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. [...]
[...] Thus, we notice that a declaration can have the same results than a Convention (which belongs to the real sources of International Law). In order to conclude I would say that, as I tried to demonstrate during the entire paper, my researches made me believe that the Cartagena Declaration has been efficient. Actually, even if it is not a part of the formal law, its content has been implicated and its principles were permitted to improve the situation in Latin America. [...]
[...] Thus, on this side of the answer, a declaration could appear insufficient to resolve the international issues. On the other side, the main argument was that even if it is not explicitly exposed to the text, countries that are concerned with the declaration ought to follow its recommendation. Thus, following this spirit, even if the texts do not make a mention of the obligated quality of their recommendations, they have to be respected. This current is said to use the "soft law"(11), which rested more on an interpretation of the texts and on an extrapolation of them. [...]
[...] The creation of the Cartagena Declaration presented a step in helping the displaced people because it offered specific solutions to a specific problem.” The Cartagena Declaration provided a clear statement of the region's optic on desirable protections for refugees" page 119). This Declaration appeared as a reference for the entire American continent. Though, as it is a Declaration and not a Convention, this text was supposed to supervise the treatment and the organization of the Latin American refugee for any state that was submitting voluntarily. [...]
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