Refugee Law Class Problem 1: Fredonia

 Imagine.  All of you in this seminar room represent the inner cabinet for an enlightened and popular president of the prosperous, stable country of Fredonia.  It is a party to the main international human rights treaties and also to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol.  But most other countries in the region are developing countries saddled with various economic and political problems.  Two of those nearby countries Birdsonia and Dugostan, though not immediately on the Fredonia border, present particular forced migration issues. Birdsonia, several hundred miles to the east, is ruled by a harsh dictator who has been in power for two decades, imprisoning dissidents (often on the basis of criminal charges whose foundations seem shaky) and repressing a disfavored religious minority, the “Tweets.”  Foreign visitors are limited, and information about what is occurring in Birdsonia is scarce.  A handful of dissidents have escaped to other countries, but many are in hiding internally.  The outflow of Tweets, never very high, seems on the increase in recent months, perhaps compounded by record flooding that has devastated parts of the country.

Dugostan, several hundred miles to the west of Fredonia, experienced a coup four years ago carried out by a junta of high-ranking military officers who represent one of the country’s three dominant ethnic groups.  The other two groups formed an alliance and are fighting back; civil war is spreading and each side charges the other with massacres and other violations of the law of war.  Nearly 250,000 people have been uprooted from their homes.  Most have gone to other parts of Dugostan where their ethnic group predominates, but several thousand have fled to neighboring countries.  An estimated 5,000 Dugostanies are in Fredonia, and several fishing vessels, each bearing over 100 Dugostanies recently landed on Fredonian shores.  The situation in Dugostan is becoming a significant public issue in Fredonia, and elections for parliament and the presidency are scheduled for eight months from now.

The general question posed to the class is this: What should the president of Fredonia do about these forced migration situations in the region?

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *