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There are 20 million refugees in the world today. Famine, drought, disease, war and gross violations of human rights are but few of the contributing factors to this horrifying situation, and there is little to suggest that this figure will decline in the forseeable future. This book exposes the gross inadequacies and failings of international refugee law, responsible for regulating and controlling refugee movement and status.;Taking the UK as a paradigm to construct a detailed overview of refugee law and policy in Western Europe, the author examines the significance of the appellation ""refugee"", the reduction of the refugee to a legal definition and the distinction between ""legal"" and ""de facto"" refugees. In doing so she demonstrates the extent to which refugee identities are repressed and alienated, both linguistically and legally. The book also examines the legal aspects of asylum seeking, the legal specifics of persecution, the concept of asylum and provides an assessment of the Asylum Act.