The State and the Post-Cold War Refugee Regime: New Models, New Questions

The thesis of this essay is that within the refugee regime the move away from states and adherence to states are two sides of the same coin. To some degree the new refugee regime reflects the trend away from both the state and strict notions of sovereignty. Nonetheless, the new regime also exposes the staying power of the statist paradigm. In many respects, the role of states has indeed been altered, but states have retained their role as important and often essential actors. While other observers have commented on specific geographic or thematic changes in the refugee regime, this essay attempts to place the paradigm shift within a conceptual framework, and from this framework asks new questions about the nature and future direction of refugee law and policy. These questions must be answered if we are to address protection and assistance concerns of refugees.