Refugee law is the branch of international law which deals with the rights and protection of refugees. It is related to, but distinct from, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, which deal respectively with human rights in general, and the conduct of war in particular. Refugee law encompasses customary law, peremptory norms, and international legal instruments. The only international instrument is the UN Convention, with an optional Protocol, while various regional bodies have instruments applying only to member states. The instruments include The United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (CRSR) is an international convention that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. Basically asylum is s an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, a foreign country. The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals. The Convention also provides for some visa-free travel for holders of travel documents issued under the convention. The Convention was approved at a special United Nations conference on 28 July 1951. It entered into force on 22 April 1954. The refugee convention was originally set up and was initially limited to protecting European refugees after World War II after a mass number people had been displaced due Nazi rule. Denmark was the first state to ratify the treaty (on 4 December 1952). As of April 1, 2011 there were 147 signatories to either the Convention or the Protocol or to both of which New Zealand is part of.
The Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (also known as the New York Protocol) entered into force on 4 October 1967. Where the United Nations 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees had restricted refugee...
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