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Implementation and World PoliticsHow International Norms Change Practice$
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Alexander Betts and Phil Orchard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712787

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712787.001.0001

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From Persecution to Deprivation

From Persecution to Deprivation

How Refugee Norms Adapt at Implementation

(p.28) (p.29) 2 From Persecution to Deprivation
Implementation and World Politics

Alexander Betts

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at norm implementation in the context of the global refugee regime, focusing on the central norm of the regime: non-refoulement, the idea that people fleeing a well-founded fear of persecution should not be returned to their country of origin. Developing the concept of “regime stretching,” it examines the political conditions under which a norm, can adapt to new circumstances at national and local levels. It applies this concept to explain variation in the application of non-refoulement to the case of Zimbabweans fleeing their country in the early twenty-first century. While a minority were fleeing persecution, the majority were instead fleeing serious rights deprivations. Offering an interest-based account of variation in norm implementation, it argues that elite interests within government explain how and why global norms come to be defined and interpreted in different ways at national and local levels.

Keywords:   regime stretching, refugees, norms, non-refoulement, implementation, elite interests, UNHCR, Zimbabwe

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