Right of asylum
Overview
Right of asylum is an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted
Persecution
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation,...

 for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

, a foreign country, or church sanctuaries
Sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

 (as in medieval times). This right has its roots in a longstanding Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

—although it was already recognized by the Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

, the Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 and the Hebrews
Hebrews
Hebrews is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible...

—Descartes went to the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Hobbes to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (followed by many English nobles during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

), etc.; each state offered protection to foreign persecuted persons.

Political asylum is similar, but not identical, to modern refugee law
Refugee law
Refugee law is the branch of international law which deals with the rights and protection of refugees. It is related to, but distinct from, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, which deal respectively with human rights in general, and the conduct of war in...

, which deals with massive influx of population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

, while the right
Right
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory...

 of asylum concerns individuals and is usually delivered in a case-to-case basis.
Encyclopedia
Right of asylum is an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted
Persecution
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation,...

 for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

, a foreign country, or church sanctuaries
Sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

 (as in medieval times). This right has its roots in a longstanding Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

—although it was already recognized by the Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

, the Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 and the Hebrews
Hebrews
Hebrews is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible...

—Descartes went to the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Hobbes to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (followed by many English nobles during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

), etc.; each state offered protection to foreign persecuted persons.

Political asylum is similar, but not identical, to modern refugee law
Refugee law
Refugee law is the branch of international law which deals with the rights and protection of refugees. It is related to, but distinct from, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, which deal respectively with human rights in general, and the conduct of war in...

, which deals with massive influx of population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

, while the right
Right
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory...

 of asylum concerns individuals and is usually delivered in a case-to-case basis. There is overlap between the two because each refugee may demand political asylum on an individual basis.

Medieval right of asylum


The Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews recognized a religious "right of asylum," protecting criminals (or those accused of crime) from legal action to some extent. This principle was later adopted by the established Christian church, and various rules developed to qualify for protection and just how much protection it was.

According to the Council of Orleans
First Council of Orléans
The First Council of Orléans was convoked by Clovis I in 511. Shortly before his death, Clovis called a synod of Gallic bishops to meet at Orléans to reform the church and create a strong link between the crown and the Catholic episcopate. 33 bishops assisted and passed thirty-one decrees on the...

 in 511, in the presence of Clovis I
Clovis I
Clovis Leuthwig was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the leadership from a group of royal chieftains, to rule by kings, ensuring that the kingship was held by his heirs. He was also the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul . He was the son...

, asylum was granted to anyone who took refuge in a church, in its dependences or in the house of a bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

. This protection was given to murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

ers, thieves or people accused of adultery
Adultery
Adultery is sexual infidelity to one's spouse, and is a form of extramarital sex. It originally referred only to sex between a woman who was married and a person other than her spouse. Even in cases of separation from one's spouse, an extramarital affair is still considered adultery.Adultery is...

. It also concerned the fugitive slave
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

, who would however be handed back to his owner when his owner swore on the Bible not to be cruel. This Christian right of asylum was confirmed by all following councils
Ecumenical council
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice....

.

Medieval England

In England, King Ethelbert
Ethelbert of Kent
Æthelberht was King of Kent from about 580 or 590 until his death. In his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, the eighth-century monk Bede lists Aethelberht as the third king to hold imperium over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms...

 made the first laws regulating sanctuary
Sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

 in about 600 AD. In the laws of king Ethelred, the term grith is used.
By the Norman era after 1066, there had evolved two kinds of sanctuary: all churches had the lower-level kind (sanctuary within the church proper), but only churches licensed by the king had a broader version (sanctuary in a zone surrounding the church). There were at least twenty-two churches with charters for a broader kind of sanctuary, including Battle Abbey
Battle Abbey
Battle Abbey is a partially ruined abbey complex in the small town of Battle in East Sussex, England. The abbey was built on the scene of the Battle of Hastings and dedicated to St...

, Beverley
Beverley
Beverley is a market town, civil parish and the county town of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, located between the River Hull and the Westwood. The town is noted for Beverley Minster and architecturally-significant religious buildings along New Walk and other areas, as well as the Beverley...

