extradition.[2]  While the United States should naturally be at the forefront of any effort to bring corrupt criminals to justice, reasons still exist for caution as American officials move forward in negotiations with their Chinese counterparts.  Rather than capitulating to the PRC’s demands for an extradition treaty, the US should settle on a more flexible alternative, such as compliance with already-existing international agreements like the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Continue reading