PhD project: The Impact of the Exclusion Clause in International Refugee Law in Relation to Terrorism

PhD candidate
Hevi Dawody Nylén, contact

Project description
The project focuses on the interpretation of Article 1F of the 1950 Refugee Convention, known as the ‘exclusion clause’, in relation to acts of terrorism. The exclusion clause means that those who meet the prima facie definition of refugees must be denied protection under the Refugee Convention if they have been involved in crimes, such as crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, serious non-political crimes or acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. Thus, the consequences of the exclusion clause are that one who becomes excluded cannot benefit from the protection provided by the Refugee Convention.

Even though ‘terrorism’ is not explicitly referred in the exclusion clause, the objectives to recognize act of terrorism as an integral part of the exclusion clause is asserted clearly by the international community. It is therefore possible to exclude asylum seekers from international refugee protection due to acts of terrorism despite the lack of a universal definition of the term ‘terrorism’.

Therefore, the central question this project examines is how to understand the exclusion clause in relation to terrorism in accordance with international law. The most relevant international legal fields studied within the scope of this project are International Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law and International rules of Treaty Interpretation.

Articles and papers relating to the PhD project
• “Uteslutning från asyl”, in Klamberg, Mark, Lagföring i Sverige av internationella brott , 2020, Jure.
• “International Crimes and Exclusion from Asylum in a Swedish Context”, in Scandinavian Studies in Law volume 66.
• ”Högsta domstolen lämnar vägledning om verkställighetshinder vid utvisning på grund av brott”, in Juridiskt Tidskrift, 2019-20 nr 4, s. 895.

Presentations relating to the PhD project
• 2019 Critical Research in International Law (CRIL) conference in Oxford, Oxford University, the Institute of European and Comparative Law – conference paper “The Exclusion Clause of International Refugee Law – In light of the Right to have Rights & the Friend and Enemy Theory”, 10-12 June 2019.

• International Law Day in Lund, presentation of the PhD project, 11 November 2019.


• Mark Klamberg, Professor in International Law
• Simon Andersson, Associate Professor in Procedural Law