 (see image, right), Colchester, Durham, Hexham, Norwich, Ripon, Wells, Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral at Winchester in Hampshire is one of the largest cathedrals in England, with the longest nave and overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe...

, Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

, and York Minster
York Minster
York Minster is a Gothic cathedral in York, England and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe alongside Cologne Cathedral. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England, and is the cathedral for the Diocese of York; it is run by...

.

Sometimes the criminal had to get to the church itself to be protected, and might have to ring a certain bell there, or hold a certain ring or door-knocker
Sanctuary Knocker
The Sanctuary Knocker is an ornamental knocker on the door of a cathedral. Under medieval English common law, these instruments supposedly afforded the right of asylum to anybody who touched them. Examples of Sanctuary Knockers can be found on Durham Cathedral, the St. Nicholas church in Gloucester...

, or sit on a certain chair ("frith
Frith
Frith is an Old English word meaning "peace; freedom from molestation, protection; safety, security".- Etymology :Derived from Old English friðu, friþ, it is cognate to Old Norse friðr, Old High German fridu, German Friede, Dutch vrede, West Frisian frede, Icelandic friður, Common Scandinavian fred...

-stool"), and some of these items survive at various churches. In other places, there was an area around the church or abbey, sometimes extending as much as a mile and a half, and there would be stone "sanctuary crosses" marking the boundary of the area; some of those still exist as well. Thus it could become a race between the felon and medieval law officers to the nearest sanctuary boundary, and could make the serving of justice upon the fleet of foot a difficult proposition.

Church sanctuaries were regulated by common law. An asylum seeker was to confess sins, surrender weapons, and be placed under the supervision of the head of the church or abbey where they had fled. They then had forty days to make one of two choices: surrender to secular authorities and stand trial for the alleged crimes, or confess their guilt and be sent into exile (abjure the realm
Abjuration
Abjuration is the solemn repudiation, abandonment, or renunciation by or upon oath, often the renunciation of citizenship or some other right or privilege. .-Abjuration of the realm:...

), by the shortest route and never return without the king's permission. Anyone who did come back could be executed by the law and/or excommunicated by the Church.

If the suspect chose to confess their guilt and abjure, they would do so in a public ceremony, usually at the gate of the church grounds. They would surrender their possessions to the church, and any landed property to the crown. The coroner, a medieval official, would then choose a port city from which the fugitive should leave England (though the fugitive sometimes had this privilege). The fugitive would set out barefooted and bareheaded, carrying a wooden cross-staff as a symbol of protection under the church. Theoretically they would stay to the main highway, reach the port and take the first ship out of England. In practice, however, the fugitive could get a safe distance away, abandon the cross-staff and take off and start a new life. However, one can safely assume the friends and relatives of the victim knew of this ploy and would do everything in their power to make sure this did not happen; or indeed that the fugitive never reached their intended port of call, becoming a victim of vigilante
Vigilante
A vigilante is a private individual who legally or illegally punishes an alleged lawbreaker, or participates in a group which metes out extralegal punishment to an alleged lawbreaker....

 justice under the pretense of a fugitive who wandered too far off the main highway while trying to "escape."

Knowing the grim options, some fugitives rejected both choices and opted for an escape from the asylum before the forty days were up. Others simply made no choice and did nothing. Since it was illegal for the victim's friends to break into an asylum, the church would deprive the fugitive of food and water until a decision was made.

Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 changed the rules of asylum, reducing to a short list the types of crimes which were allowed to claim asylum. The medieval system of asylum was finally abolished entirely by James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 in 1623.

During the Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

, when the Yorkists or Lancastrians would suddenly get the upper hand by winning a battle, some adherents of the losing side might find themselves surrounded by adherents of the other side and not able to get back to their own side. Upon realizing this situation they would rush to sanctuary at the nearest church until it was safe to come out. A prime example is Queen Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. Elizabeth was a key figure in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. Her first husband, Sir John Grey of Groby was killed at the Second Battle of St Albans...

, consort of Edward IV of England
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

.

