Paresh Kathrani


This article considers how over time asylum seekers have been ‘objectivised’ by the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951. International law is predominantly instrumental in nature. Whilst it may often contain ethical aspects and sometimes be underpinned by liberal objectives, these are usually secondary in nature, with the purpose of regularising the relationship of states around some common aims usually being the paramount goal. In this way, the focus of international law often turns from the ethical components of the law to terms, procedures and mechanisms. This arguably applies to Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951. Whilst originally conceived for Second World War refugees, it placed at the pinnacle of its preamble the moral impulse, ‘…to assure refugees the widest possible exercise of these fundamental rights and freedoms…’ The Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees 1967 removed the temporal and other limitations, however, arguably this moral impulse has waned as the words of the 1951 Convention have been used to control asylum seekers. This article argues that this has objectivised asylum seekers.