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The future of refugee protection: What new approaches to meet a growing crisis?

Refugee debate imageThe UN says there are almost 15 million refugees in the world, the highest number since 1993. Continued instability in the Middle East and North Africa suggests this number will grow. The international regime governing the reception and treatment of refugees was put in place at the end of World War II. Does it remain ‘fit for purpose’?

The chaotic and tragic images of Syrians fleeing across the Aegean are repeated (though less reported on) on the other side of the world, as Rohingya refugees from Myanmar flee across the Indian Ocean. In both cases, and many more, states eschew orderly reception and resettlement plans for the refugees, and show little solidarity with first asylum countries. How can states be convinced to co-operate to provide the protection all agree is necessary, rather than compete to impose ever-harsher barriers to entry?

There will be important UN conferences in 2016 where states will recommit to humanitarian principles and to international burden sharing. New ideas and innovative policy proposals are urgently needed to reinvigorate a truly global  commitment to refugee protection.

Photo: Kosovo Refugees. United Nations Photo/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (Some rights reserved)

Refugee politics from the local to the international

The Trump administration is affecting refugee politics from small towns to the world stage, and activists have a long road ahead.


A crisis that shouldn’t be

Polling in over two dozen countries shows much greater public support for refugees than commonly reported. EspañolFrançais


To advance more humane refugee policies, we must reframe the debate

Polls measure public opinion on refugees, but studying deeper thinking and issue framing are the keys to understanding people’s willingness to act. Español


Self-interest argument for refugee admission backfires in Japan

Japan fails to protect refugees—but arguing it should do so because its aging society needs new immigrants hasn’t worked. 日本語


Accounting for human rights: lessons from Syria

If refugee advocates don’t shine a light on budgets, it will be nearly impossible to ensure sustained support for refugee protection efforts. Español


Migrants are driving innovative campaigns for female refugees in Germany

Activists are using a multi-van in Germany to help female refugees cope with violence and harassment. Deutsch


Broader view shows path to refugee reform

The refugee regime extends well beyond the 1951 Convention, and a broader contextual view is necessary in debates about change. Español


Crisis in Europe exposes failing refugee protection regime

The refugee protection regime works if it remains limited to those genuinely fleeing persecution -- though the Syrian crisis proves again that ways must also be found to protect those at risk of generalized violence.


Without adequate reflection, new refugee solutions risk failing

We have to stop pushing new refugee solutions without assessing where we have succeeded and failed so far. Français


Statelessness as forced displacement

When we think of forced displacement, we don’t usually think about the stateless. But we should


Is a reformed Refugee Convention a solution?

The Refugee Convention was designed for an earlier era, but there seems little will to update its provisions to meet today’s reality. Türkçe


Burden-sharing: Utopian dream or principled pragmatism?

Global burden-sharing schemes won’t solve the refugee crisis – experience shows tailored, regional arrangements grounded in principled pragmatism are the best way forward. Français


Refugee protection is politics

The best refugee legislation in the world will have little effect when those seeking protection are characterized as security risks. Français


Syria continues to bleed while the Middle East closes its doors

Host states impose greater restrictions on refugees’ rights at least partly because Western states aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities. العربية


Protection and pragmatism: the EU-Turkey refugee deal in historical perspective

The EU-Turkey refugee deal is just the latest effort of EU members trying to keep refugees out.

The struggle for sans-papiers human rights

Protecting the rights of refugees and migrants requires a response based in hospitality not hostility.

Political realities challenge refugee reform

Does anyone really have the authority to bind states to accept their fair share of global refugee burdens and responsibilities? Français, Español


The duty to rescue: a new paradigm for refugee protection

The refugee protection regime needs reform, but this requires new international approaches that go beyond the Refugee Convention. FrançaisEspañol


Putting on the pressure: domestic constituencies and refugee policy

As long as states do not face pressure from their own constituencies, domestic refugee policy is unlikely to change. FrançaisEspañol


Rediscovering a winning formula for refugee protection

State cooperation can only solve the refugee crisis if states actually want to cooperate. And evidence shows that they don’t. Français, Español


Improve refugee protection by managing it better

The disorder and tragedy inherent in large-scale, spontaneous refugee flows is not inevitable—what we need is a managed protection regime. Français, Español


Refugee reform must become a global project

Many different states are implicated in the wars and human rights violations that provoke refugee crises, which means they must also be part of the solution.Español, Français.


