In the modern history of the idea of the right to asylum, the most significant statement dates back to 10 December 1948 and is contained in articles 13 and 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations:

Following this statement, in 1949 the High Commissioner for Refugees was created within the UN Secretary General’s office and negotiations began that would result into the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees. The Convention was born out of a clash between two ideologies: the rather extensive protection for exiles vs. the primacy of national sovereignty. In the negotiations between diplomats, who essentially represented the interests of states, the second rationale easily prevailed. According to the former, the right to asylum cannot be separated from the freedom of movement. It is what may be termed an ‘axiological right to asylum’: it derives from a value system that calls for a policy of open borders, and thus offers a basis for the protection sought by refugees and entails providing symbolic and material support to people who are recognized as refugees, as well as to the cause for which they are persecuted.