Making the Global Compacts Work for All? A Matter of Information in the Right Language

Millions of people are being forced from their homes by conflict, violence, disaster, or poverty. From those fleeing the war in Syria or climate change-induced droughts, to those stranded in inadequate conditions in Europe, these vulnerable individuals vary widely in terms of nationalities, languages, dialects, educational levels, income, social status, and access to technology. What they share is the overwhelming need for information in a language they understand in order to make decisions about their next steps, remain safe, and access available assistance.

A New Algorithm to Increase Refugee Employment Through Smarter Placement

Economic development requires people to move to where the jobs are, from lagging to leading regions within a country or across borders. This leads to optimal utilization of their human capital and to important gains for them and the economy. The movement of migrants to economic opportunities and to networks that help them integrate the labor market, leads to geographical concentrations of migrant populations. Notably the flows of high-skilled migrants are very concentrated, as they tend to go to few countries worldwide, and to a few selected areas within the country. Agglomeration effects and knowledge spillovers increase the productivity of high-skilled workers who work in the same area or collaborate with other high-skilled workers.

Some Thoughts on the GCR (and the GCM)

It is, I think, a happy state of affairs that the New York Declaration did not include a GCR. It has given UNHCR and interested parties the opportunity to take a broader view of what ails the international refugee regime and what is needed to fix it. This will now be worked out in the “Programme of Action” to be included in the GCR. The Programme of Action is nominally a detailed plan for ensuring success of the CRRF. But already in the Zero Draft of the GCR it is more than that, and it is here that future development of the GCR will, and needs to, take place.

Zero Draft of the Global Compact on Refugees Released: Discussion

UNHCR has released the "Zero Draft" of the Global Compact on Refugees.  I would like to start a thread for commenting on the draft.  What's in the draft of significance; what's left out?  What amendments would you propose? What is the likelihood of state adoption?  Let's get a conversation going.

The EU Court of Justice Refuses to Address Refugee Exclusion

Last year the Court of Justice of the European Union issued two judgments on the Syrian refugee crisis. Both cases concerned Europe’s externalization of migration policy – i.e. the legal and practical measures taken to enforce refugee exclusion outside or at the borders of the territories of EU member states. These policies have been labeled as the politics of non-entrée by Hathaway & Gammeltoft-Hansen. In the judgments, the Court decided that it was not competent to rule on the cases because it had no jurisdiction. As I have argued more extensively in an article published open access in the Journal of Refugee Studies, the result of this is that law is not only an instrument for excluding people from European territory. The exclusion now runs through law itself. Although European fundamental human rights law is still formally neutral, the exclusion of non-Europeans is becoming a core element of European law.

The Experts Initiative on the Global Compact on Refugees: Conclusions and Explanatory Note

Last month the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School convened a meeting of experts on refugee law and policy to deliberate on, and to make concrete recommendations for, the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). You can find the Conclusions and an Explanatory Note here.

Responsibility-Sharing and Mobility: Two Ideas for the Second Consultation on the Global Compact on Refugees

UNHCR's consultations on the Global Compact on Refugees are well underway. I am sharing below a copy of a statement I submitted for the October 17 Thematic Discussion, which included a panel discussion on "how can we support States to receive large numbers of refugees in a safe and dignified manner." I would invite and welcome (1) comments on the proposals for a Global Action Platform for Displaced Persons and enhanced mobility for refugees, and (2) other submissions, ideas, etc for the Consultations and Compact. UNHCR appears genuinely interested in innovative strategies and ideas, and it behooves the academic and policy communities to respond with realistic proposals that materially advance reform of the international refugee regime while remaining within the scope of the GCR.

Should Refugee Camps be “Smart Cities”?

Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President for Government and Development at Mastercard, has published an interesting short piece on the World Economic Forum websiteShe joins the current new thinking supporting refugee self-reliance that benefits both refugees and hosting communities.  In Nathan’s words: “A new model must create communities in which the forcibly displaced can become self-sufficient faster and can contribute to the economic growth of their host communities.”

The Legal Battle Over Refugee Admissions

The State Department has issued guidance regarding the admission of refugees following the Supreme Court's decision in the Trump Executive Order cases. The guidance includes the narrow interpretation of "bona fide relationship with a person" adopted for the visa ban provision (fiancés are in; grandparents are out).

What does the Supreme Court’s decision on the Trump Executive Order mean for refugees?

 The commentary on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Trump Executive Orders has largely focused on the part of the Orders that imposed the travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries.  Less noticed has been the paragraphs at the end of the decision that discuss the Orders’ suspension of the refugee program.