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A New Asylum Paradigm? Globalisation, Migration and the Uncertain Future of the International Refugee Regime

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'Stop the asylum invasion.' 'New shambles over asylum.' 'Poison gang are asylum seekers.' 'Asylum blamed for AIDS crisis.' 'Asylum threat to house prices.' These are a few of the front page headlines that have appeared in British newspapers during the past year. As these headlines demonstrate, in recent times we have witnessed an extraordinary (and extraordinarily successful) effort on the part of the press, supported by certain pressure groups and politicians, to convince the British public that the majority of asylum seekers are cheats, criminals and charlatans. Some commentators have suggested, somewhat naively, that the current challenge to asylum in the United Kingdom is simply a result of the competition for newspaper sales, and that it has no deeper social or political significance. This article presents a different argument, suggesting that recent developments in UK refugee and asylum policy are a manifestation of much broader and deeper trends, that are providing an important challenge to the international refugee protection regime.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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