In 1470, when the Lancastrians briefly restored Henry VI
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

 to the throne, queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. Elizabeth was a key figure in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. Her first husband, Sir John Grey of Groby was killed at the Second Battle of St Albans...

 was living in London with several young daughters. She moved with them into Westminster
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 for sanctuary, living there in royal comfort until Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

 was restored to the throne in 1471 and giving birth to their first son Edward V
Edward V of England
Edward V was King of England from 9 April 1483 until his deposition two months later. His reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded him as Richard III...

 during that time. When King Edward IV died in 1483, Elizabeth (who was highly unpopular with even the Yorkists and probably did need protection) took her five daughters and youngest son (Richard, Duke of York) and again moved into sanctuary at Westminster. To be sure she had all the comforts of home, she brought so much furniture and so many chests that the workmen had to knock holes in some of the walls to get everything in fast enough to suit her.

Modern political asylum

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...

 states that "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is an international convention that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not...

 and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees guides national legislation concerning political asylum. Under these agreements, a refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

 (or for cases where repressing base means has been applied directly or environmentally to the defoulé refugee) is a person who is outside their own country's territory (or place of habitual residence if stateless) owing to fear of persecution
Persecution
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation,...

 on protected grounds. Protected grounds include race, nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

, religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, political opinions and membership and/or participation in any particular social group or social activities.

These are the accepted terms and criteria as principles and a fundamental part in The U.N. 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is an international convention that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not...

 non-refoulement
Non-refoulement
Non-refoulement is a principle in international law, specifically refugee law, that concerns the protection of refugees from being returned to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened...

 order.

Since the 1990s, sexual persecution
Domestic violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

 has come to be accepted in some countries as a legitimate category for asylum claims, when the claimant can prove that the state is unable or unwilling to provide protection.

Some believe that the development in the 20th century of bilateral extradition
Extradition
Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...

 treaties
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 has endangered the right of asylum, although international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 considers that a sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 has no obligation to surrender an alleged criminal to a foreign state, as one principle of sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 is that every state has legal authority over the people within its borders. Indeed, a state granting the right of sanctuary
Sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

 to an asylee will summarily and categorically reject a request of the country they fled from to extradite them, regardless of any extradition treaty. This is due to the fact that to be granted sanctuary by a state indicates that the state granting sanctuary regards the asylee as being illegally persecuted by the nation they fled from. Rendering the true victim of persecution to their persecutor is a particularly odious violation of a principle called non-refoulement
Non-refoulement
Non-refoulement is a principle in international law, specifically refugee law, that concerns the protection of refugees from being returned to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened...

, part of the customary
Customary international law
Customary international law are those aspects of international law that derive from custom. Along with general principles of law and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, jurists, the United Nations, and its member states to be among the primary sources of...

 and trucial Law of Nations.

A corollary of this principle is that the granting of asylum is tantamount to accusing (or at least strongly implying that) the nation an asylee fled from is illegally persecuting the asylee, and thus the granting of asylum by one state to a citizen or citizens of a particular state may be considered an unfriendly deed by the country the asylee(s) fled from, and retaliation, through the exercise of the right of reciprocity
Reciprocity (international relations)
In international relations and treaties, the principle of reciprocity states that favours, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind....

 or the right of reprisal
Reprisal
In international law, a reprisal is a limited and deliberate violation of international law to punish another sovereign state that has already broken them. Reprisals in the laws of war are extremely limited, as they commonly breached the rights of civilians, an action outlawed by the Geneva...

 may occur. For example, the Government of Cuba has granted asylum to a number of persons that the Federal Government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 considers domestic terrorists or criminals. This has caused outrage in the United States, and resulted in the Federal Government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 listing Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. Similar grievances exist on the Cuban side, with the United States having granted asylum to a number of individuals which the Government of Cuba considers criminals, traitors, or terrorists, possibly as an exercise of the right of reciprocity
Reciprocity (international relations)
In international relations and treaties, the principle of reciprocity states that favours, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind....

