Asylum as Reparation - a new book by James Souter

Dr James Souter, Lecturer in International Relations, has published a new book, 'Asylum as Reparation' with Palgrave Macmillan.

Asylum as Reparation – Refuge and Responsibility for the Harms of Displacement argues that states have a special obligation to offer asylum as a form of reparation to refugees for whose flight they are responsible. It shows the great relevance of reparative justice, and the importance of the causes of contemporary forced migration, for our understanding of states’ responsibilities to refugees.

Part I explains how this view presents an alternative to the dominant humanitarian approach to asylum in political theory and some practice. Part II outlines the conditions under which asylum should act as a form of reparation, arguing that a state owes this form of asylum to refugees where it bears responsibility for the unjustified harms that they experience, and where asylum is the most fitting form of reparation available. Part III explores some of the ethical implications of this reparative approach to asylum for the workings of states’ asylum systems and the international politics of refugee protection. 

Souter is the first to provide a systematic and comprehensive reflection on the idea that under certain circumstances states can be morally required to grant asylum as reparation for unjustified harms. His discussion is clear, careful, and philosophically sophisticated. This is an important contribution.

What does justice for refugees require? James Souter provides fresh insights into this critical question through his incisive examination of asylum as a form of reparation. Souter illuminates responsibilities towards those displaced in conflicts and in connection with colonial legacies and the effects of climate change, and the conditions in which the provision of asylum may help to redress such complex harms. This ambitious and important book will be of great interest to anyone concerned with respect for refugees’ rights, and accountability for harms endured by forced migrants.

James Souter is a lecturer in International Relations at the School of Politics and International Studies. He holds a DPhil from the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and has published articles in academic journals such as Political Studies, International Affairs and the Journal of Social Philosophy.       

The book is part of the Palgrave International Political Theory Series which provides students and scholars with cutting-edge scholarship that explores the ways in which we theorise the international.

Read more about the book at Springer Link.