Refugees and minorities: some conceptual and normative issues

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen*, Sune Lægaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In many contexts, states have a duty to take special measures to protect minorities. Does this duty include prioritizing minority over majority refugees? To answer this question, we first show that a vulnerability-focused notion of ‘minorities’ is preferable to a numerical one. Given the vulnerability-focused notion, there is a presumption in favour of prioritizing minority over majority refugees. However, this presumption is sometimes defeated. We identify five conditions under which this is the case. In fact, surprisingly, under special circumstances, states should prioritize certain majority over certain minority refugees.
Original languageEnglish
Book seriesEthics and Global Politics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to) 79-92
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2020

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