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Part V The Scope of Refugee Protection, Ch.38 The Internal Protection Alternative

Bríd Ní Ghráinne

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: 28 February 2024

Asylum — Non-refoulement — Persecution

This chapter discusses the Internal Protection Alternative (IPA), which stems from the premise that if there is a safe place within an individual’s State of nationality or habitual residence where they can relocate, they are not a refugee. Examples of the application of the IPA could include relocating from the countryside to the city where an individual is less likely to be found by their persecutors; or relocating to an area where a clan, tribe, militia, or international organization could provide protection. As refugee law lacks an international mechanism capable of providing a common interpretation of the Refugee Convention, the IPA’s interpretation has primarily been left to Contracting States by means of domestic court decisions. Using the rules of treaty interpretation, it is nonetheless possible to distil a minimum binding standard of relevant IPA criteria from both State practice and the text of the Refugee Convention itself. These criteria are that (i) the proposed IPA must be accessible to the applicant, (ii) there is no risk of exposure to the original risk of persecution, and (iii) there must be no new risk of persecution or of refoulement in the proposed IPA, and the conditions there must not be so unreasonable as to risk driving the individual to a place where there is a risk of persecution.

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