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The Development of International Refugee Protection through the Practice of the UN Security Council

Christiane Ahlborn


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1This paper is the product of many years of studying international law, including numerous courses and conversations I have had with inspiring professors and fellow students who cannot all find mention in the few sentences that follow.

2I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my Master thesis supervisor, Professor Vera Gowlland-Debbas, for having guided me with insightful comments and honest criticism throughout the research and writing of this paper. Moreover, I would like to thank Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill who taught me international refugee law at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and who supported me in my intention to write my Master thesis on the Security Council and international refugee protection. The content of the present paper has also benefited from the comments of Professor Thomas Biersteker and the participants in his seminar on sanctions at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in which I wrote a research paper on a related topic. Karoline Popp deserves my personal thanks for having proofread this paper at the last minute and for giving me some very useful feedback from a non-lawyer’s perspective.

3My special thanks go to Mr. Pierre Bertrand, then representative of UNHCR in New York, who took the time to give me practical and revealing insights into the interaction between the UNHCR and the Security Council, in addition to other relevant UN organs based in New York. Our interview confirmed many of my previous impressions and gave me interesting ideas for further research.

4For their financial support, I am indebted to the German National Merit Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Tokyo Foundation who made it possible for me to study in the stimulating environment of Geneva. Furthermore, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and in particular to the International Law Section, for having provided me with the opportunity to participate in a one-semester exchange program with Harvard Law School which has complemented the excellent academic education I received in Geneva.

5Most of all, I would to thank my parents for their unconditional support and trust in me throughout my studies and my grandmother who, being a refugee herself, has taught me that it is often the simple things that matter most in life.

6Christiane Ahlborn


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