, or the right of reprisal
Reprisal
In international law, a reprisal is a limited and deliberate violation of international law to punish another sovereign state that has already broken them. Reprisals in the laws of war are extremely limited, as they commonly breached the rights of civilians, an action outlawed by the Geneva...

; however, the Government of Cuba apparently has not added the United States to its list of state sponsors of terrorism

Right of Asylum in the European Union

The asylum in the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 was formed since a half-century in its Member States by application of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 on the Status of Refugees. It evolved as a result of common policies appearing in the 1990s in connection with the creation of the Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

 on the suppression of internal borders. The EU has set up a common policy on asylum so that unsuccessful asylum seekers do not make a new application in another country . This common policy began with the Dublin Convention
Dublin Convention
The Dublin Regulation is a European Union law that determines the EU Member State responsible to examine an application for asylum seekers seeking international protection under the Geneva Convention and the EU Qualification Directive, within the European Union...

 in 1990. It continued through the implementation of Eurodac
Eurodac
EURODAC, which stands for European Dactyloscopy, is the European fingerprint database for identifying asylum seekers and irregular border-crossers. Asylum applicants and irregular border-crossers over the age of 14 have their fingerprints taken as a matter of European Community law...

 and the Dublin Regulation in 2003, and continues today (October 2009 adoption of two proposals by the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 

Right of Asylum in France

Political asylum is recognized in France (droit d'asile) by the 1958 Constitution
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

. It has been restricted due to immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 policies with the December 30, 1993 law, the Debré law
Jean-Louis Debré
Jean-Louis Debré is a conservative French political figure. He was President of the National Assembly of France from 2002 to 2007 and has been President of the Constitutional Council since 2007.-Biography:Debré was born in Toulouse...

 of April 24, 1997, the May 11, 1998 law and the December 10, 2003 law. Henceforth, critics, including the Human Rights League (Ligue des droits de l'homme – LDH) have opposed what they see as a practical abandonment of a longstanding European judicial tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

.

Political asylum is also defined in France by the 1951 United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is an international convention that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not...

 (ratified in 1952), the additional 1967 protocol; articles K1 and K2 of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

 as well as the 1985 Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

, which defined the European policy on immigration
Immigration policy
An immigration policy is any policy of a state that deals with the transit of persons across its borders into the country, but especially those that intend to work and to remain in the country. Immigration policies can range from allowing no migration at all to allowing most types of migration,...

. Finally, right of asylum is defined by article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union citizens and residents, into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of...

.

On a purely judicial level, only four conditions may be opposed to the accordance of political asylum to someone who has proven being subject to persecution in their country: the presence of the alien represents a serious threat to public order; the request should be addressed by another sovereign state; the request has already been accepted in another state; or the request is an abuse on the system of political asylum.

The December 10, 2003 law has limited political asylum, giving two main restrictions:
  • it invented the notion of "internal asylum": the request may be rejected if the foreigner may benefit from political asylum on a portion of the territory of the state
  • the OFPRA (Office français pour la protection des réfugiés et apatrides – French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons http://www.ofpra.gouv.fr/) now makes a list of allegedly "safe countries" which respect political rights and principles of liberty
    Liberty
    Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

    . If the demander of asylum comes from such a country, the request is treated in 15 days, and receives no social assistance protection. They may contest the decision, but this does not suspend any deportation
    Deportation
    Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

     order. The first list, enacted in July 2005, included as "safe countries" Benin
    Benin
    Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

    , Cape Verde
    Cape Verde
    The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa...

    , Ghana
    Ghana
    Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

    , Mali
    Mali
    Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

    , Mauritius Island
    Mauritius
    Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

    , India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    , Senegal
    Senegal
    Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

    , Mongolia
    Mongolia
    Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

    , Georgia
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

    , Ukraine
    Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

    , Bosnia
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

     and Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

    . It had the effect of reducing in six months by about 80% the number of applicants from these countries. The second list, passed in July 2006, included Tanzania
    Tanzania
    The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

    , Madagascar
    Madagascar
    The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

    , Niger
    Niger
    Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

    , Albania
    Albania
    Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

     and Macedonia
    Republic of Macedonia
    Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

    .


