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This volume examines the ways in which human rights and humanitarian law have influenced the development of the refugee definition as interpreted in the US and Canada. Analysis focuses on how these two significant jurisdictions have addressed refugee protection in a modern context. The problem areas discussed include: persecution during periods of upheaval, resistance to the State in times of civil war, opposition to coercive family planning programmes, and the diverse issues raised by gender-based asylum claims. The view is advanced that the grounds of refugee protection are not fixed but parallel discriminatory social and political attitudes towards defined groups. The study also advocates that human rights and humanitarian law principles should continue to shape the evolution of refugee jurisprudence so as to achieve more effectively the Convention's goals.