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Posts tagged ‘Wrong assumptions’


They’re not ‘economic migrants’ – why refugees and asylum-seekers have the right to work

By Penelope Mathew

Professor Penelope Mathew is the Freilich Foundation professor at the Australian National University. Prior to this role, Professor Mathew was a visiting professor and the Director of the Program in Refugee and Asylum Law at the University of Michigan Law School.

In many countries, the bona fides of refugees and asylum-seekers is questioned. It is asserted that the narrow exception to states’ powers over immigration established by the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (‘Refugee Convention’) is abused by persons seeking economic advancement. Some believe that refugees and asylum-seekers are taking something that does not belong to them; that they are getting special treatment; and that citizens are the losers as a result.

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The employment rights of refugees in Africa under the 1969 African Refugee Convention

Marina Sharpe is a founding member of the Asylum Access Board of Directors, and a DPhil Candidate and Trudeau Scholar at the University of Oxford. In this post, she presents an in-depth legal analysis of the employment rights of African refugees.

The issue of whether refugees in Africa enjoy the right to work under the regional legal framework established by the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (African Convention) has been the subject of some confusion—primarily because the African Convention does not explicitly provide for employment rights.

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Labor market arguments on refugees’ right to work: a pragmatic rebuttal

Photo by Gorgon from

By: Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter, Overseas Operations Director, Asylum Access

You will read elsewhere in this blog the legal arguments for the right to work of refugees. International human rights law generally, and refugee law specifically, set out a strong foundation for refugees’ rights to seek employment and to enjoy rights in the workplace.

Today I will step out of the legal zone:  this post will counter the arguments one most often hears in support of limiting refugees’ access to lawful employment and corresponding rights.

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