Refugees and the Failure of the State: A Comparative Look at Modern Protection Gaps in Iraq and Guatemala

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Delaware
This project attempts to dissect the relationship between the nation-state system and the modern refugee regime. I assess the reluctance of the refugee regime to fully embrace victims of non-traditional factors and the roots of these policies in nation-state dynamics. By looking at the origins of the modern refugee law, I hope to shed light on some of the problems plaguing the international protection systems. By utilizing modern case studies – one in Central America and one in the Middle East – I hope to highlight the shortcomings of these systems. The current refugee laws were created in the middle of the twentieth century at a time of heightened nationalism when European ideals dominated international discourse. Because of this, Western principles are engrained in the international perception of the refugee. I argue that international global politics have taken on a hypocritical posture rooted in these western ideals. Nationalist movements oust minority groups creating refugees throughout the world. Furthermore, strong nationalistic ideals have led to xenophobic policies and tightened borders, leaving refugees caught in a stateless limbo for years. A narrow-minded and deeply western focus on the need to protect all citizens of the world from state over-reach has created a system that is only slowly acknowledging the existence of non-state or private persecution. It is through these paradoxical lenses that I research the refugee and the state system from which they find themselves excluded.
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Political science