Displaced Persons in the “Human Rights Revolution”

Gerard Daniel Cohen

in In War's Wake

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780195399684
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918423 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in International History

Displaced Persons in the “Human Rights Revolution”

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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The “last million” of European DPs left a strong imprint on human rights law. The enduring spectacle of refugees in occupied Germany placed the question of statelessness at the center of international attention. While the DP problem glaringly exposed the weakness of modern human rights, it also triggered the proclamation of a wide range of international protections and added enforceable substance to the otherwise non-binding “human rights revolution.” The 1951 Refugee Convention solidified in international law the postwar displaced persons experience in Europe.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; 1951 Geneva Convention; human rights; international law; refugee law; UN Declaration of human rights; René Cassin; International Refugee Organization

Chapter.  9093 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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