A new paradigm is needed in the 21st century for conceptualizing the right to asylum as a basic right of humanity, a right conceptualized by Arendt from her perspective as a mid-century stateless person as the right to have rights. This revised paradigm must include certain features which haven’t been well-articulated in the 20th century right to asylum, historically based in Europe as the right of non-refoulement. This paper argues that the right to asylum of those fleeing genocide is based on humanity’s central, weighty interests in not being killed or traumatized in the fleeing of murder or in the witnessing of death by starvation, disease, murder or animal attacks, as well as in being restored to a level of physical and psychological health required for the exercise of capacities for personhood, community and citizenship. My argument is that the combination of the centrality and weight of these interests combined with the relative powerlessness of those fleeing genocide outweigh the conflicting interests of developed countries to sustain their level of material wealth and to protect their culture and national ethos from those who wish to seek asylum in their countries.
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