A Global Solution to a Global Refugee Crisis

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Table of Contents: I. The Refugee Convention’s commitment to self-sufficiency. – II. The ground reality of dependency. – III. Diagnosing the problem. – IV. The challenge. – V. A five-point plan. – V.1. Reform must address the circumstances of all States, not just the powerful few. – V.2. Plan for, rather than simply react to, refugee movements. – V.3. Embrace common but differentiated State responsibility. – V.4. Shift away from national, and towards international, administration of refugee protection. – V.5. Access to protection, and to a solution.

Abstract: The author argues that the time is right to change the way that refugee law is implemented. Specifically, Hathaway advocates a shift towards a managed and collectivized approach to the implementation of refugee protection obligations. He contends that while the obligations under the Convention remain sound, the mechanisms for implementing those obligations are flawed in ways that too often lead States to act against their own values and interests, and which produce needless suffering amongst refugees. The author concludes with a five-point plan to revitalize the Refugee Convention.

Keywords: Refugee Convention – asylum – immigration – common but differentiated responsibility – UNHCR.

European Papers, Vol. 1, 2016, No 1, pp. 93-99
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/7

* James E. and Sarah A. Degan Professor of Law, University of Michigan, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of International Refugee Law, University of Amsterdam, jch@umich.edu.


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