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Part V The Scope of Refugee Protection, Ch.36 Complementary Protection

Jane McAdam

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law

Edited By: Cathryn Costello, Michelle Foster, Jane McAdam

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 01 December 2023

Right to life — Asylum — Non-refoulement

Beyond the Convention refugee, there are other forced migrants deserving of protection. This chapter considers the scope and content of ‘complementary protection’ in international law, and its application in a number of domestic jurisdictions. As the principle of non-refoulement has developed in human rights law to preclude removal to a real risk of serious harm, it has given rise to the concept of complementary protection. This describes protection granted on the basis of an international protection need arising outside the Refugee Convention, accompanied by a status in domestic law. At a minimum, complementary protection precludes the removal of individuals who face a real risk of being arbitrarily deprived of life, or being subjected to the death penalty, torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, although the list of rights giving rise to complementary protection is not closed. By its very nature, it is complementary to refugee protection, which means it should only be considered following a comprehensive evaluation of a person’s claim against the Refugee Convention definition and a finding that the applicant is not a refugee.

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