Published April 24, 2023 | Version v1
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Unblurring the Lines: The Language of International Protection

  • 1. Open University

Description

This policy brief focuses on the importance of clear and precise language in providing international protection. The author argues that the imprecise use of language, intentionally or unintentionally, compromises the protection of refugees in five ways. Firstly, rolling refugees into other categories such as migrants makes it more difficult to delineate effective legal rights and obligations. Secondly, political obfuscation over precise terms reinforces confused media and public debates in recipient states. Thirdly, the language of vulnerability has become instrumentalized to limit protection. Fourthly, civil society groups further complicate matters through their more-finely differentiated typologies. Finally, the arrival of the Global Compacts on Refugees and on Migration have opened up a new gap in language and the provision of protection. The author argues that all relevant participants in the provision of
international protection must be mindful of the importance of clear and precise language around the description and definition of refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, immigration policy, and border security to avoid generating political and social tensions.

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Funding

PROTECT – THE RIGHT TO INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION: A PENDULUM BETWEEN GLOBALIZATION AND NATIVIZATION? 870761
European Commission