Thus, although the right of political asylum has been conserved in France in spite of the various anti-immigration laws, it has been restricted to some extent. Some people claim that, apart from the purely judicial level, the bureaucratic
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 process is also used to slow down and ultimately reject what might be considered as valid requests. According to Le Figaro
Le Figaro
Le Figaro is a French daily newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is one of three French newspapers of record, with Le Monde and Libération, and is the oldest newspaper in France. It is also the second-largest national newspaper in France after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, but...

, France granted 7,000 people the status of political refugee in 2006, out of a total of 35,000 requests; in 2005, the OFPRA in charge of examining the legitimacy of such requests granted less than 10,000 from a total of 50,000 requests.

Numerous exiles from South American dictatorships, in particular from Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

's Chile and Argentina
Dirty War
The Dirty War was a period of state-sponsored violence in Argentina from 1976 until 1983. Victims of the violence included several thousand left-wing activists, including trade unionists, students, journalists, Marxists, Peronist guerrillas and alleged sympathizers, either proved or suspected...

, were received in the 1970s-80s.
As a current example, since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, tens of homeless Afghan asylum seekers have been sleeping in a park in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 near the Gare de l'Est
Gare de l'Est
is one of the six large SNCF termini in Paris. It is in the 10th arrondissement, not far from the Gare du Nord, facing the Boulevard de Strasbourg, part of the north-south axis of Paris created by Baron Haussmann...

 train station. Although their demands haven't been yet accepted, their presence has been tolerated. However, since the end of 2005, NGOs have been noting that the police separate Afghans from other migrants during raids, and expel in charters those who have just arrived at Gare de l'Est by train and haven't had time to make the demand for asylum (a May 30, 2005 decree requires them to pay for a translator for helping them in official formalities) http://pajol.eu.org/article896.html.

Right of Asylum in the United Kingdom

In the 19th century, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 accorded political asylum to various persecuted people, among whom were many members of the socialist movement (including Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

). With the 1845 attempted bombing of the Greenwich Royal Observatory and the 1911 Siege of Sidney Street
Siege of Sidney Street
The Siege of Sidney Street, popularly known as the "Battle of Stepney", was a notorious gunfight in London's East End on the 2nd of January 1911. Preceded by the Houndsditch Murders, it ended with the deaths of two members of a supposedly politically-motivated gang of burglars supposedly led by...

 in the context of the propaganda of the deed
Propaganda of the deed
Propaganda of the deed is a concept that refers to specific political actions meant to be exemplary to others...

 anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 actions, political asylum legislation was restricted.

Right of asylum in the United States

The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 honors the right of asylum of individuals as specified by international and federal law. A specified number of legally defined
Refugee law
Refugee law is the branch of international law which deals with the rights and protection of refugees. It is related to, but distinct from, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, which deal respectively with human rights in general, and the conduct of war in...

 refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s, who apply for refugee status overseas, as well as those applying for asylum after arriving in the U.S., are admitted annually.

As noted in the article specifically about asylum and refugees in the United States
Asylum in the United States
The United States honors the right of asylum of individuals as specified by international and federal law. A specified number of legally defined refugees, who apply for asylum either overseas or after arriving in the U.S., are admitted annually. Refugees compose about one-tenth of the total...

, since World War II, more refugees have found homes in the U.S. than any other nation and more than two million refugees have arrived in the U.S. since 1980. During much of the 1990s, the United States accepted over 100,000 refugees per year, though this figure has recently decreased to around 50,000 per year in the first decade of the 21st century, due to greater security concerns. Still, of the top ten countries accepting resettled refugees in 2006, the United States accepted more than twice as many as the next nine countries combined. As for asylum seekers, the latest statistics show that 86,400 persons sought sanctuary in the United States in 2001. Prior to the September 11 attacks individual asylum applicants were evaluated in private proceedings at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS)
Immigration and Naturalization Service
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service , now referred to as Legacy INS, ceased to exist under that name on March 1, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred from the Department of Justice to three new components within the newly created Department of Homeland Security, as...

.

