Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at UNHCR, has recently given two speeches that merit attention. Türk's March 3 keynote address to the Fourth Humanitarian Congress in Vienna includes important language criticizing "externalization" policies that undercut international responsibility-sharing.
While Trump’s Executive Order is widely viewed -including by myself – as an abject measure and a violation of international and human rights law, including children’s rights and refugee rights, I cannot help but question how much better Europe is faring in dealing with its borders, its migration policy, and its international protection obligations.
It is a reality of human behavior that people usually relate better to stories than to facts and reasoned analysis. Stories have the power to motivate, compel, and persuade – to create a movement or call people to action. Social media has become a space for the sharing of stories, and indeed much of the online conversation about refugees is through this medium. Which stories people choose to share should be of interest to anyone concerned about the plight of refugees; as these choices elucidate points of interest, allude to how perceptions might be shaped, and open an opportunity to influence hearts and minds. This Forum post will consider the refugee stories that are shared on twitter. Analyzing common narratives from the popular stories, this post hopes to give a flavor of the kind of content that is capturing the public imagination, and explain why anyone working to improve the lives of refugees should care about these stories.
There will be much to report about Donald Trump’s Executive Orders relating to immigration enforcement and refugees over the coming weeks and months. Receiving most attention at the moment are the literally dozens of court cases challenging the ban on the admission of persons from seven predominantly Muslim countries and suspension of the U.S. refugee program. Yesterday, the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a decision by a Seattle, Washington district court granting a nationwide Temporary Restraining Order that suspended enforcement of these aspects of one of the Executive Orders.