In this contribution, the authors examine the "internal protection alternative" in refugee law, one of the most important limits to refugee status under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. One what basis can a state refuse refugee status to persons who have a protection alternative within their country of origin? How do other parts of interantional human rights law inform the IPA criteria? The authors argue that there is a narrow scope for application of the IPA concept where the consequences of return for the individual are balanced against the host state's interest in managing its limited resource base for international protection.