Interpretation of “Being Persecuted” to Include Effects Caused by Pandemic in the Determination of Refugee Status

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Pawat SATAYANURUG

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic – the increased severity of which continues to cause widespread infections and deaths – is a global phenomenon that has negative impact and affects the maintenance of the adequate standard of living, which is fundamental human rights. As a result, some people, whose countries of origin are unable or unwilling to provide protection against the COVID-19, decide to seek asylum in other countries believed to provide more effective protection. Nevertheless, one of the key conditions to determine the refugee status of applicants is the proof of, or the risk of, “being persecuted” in the country of origin, which has typically been associated with discrimination resulting in the violation of civil rights. Thus, the effects caused by the pandemic may fall outside the scope of this condition. Therefore, this research article aims to analyze the interpretation of the condition “being persecuted”, utilizing the general rule of treaty interpretation, to potentially include the effects caused by the pandemic, while acknowledging certain practical challenges.

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Research Articles