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Part VI Refugee Rights and Realities, Ch.55 The Right to Family Reunification

Frances Nicholson

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: 10 December 2023

Expulsion — Refugees — Non-discrimination

This chapter investigates the right to family reunification. Refugees fleeing persecution and armed conflict often become separated from their families or have to leave family members behind. Border guards, armed groups, smugglers, or simply force of circumstance may separate refugee families in the chaos of flight. For refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection, family reunification in the country of asylum is generally the only way to ensure respect for their right to family life and family unity. The chapter examines the extent of the rights to family life and family unity under human rights law both globally and regionally, with the right to family reunification itself also receiving widespread recognition. In practice, however, in order to realize these rights, refugee families must surmount numerous legal and practical obstacles that can render reunification a tortuous or even impossible undertaking. The chapter then takes a children’s rights perspective, focusing notably on the situation of adopted, fostered, and unaccompanied children.

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