International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Development and Social Change (IDSC)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Nigel Brissett

Second Reader

Anita Fabos


Article 33 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees states that host nations shall not expel or return a refugee to their home nation ‘where his life or freedom would be threatened.’ However, as demonstrated in three contemporary case studies in protracted displacement the interests of the sovereign state drive nations to craft strategies to limit cross-border refugee mobility. The refoulement of refugees escaping drug cartel violence throughout the Americas, internally displaced Haitians, and Syrian refugees in Jordan are all ‘managed’ by one of two methods. First, some destination nations either strategically blur refugees into other mobility schemes such economic migrants, illegal immigrants, link refugees to terrorist groups or nations outright replace the term refugee with words like guest. The benefit of this nomenclature strategy avoids refugee ‘laws’ altogether. The second strategy outright prevents the need to refoule by regulating or outright stopping refugee border crossings altogether. The border control strategy allows for refugee considerations, however prevents the host nation from engaging in Article 33 violations. Regardless of the strategy, host nations create policies that prioritize the protection and sovereignty of the host nations over the needs of individual refugees and the growing number of refugees in protracted displacement situations.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.