The Right to Political Participation and the Negotiation of Durable Solutions: Palestinian Refugees in Comparative Context
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Publication from material drawn substantially from the dissertation.
In the 1990s Palestinian refugees sought to secure a seat in negotiations alongside the PLO and Israel in talks to resolve their situation. Their efforts raise a number of basic questions concerning the right to political participation and the negotiation of durable solutions to refugee situations. First and foremost is the question of whether peace negotiations comprise a conduct of public affairs under international law entailing a concomitant right to take part. Second and related is the question of whether citizens, refugees in particular, have a right to take part in the conduct of public affairs when they are outside their country of citizenship voluntarily or otherwise. This study examines these questions through legal analysis of the right to political participation under international treaty law, jurisprudence and soft law and through empirical analysis of all negotiated settlements to armed conflict between 1990 and 2000. The study concludes that while refugees did not have a "right" to take part in the negotiation of durable solutions during the period under consideration, the PLO and Israel may have nevertheless had an obligation to facilitate the participation of refugees in a manner that would have allowed for substantial influence on decisions affecting their lives with the objective of shared ownership of agreements reached. The study also finds that between 1990 and 2000 few refugees appeared to take part directly in the direct negotiations to their situation. The implementation of durable solutions and agreements reached along with unofficial or indirect peacemaking mechanisms appeared to comprise the primary or most common domains for political participation. The study concludes that the negotiation of durable solutions for refugees is nevertheless a developing area of law and practice which has arguably strengthened in the decade since Israel and PLO sought to achieve a negotiated solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.
Dumper, Dr. Michael
PhD in Politics