Main Debates

  • How should asylum-seekers and refugees be treated upon arrival? What rights do they enjoy during the examination of their claims?
  • Who should maintain law and order in refugee camps?
  • How should armed asylum seekers be demobilized?

Soft Law

UNHCR Documents

  1. UNHCR, ’Reception of Asylum Seekers, Including Standards of Treatment in the Context of Individual Asylum Systems’, September 2001.
  2. Elizabeth Umlas, ’Cash in hand: Urban refugees, the right to work UNHCR's advocacy activities, 5 May 2011, PDES/2011/05, [Part of the Policy Development and Evaluation Service's New Issues in Refugee Research Series].
  3. UNHCR, ’UNHCR Policy on Refugee Protection and Solutions in Urban Areas, September 2009.
  4. UNHCR, ’UNHCR Policy on Alternatives to Camps, 22 July 2014, UNHCR/HCP/2014/9.

UN documents

  1. UN Human Rights Council, ’The right to education of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers’, 16 April 2010.
  2. UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), ’General Comment No. 18: The Right to Work (Art. 6 of the Covenant), 6 February 2006, E/C.12/GC/18.


  1. The Minister of Home Affairs and Others v. Watchenuka and Another, 28 November 2003. (South African Supreme Court of Appeals judicial decision finding that a blanket prohibition on employment to all asylum-seekers, without offering social benefits, amounted to a breach of the constitutional right to dignity, as among those excluded from the workforce would be persons who had no other means of survival and refugees are to be protected against destitution.)



  1. L. K. Newman, M. Dudley, and Z. Steel, ‘Asylum, Detention, and Mental Health in Australia’, Refugee Survey Quarterly, vol. 27 (2008), pp. 110–127.
  2. University of Michigan Law School, The Michigan Guidelines on the Right to Work, 16 March 2010.


  1. C. Breen, ‘The Policy of Direct Provision in Ireland: A Violation of Asylum Seekers’ Right to an Adequate Standard of Housing’, International Journal of Refugee Law, vol. 20 (2008), pp. 611–636.
  2. P. Kissoon, ‘From Persecution to Destitution: A Snapshot of Asylum Seekers’ Housing and Settlement Experiences in Canada and the United Kingdom’, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, vol. 8, no. 1 (2010), pp. 4–31.
  3. K. Vitus and H. Lidén, ‘The Status of the Asylum-seeking Child in Norway and Denmark: Comparing Discourses, Politics and Practices’, Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 23 (2010), pp. 62–81.
  4. Maja Janmyr, Protecting Civilians in Refugee Camps: Unwilling and Unable States, UNHCR and International Responsibility, (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2014).

Editor’s Note

The topic of Detention is addressed on Section II 2.7.

See also Section VI.2.4.2 for related materials on minimum standards of reception in the European context.

 II.2.4. Reception ConditionsII.2.4. Reception Conditions

 Soft LawSoft Law

UNHCR DocumentsUNHCR Documents