One Year After the Asylum Ban: More Barriers to Asylum Access

By USCRI May 23, 2024

By the end of World War II, between 50-80 million people had been killed. An estimated 60 million more had been displaced, many of whom were attempting to seek refuge in other countries.

To ensure that the consequences of World War II would never repeat, the United Nations (UN) drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. For the first time, an international agreement set forth fundamental human rights. Article 14 of the Declaration asserts that all humans have the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in countries other than their own.

The UN defined the role of governments in upholding Article 14 in the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Refugee Protocol. Non-refoulement—a central responsibility of the Refugee Convention and Protocol—prevents governments from deporting asylum seekers to countries where they may face persecution.

While the United States was a signatory of the Refugee Protocol, it did not establish the legal system to protect individuals fleeing persecution until the Refugee Act of 1980, which also included the principle of non-refoulement. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, and the asylum and withholding provisions in 8 U.S.C. 1158 and 1231(b)(3) reiterate the principle of non-refoulement.


Click here to read the full brief.


USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

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