The universal refugee definition in Article 1A(2) of the Refugee Convention provides the cornerstone of the international refugee protection regime. However, it is far from the final word. At the regional level, states in Africa and Latin America have supplemented the universal refugee definition with their own, expanded criteria for refugee status. The regional refugee definitions – Article I(2) of the OAU Refugee Convention and paragraph III(3) of the Cartagena Declaration – extend refugee protection beyond those with a well-founded fear of being persecuted to people fleeing a range of other, more widespread situations and harms, including generalised violence, massive human rights violations and serious disturbances to public order. This chapter provides a closer look at the universal and regional refugee definitions, exploring the scope and application of their respective terms, and comparing and contrasting their criteria for refugee status.
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