Despite this generosity, there are serious problems with the U.S. asylum and refugee determination processes. A recent empirical analysis by three legal scholars described the U.S. asylum process as a game of refugee roulette
Refugee roulette
Refugee roulette refers to arbitrariness in the process of refugee status determinations or, as it is called in the United States, asylum adjudication...

; that is to say that the outcome of asylum determinations depends in large part on the identity of the particular adjudicator to whom an application is randomly assigned, rather than on the merits of the case. The very low numbers of Iraqi refugees accepted between 2003 and 2007 exemplifies concerns about the United States' refugee processes. The Foreign Policy Association reported that "Perhaps the most perplexing component of the Iraq refugee crisis... has been the inability for the U.S. to absorb more Iraqis following the 2003 invasion of the country. To date, the U.S. has granted less than 800 Iraqis refugee status, just 133 in 2007. By contrast, the U.S. granted asylum to more than 100,000 Vietnamese refugees during the Vietnam War."

The 2000 documentary film Well-Founded Fear
Well-Founded Fear
Well-Founded Fear is a 2000 documentary film from directors Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini. The film takes its title from the formal definition of a refugee under the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as a person who deserves protection, "owing to a well-founded fear of...

, from filmmakers Shari Robertson
Shari Robertson
Shari Robertson is an American Film Director and producer. Her filmmaking credits include Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now, Well-Founded Fear, These Girls Are Missing, Inside the Khmer Rouge, Return to Year Zero and Washington/Peru: We Ain't Winnin'. Her films have been featured on HBO, CNN,...

 and Michael Camerini
Michael Camerini
Michael Camerini is a film director, producer and cinematographer. His filmmaking credits include Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now, Well-Founded Fear, These Girls Are Missing, Becoming the Buddha in L.A., Dadi's Family and Born Again: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church...

 marked the first time that a film crew was privy to the (above mentioned) private proceedings at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS)
Immigration and Naturalization Service
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service , now referred to as Legacy INS, ceased to exist under that name on March 1, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred from the Department of Justice to three new components within the newly created Department of Homeland Security, as...

, where individual asylum officers ponder the often life-or-death fate of the majority of immigrants seeking asylum. It provided the first high-profile, behind-the-scenes look at the process for seeking asylum in the United States. The film was featured at the Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new...

, documentary competition and was broadcast in June, 2000 on PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 as part of POV.

American citizens granted asylum abroad

Holly Ann Collins, together with her three children, were the first Americans to be granted asylum in the Netherlands, in June 1994, on the grounds of abuse. The family were in transit to Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 when they deplaned in the country, and sought asylum. This was granted three years later, for humanitarian reasons. None of the American judges in Collins' case agreed with her accounts of alleged abuse and other key events in her case. Chere Lyn Tomayko has been granted asylum in June 2008 in Costa Rica for kidnapping Alexandria Camille Cyprian (born 1989) in 1997 for escaping alleged domestic violence. Tomayko's accounts of domestic violence were disputed by several accounts in the U.S.

See also

  • Deportation
    Deportation
    Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

  • Exile
    Exile
    Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

  • Extradition
    Extradition
    Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...

  • Immigration policy
    Immigration policy
    An immigration policy is any policy of a state that deals with the transit of persons across its borders into the country, but especially those that intend to work and to remain in the country. Immigration policies can range from allowing no migration at all to allowing most types of migration,...

  • Internally displaced persons, a subcategory of displaced people
  • Operation Nifty Package
    Operation Nifty Package
    Operation Nifty Package was a United States Navy SEALs-operated plan conducted in 1989 designed to capture Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. When Noriega took refuge in the Vatican embassy, deafening music and other psychological warfare were used to convince him to exit and surrender himself.The...

  • List of United States citizens granted political asylum in Cuba
  • Sanctuary movement
    Sanctuary movement
    The Sanctuary Movement was a religious and political campaign that began in the early 1980s to provide safe-haven for Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict...

  • Well-Founded Fear
    Well-Founded Fear
    Well-Founded Fear is a 2000 documentary film from directors Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini. The film takes its title from the formal definition of a refugee under the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as a person who deserves protection, "owing to a well-founded fear of...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK