Refugee Status Determination: State v. UNHCR

The protection of refugees is unquestionably a global issue that should be addressed by the international community as a whole. However, refugee status determination (RSD) is procedurally decentralized to municipal authorities. As a matter of fact, each state party to the Refugee Convention is enabled to judge whether or not an asylum seeker who reaches its territory fulfills the refugee criteria. UNHCR, on the other hand, has also a power of RSD to complement the possible lack and inadequacy of states' RSD system and discharge its own mandate under the UNHCR Statute. The question this paper addresses is what if a person who has previously been determined as a refugee by UNHCR newly applies for asylum to a state. Although the previous RSD by UNHCR is not legally binding on the state authority because of the difference of sources (Statute/Convention), I will explore if it has any weight that the government has to take into consideration and what this weight can be.