A global solution to a global refugee crisis

Extreme inequality directly undermines human rights, and is a cause for shame for the human rights community. Français, Español, العربية


All articles in date order:

From Damascus to The Hague: a refugee's journey

A refugee’s journey through physical and political borders, and the difficulties and risks along the perilous route.

Refugee politics from the local to the international

The Trump administration is affecting refugee politics from small towns to the world stage, and activists have a long road ahead. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection.

New approach to refugee protection must prioritize self-sufficiency

A new approach to refugee protection needs to draw on the principles of self-sufficiency to prevent aid dependency and let refugees work so that they contribute to host communities.

A crisis that shouldn’t be

Polling in over two dozen countries shows much greater public support for refugees than commonly reported. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection.  EspañolFrançais

Una crisis que no debería existir

Las encuestas realizadas en más de dos docenas de países muestran mucho mayor apoyo público para los refugiados del que se suele informar. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre el futuro de la protección de los refugiados. EnglishFrançais

Une crise qui n’a pas lieu d’être

Le sondage réalisé dans plus d’une vingtaine de pays montre un soutien public en faveur des réfugiés bien supérieur à ce qui est généralement reporté. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur le futur de la protection des réfugiés. EnglishEspañol 

To advance more humane refugee policies, we must reframe the debate

Polls measure public opinion on refugees, but studying deeper thinking and issue framing are the keys to understanding people’s willingness to act. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection. Español

Para promover políticas más humanas sobre los refugiados, tenemos que replantear el debate

Las encuestas miden la opinión pública sobre los refugiados, pero analizar las reflexiones más profundas y el encuadre de los temas son las claves para entender la disposición a actuar. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre el futuro de la protección de los refugiados. English

日本における難民保護:経済的利益目当てであってはならない

日本の難民の保護は不十分である。しかし、高齢化社会には移民の受け入れが必要であるという議論は、難民保護には有効でない。English

Self-interest argument for refugee admission backfires in Japan

Japan fails to protect refugees—but arguing it should do so because its aging society needs new immigrants hasn’t worked. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection. 日本語

Accounting for human rights: lessons from Syria

If refugee advocates don’t shine a light on budgets, it will be nearly impossible to ensure sustained support for refugee protection efforts. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection. Español

La contabilidad de los derechos humanos: lecciones de Siria

Si los defensores de los refugiados no dan pistas acerca de los presupuestos, será casi imposible asegurar un apoyo sostenido. Una contribución al debate de OpenGlobalRights sobre el futuro de la protección de los refugiados. English

Aktivistinnen bringen Unterstützung für Flüchtlingsfrauen in Deutschland ins Rollen

In Deutschland benutzen Aktivistinnen einen Multi-van, um geflüchtete Frauen und Mädchen zu unterstützen und vor sexueller Gewalt zu schützen. Ein Beitrag zur Diskussion zur Zukunft des Schutzes Geflüchteter auf openGlobalRights. English

Migrants are driving innovative campaigns for female refugees in Germany

Activists are using a multi-van in Germany to help female refugees cope with violence and harassment. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection. Deutsch

Una visión más amplia indica el camino hacia la reforma del régimen de refugiados

El régimen de refugiados se extiende mucho más allá de la Convención de 1951, y es necesario adoptar una visión de contexto más amplia en los debates sobre cómo cambiarlo. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre el futuro de la protección de los refugiados. English

Broader view shows path to refugee reform

The refugee regime extends well beyond the 1951 Convention, and a broader contextual view is necessary in debates about change. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection. Español

Crisis in Europe exposes failing refugee protection regime

The refugee protection regime works if it remains limited to those genuinely fleeing persecution — though the Syrian crisis proves again that ways must also be found to protect those at risk of generalized violence. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection.

