Asylum: A Moral Dilemma

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995 - Political Science - 176 pages


Fueled by the explosion of the world's population, the quest for asylum is one of the most pressing problems of our age. Refugee receiving nations--located frequently, but by no means exclusively, in the Western world--have to respond to masses of humanity searching for new livable homes. Human compassion for these refugees can be found everywhere, but so can xenophobia and the desire to preserve one's nation, economic well being, and cultural integrity. The clash between these impulses represents one of the great dilemmas of our time and is the subject of Plaut's study. In exploring it, he provides a far-ranging inquiry into the human condition. The book presents political, ethnic, philosophical, religious, and sociological arguments, and deals with some of the most troublesome and heartbreaking conflicts in the news.

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Contents

Questions Without Answers
3
Definitions
11
Religion Natural Law and Hospitality
17
A Look at History
35
Some Ethical Questions
53
Through the Lens of Sociobiology
65
Community and Individual
73
Contended Rights To Leave Return Remain
81
The North American Experience
119
The Sanctuary Movement
129
A Final Look
139
Egyptian and Hittite Treaties
145
Human RightsMajor Documents
148
Refugee Documents
152
Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 31 January 1967
154
Bibliography
157

Refugees in Africa
93
Four Asian Lands
103
Glimpses of Europe and Central America
111
Index
166
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Page 31 - Men being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent.
Page 84 - Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible...
Page 148 - That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot by any compact S09 ^ to deprive or divest their posterity ; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Page 150 - Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law: Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms Rights and Freedoms in Canada I.
Page 148 - A declaration of rights made by the representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free convention ; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government.
Page 150 - The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Page 16 - Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights...

About the author (1995)

W. GUNTHER PLAUT is a senior scholar at the Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto. Born in Germany, where he received his doctor of laws, he fled Hitler's Reich for the United States where he became a rabbi, serving in Chicago, St. Paul, and since 1961 in Toronto. Plaut is the author of 20 books, including Torah: A Modern Commentary, of which he is the editor and principal author. He is a research fellow at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University.

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