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Main Debate

  • Does the regional human rights protection framework (to the extent it is interpreted as legally binding by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights) effectively protect refugees’ rights?

Main Points

  • Reluctance to directly apply the international obligations derived from the 1951 Geneva Convention
  • Slow transposition of the 1951 Geneva Convention provisions into national legislation in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Paucity of judicial decisions for the protection refugees in Latin America and the Caribbean

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

  1. Advisory Opinion "Rights and Guarantees of Children in the Context of Migration and/or in Need of International Protection" OC-21/14, Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACrtHR), 19 August 2014. Reference is made to the progressive adoption of national refugee legislation in Latin America and the incorporation of the broader refugee definition recommended by the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Country Reports

  1. Report on the Situation of Human Rights of Asylum Seekers within the Canadian refugee Determination System, 20 February 2000, (OEA/Ser.L/V/ll.106) (detailed analysis about the access to refugee status determination, the right to asylum, exclusion and expulsion practices in Canada).

UNHCR Documents

  1. UNHCR, ‘Refugee Protection and International Migration in the Americas: Trends, Protection Challenges and Responses’, December 2009.



  1. M.C, Pulido and M. Blanchard, ‘La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y sus mecanismos de protección aplicados a la situación de los refugiados, apátridas y solicitantes de asilo’, in El Asilo y la Protección Internacional de los Refugiados en America Latina: Análisis crítico del dualismo "asilo-refugio" a la luz del derecho internacional de los derechos humanos (UNHCR, Editorama, 1st edition, San Jose, Costa Rica, 2004, pp. 185-208).
  2. A. C. Helton, ‘Securing Refugee Protection in the Americas: The Inter-American Sytem on Human Rights and the Rights of Asylum seekers’, Southwestern Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas (now published under Southwestern Journal of International Law), Southwestern University School of Law, 129/1999.


  1. J.C. Murillo, ‘La Protección internacional de los Refugiados en las Américas’, in XXXIII Inter-American Course of International Law, Inter-American Juridical Committee, OAS, Washington D.C., 2007.
  2. L. Franco and J. S. de Noriega, ‘Contributions of the Cartagena Process to the Development of International Refugee Law in Latin America’,in Memoir of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees 1984-2004 (San Jose: UNHCR, Editorama, 2004), pp. 66–75.

 IV.3.Application of the 1951 Geneva Convention through the Regional Mechanisms and National LegislationsIV.3.Application of the 1951 Geneva Convention through the Regional Mechanisms and National Legislations

UNHCR DocumentsUNHCR Documents