Sans une réflexion appropriée, les nouvelles solutions pour les réfugiés risquent d’échouer

Nous devons arrêter de prôner de nouvelles solutions pour les réfugiés sans évaluer les situations dans lesquelles nous avons réussi ou échoué jusqu’à présent. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur le futur de la protection des réfugiés. English

Without adequate reflection, new refugee solutions risk failing

We have to stop pushing new refugee solutions without assessing where we have succeeded and failed so far. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection. Français

Statelessness as forced displacement

When we think of forced displacement, we don’t usually think about the stateless. But we should. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection.

Is a reformed Refugee Convention a solution?

The Refugee Convention was designed for an earlier era, but there seems little will to update its provisions to meet today’s reality. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on refugee protection. Türkçe

Yenilenmiş bir Mülteci Sözleşmesi çözüm sağlar mı?

Mülteci Sözleşmesi daha önceki bir dönem için tasarlanmıştı ve bu şartları günün koşullarına göre uyarlamairadesi şu anda yok gibi görünüyor. English

Burden-sharing: Utopian dream or principled pragmatism?

Global burden-sharing schemes won’t solve the refugee crisis – experience shows tailored, regional arrangements grounded in principled pragmatism are the best way forward. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ debate on refugee protection. Français

Le partage de la charge : rêve utopique ou pragmatisme fondé sur des principes ?

Les systèmes mondiaux de partage de la charge ne vont pas résoudre la crise des réfugiés : l’expérience montre que les accords régionaux adaptés à une situation donnée, empreints de pragmatisme, et fondés sur des principes, constituent la meilleure voie à suivre. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur la protection des réfugiés. English

La protection des réfugiés est une question politique

La meilleure législation au monde sur les réfugiés n’aura que peu d’effet quand ceux qui cherchent à être protégés sont considérés comme un risque pour la sécurité. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur le futur de la protection des réfugiés. English

Refugee protection is politics

The best refugee legislation in the world will have little effect when those seeking protection are characterized as security risks. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection. Français

يستمر نزيف الدم فى سوريا بينما يغلق العالم العربي أبوابه فى وجهها

تقوم الدول المضيفة للاجئين بفرض قيود أكبرعلى حقوق اللاجئين،على الأقل كنتيجة جزئية لعدم قيام الدول الغربية بمسؤوليتها.  مساهمة من الجدل المطروح على موقع أوبن جلوبال رايتس الإلكترونى حول مستقبل حماية اللاجئين. English

Syria continues to bleed while the Middle East closes its doors

Host states impose greater restrictions on refugees’ rights at least partly because Western states aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection. العربية

Protection and pragmatism: the EU-Turkey refugee deal in historical perspective

The EU-Turkey refugee deal is just the latest effort of EU members trying to keep refugees out. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection.

The struggle for sans-papiers human rights

Protecting the rights of refugees and migrants requires a response based in hospitality not hostility. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection.

Las realidades políticas son un desafío para la reforma de la protección de refugiados

¿Realmente tiene alguien la autoridad para obligar a los Estados a aceptar la parte que les corresponde de las cargas y responsabilidades mundiales con respecto a los refugiados? Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre los refugiados. English, Français

Les réalités politiques posent un défi aux réformes sur les réfugiés

Quelqu’un a-t-il une véritable autorité pour contraindre les États d’accepter leur juste part de charges et de responsabilités concernant les réfugiés dans le monde ? Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur les réfugiés. English, Español

Political realities challenge refugee reform

Does anyone really have the authority to bind states to accept their fair share of global refugee burdens and responsibilities? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on refugees. Français, Español

The duty to rescue: a new paradigm for refugee protection

The refugee protection regime needs reform, but this requires new international approaches that go beyond the Refugee Convention.  A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on refugees. FrançaisEspañol

El deber de rescatar: un nuevo paradigma para la protección de los refugiados

El régimen de protección de refugiados necesita una reforma, pero esto requiere nuevos enfoques internacionales que vayan más allá de la Convención sobre los Refugiados. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre los refugiados. English, Français

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