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5 Int'l J. Refugee L. 516 (1993)
From Asylum to Containment

handle is hein.journals/intjrl5 and id is 526 raw text is: From Asylum to Containment
Throughout the twentieth century, providing asylum to refugees has
been viewed by governments as a worthy exception to the normal
immigration control rule. Opportunities for entry, normally reserved
for family relations, the skilled or the prosperous, were regularly
extended to persons lacking the protection of their own government.
There is reason to believe, however, that the exceptional status of
refugees within the context of immigration control is now in doubt, as
States attempt to force asylum seekers into the mould of routine
patterns of immigration, pre-empt their arrival,' or contain2 them
within countries or regions of origin. This trend reflects a fundamental
questioning of whether asylum any longer serves the narrow and
immediate interests of States.
In essence, the argument here asserts that refugee policy in the post-
Cold War era will involve a diminished commitment to asylum by
* Lecturer in Law, University of Oxford. An earlier version of this paper was presented at a
conference on the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees sponsored by the
Jesuit Refugee Service/Asia-Pacific, held at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, the
Philippines, 25-28 October 1992. The author wishes to acknowledge and thank Diana Cammack,
Guy Goodwin-Gill, James Hathaway, Gilbert Jaeger, Katrina Robinson, Nicholas Van Hear,
Myron Weiner, David Wessels, Ken Wilson and two anonymous readers for their helpful
comments. Financial support was provided by the Nuffield Foundation and the Aquarian Healing
' Methods for controlling or pre-empting entry, such as visa, passport and frontier regulations,
are now both unilateral and collective. More recently, immigration control has expanded to
include the extension or re-introduction of carriers' liability, originally a feature of maritime law
in the nineteenth century; transit visa requirements; quota admissions for overseas refugees; and
orderly departure programmes for 'refugees' still in their country of origin. Although quota
admissions and orderly departure programmes are designed specifically with refugees in mind,
they are essentially aspects ofimmigration control because the dual objectives of the orderly entry
of foreigners and the use of normal immigration criteria feature prominently in their purpose and
' Containment refers to any effort to localize or internalize forced migration in countries or
regions of origin. Visa requirements, carrier sanctions, return of asylum seekers to 'countries of
first asylum,' the creation of 'safe havens,' and 'humanitarian' intervention are among the
methods of containment.

International journal of Refugee Law Vol. 5 No. 4.

(D Oxford University Press 1993

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