“My Life Has Ended”: Exploring the Refugee Protection Process and How it Affects Future Orientation in Refugees


  • Fiza Lee Winter




refugee protection, future orientation, forced migration, beyond non-refoulement, potential for harm


Much of refugee protection focuses on the legal aspects within the international refugee protection regime, which arguably results in less attention being paid to the more practical aspects to the realisation of that protection including the processes the refugees have to undergo as well as its impacts. As a cornerstone of the international refugee protection regime, non-refoulement (the forcible return of people to countries where they face persecution) is also a jus cogens (peremptory norm from which no derogation is permitted) principle. While crucial in and of itself, a meaningful protection regime should ideally result in further non-violation of refugees’ human rights including the prevention of refugees being revictimised, particularly when undergoing processes intended in securing their protection. Through refugee narratives, this article takes us on a journey in exploring some of the ways in which the protection regime may contribute to harming refugees. Further, based on refugee testimonies, this article sheds light on the probable impacts to refugees’ future orientation, an outcome of having undergone the protection processes as they take the perilous journey from flight to resettlement. More critically, this article aims to open the discussion further with a view to improve protection outcomes and prevent revictimisation of the refugees themselves as they navigate these various processes.