asylum

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asylum

(əsī`ləm), extension of hospitality and protection to a fugitive and the place where such protection is offered. The use of temples and churches for this purpose in ancient and medieval times was known as sanctuarysanctuary,
sacred place, especially the most sacred part of a sacred place. In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, a sanctuary served as asylum, a place of refuge for persons fleeing from violence or from the penalties of the law.
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. In modern international law, the granting of asylum to refugees from other lands is the right of a state by virtue of its territorial sovereignty. A fugitive, however, has no right to demand asylum from the state to which he flees; that state makes its own determination in each case. Between most nations there are treaties of extraditionextradition
, delivery of a person, suspected or convicted of a crime, by the state where he has taken refuge to the state that asserts jurisdiction over him. Its purpose is to prevent criminals who flee a country from escaping punishment.
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 providing for the mutual surrender of fugitives from justice, and there is a tendency to confine the granting of asylum to political refugees and victims of apparent discrimination and intolerance. Asylum has sometimes been granted more broadly; some Third World women have successfully sought asylum for themselves or their daughters in the United States or other Western nations to avoid forced genital mutilation, a traditional practice in a number of societies (see circumcisioncircumcision
, operation to remove the foreskin covering the glans of the penis. It dates back to prehistoric times and was widespread throughout the Middle East as a religious rite before it was introduced among the Hebrews.
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). A situation causing many international disputes is the use of embassies and legations, by virtue of their status of extraterritorialityextraterritoriality
or exterritoriality,
privilege of immunity from local law enforcement enjoyed by certain aliens. Although physically present upon the territory of a foreign nation, those aliens possessing extraterritoriality are considered by customary
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, as places of refuge in times of disorder and conflict. Most countries do not offer this type of asylum except when it seems necessary for the preservation of human life.

asylum

A building or group of buildings that serves as a refuge for the mentally ill.

asylum

1. International law refuge afforded to a person whose extradition is sought by a foreign government
2. Obsolescent an institution for the shelter, treatment, or confinement of individuals, esp a mental hospital (formerly termed lunatic asylum)