Main Debates

  • Is temporary protection on the basis of group assessment of protection need an adequate alternative to individualized examination of refugee status?
  • Are there legally binding norms for temporary protection or is it a matter of discretionary state practice?
  • What should be the duration of temporary protection?
  • What level of rights must be accorded to those granted temporary protection?

Main Points

  • Temporary protection as an administrative measure until individual examination is carried out or group recognition occurs
  • Temporary protection is a precursor, not an alternative, to 1951 Geneva Convention protection
  • Temporary protection does not suspend states’ duties under the 1951 Geneva Convention and other human rights treaties

Soft Law

  1. UNHCR, Executive Committee, ‘Protection of Asylum-Seekers in Situations of Large-Scale Influx’, Conclusion No. 22 (XXXII), 1981.
  2. UNHCR, Executive Committee, ‘General Conclusion on International Protection’, Conclusion No. 74 (XLV), 1994, sections (r)-(u).
  3. UNHCR, Executive Committee, ‘Conclusion on the Provision on International Protection Including Through Complementary Forms of Protection’, Conclusion No. 103 ((LVI), 2005, section (l).

UNHCR Documents

  1. UNHCR, ’Guidelines on Temporary Protection or Stay Arrangements, February 2014.
  2. UNHCR, ’Roundtable on Temporary Protection’, Summary Conclusions, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, San Remo, Italy, 19-20 July 2012, reproduced in International Journal of Refugee Law, Vol.25, No.1 (2013), pp.178-186.
  3. UNHCR, ’Note on International Protection’, UN doc. A/AC.96/830, 7 September 1994, paras. 45–51.



  1. G. Goodwin-Gill and J. McAdam, The Refugee in International Law, 3rd edn, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 340–342. [G. Goodwin-Gill, The Refugee in International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 196–202.]


  1. M. Albert, ‘Governance and Prima Facie Refugee Status Determination: Clarifying the Boundaries of Temporary Protection, Group Determination, and Mass Influx’, Refugee Survey Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 1 (2010), pp. 61–91.
  2. J. Fitzpatrick, ‘Temporary Protection of Refugees: Elements of a Formalized Regime’, American Journal of International Law, vol. 94, no. 2 (April 2000), pp. 279–306.
  3. J-F. Durieux and A. Hurwitz, ’How Many Is Too Many? African and European Legal Responses to Mass Influxes of Refugees’, German Yearbook of International Law Vol. 47 (2004), pp.105-159.
  4. A. Edwards ‘Temporary Protection, Derogation and the 1951 Refugee ConventionMelbourne Journal of International Law, vol. 13, no.2 (2012), pp. 595-635.