IRRC No. 139

Human Rights and Refugees (I)

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Wherever the United Nations Charter refers to promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms, it refers to human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. Within a State one distinguishes normally between nationals and aliens. But among the aliens there is a particular group—the refugees—whose position in traditional customary international law is especially precarious. This is due to the fact that in classic international law nationality is considered as the link between the individual and international law. In later editions of Oppenheim's leading textbook on International Law it is called the principal link.

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