UNHCR Note on
Diplomatic Assurances and International Refugee Protection

Contents

Page

I.
II.

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT......................................................................2
DIPLOMATIC ASSURANCES AND THE PRINCIPLE OF
NON-REFOULEMENT ........................................................................................4
A. Protection against refoulement under international refugee
law .......................................................................................................................4
B. Protection against refoulement under human rights law ..............................6
1. General considerations ...................................................................................6
2. Removal on the basis of diplomatic assurances .............................................9
C. Diplomatic assurances and the forcible removal of refugees
or asylum-seekers ............................................................................................12
1. Refugees .......................................................................................................12
Removal to the country of origin or former habitual residence .................. 13
Removal to a country other than the country of origin or
former habitual residence............................................................................ 13
2. Asylum-seekers ............................................................................................14
Removal to the country of origin or former habitual residence .................. 14
Removal to a country other than the country of origin or
former habitual residence............................................................................ 15
III. DIPLOMATIC ASSURANCES AND REFUGEE STATUS
DETERMINATION.............................................................................................16
A. General considerations ...................................................................................16
B. Diplomatic assurances with regard to asylum-seekers ................................16
C. Access to asylum procedures..........................................................................17
D. Diplomatic assurances and refugee status determination ...........................17

Protection Operations and Legal Advice Section
Division of International Protection Services
Geneva, August 2006

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