States are responsible for protecting the rights of their citizens. When governments are unable or unwilling to do this, people may face such serious threats that they are forced to leave their country and seek safety elsewhere.
If this happens, another country has to step in to ensure that the refugees’ basic rights are respected. This is known as “international protection”.
The 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol were designed to assure refugees the widest possible enjoyment of their rights. In order to respond to regional specificities, States in different parts of the world have developed regional laws and standards that complement the international refugee protection regime.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 14)
American Convention on Human Rights (art. 22)
Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, Colloquium on the International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Mexico and Panama (Cartagena Declaration)
Arab Charter on Human Rights (art. 28)
European Convention on Human Rights (arts. 2, 3, and 5)
Council Regulation EC No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third country national
Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted
Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 22)