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A discussion on the efficiency of a Regional instrument: The Cartagena Declaration

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  1. Introduction
  2. Shared values and common interests
  3. Multilateralism and a common attitude
  4. Inter-regionalism
  5. The economic aspect
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

The events which disturbed South America started in the 70's and during the period 1975-1982 for Central America. Encouraged by the reversal of power of general Pinochet in Chili on September the 11th in 1973, other countries of the South American continent (Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil) suffered dictatorship and refugee flows. After that, it was Central America's turn (in Nicaragua, Salvador, Guatemala) to endure political repression and civil war that caused massif population exodus. At the end of the Central American crisis and the huge wage of refugee claims that followed in the late eighties, the States of the Region had to adapt their legislation concerning the asylum seekers and refugees' protection. It was relevant to raise the antecedents, the principles and the state practices that inspired and nurture the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees of 1984. When the refugee camps in Mexico and Central America closed in the mid-90s, the number of asylum claims rose again. These events created different kinds of situations. A lot of people had to move inside their country because of the persecutions, violence and drug traffics. Thus, almost one million people had to flee from their country.

[...] Indeed, it re- uses the concept of refugee as evocated in the precedent international texts, but also redefines the condition of a refugee in order to adapt its description to the new data's.? The Cartagena Declaration explicitly affirms the continuing value of the Refugee Convention's rights regime, and does not condition its expanded definition of refugee rights on the renunciation of political or other activity" Page 119). The asset of this new instrument rested on its capacity to be adapted to the current situation. [...]


[...] The Cartagena Declaration appears thus to have improved deeply the protection and the status of a refugee in Latin America. However, can one consider that a declaration is efficient enough to guaranty the maintenance of these improvements? As it does not oblige the States to respect its content, is a simple declaration influent enough on States? II) The efficiency of the Cartagena Declaration as an International Law' instrument The question concerning the efficiency of the Cartagena declaration refers to a bigger and older questioning. [...]


[...] Consequently, one could easily question the efficiency of a simple declaration to cope with a huge new flee of refugees. Is a declaration restrictive enough in front of the decisions of states that are not obliged to obey this law? What is the actual impact and practical value of the Cartagena Declaration within Latin American? In this paper, I will focus first on the improvements brought by the Cartagena Declaration in terms of the respect of refugee rights in Latin America, and its integration in the South American process. [...]

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