The meaning of the word ‘asylum’ tends to be assumed by those who use it, but its content is rarely explained. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers to ‘asylum from persecution’, the UN General Assembly urges the grant of asylum and observance of the principle of asylum, and States’ constitutions and laws offer the promise of asylum, yet nowhere is this act of States defined. The word itself and the phrase ‘right of asylum’ have lost much of their pristine simplicity.1 With the growth of nation States and the corresponding development of notions of...
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