The search for more effective and equitable methods to share responsibility for refugees among states and other actors has been a key focus of global discussions on forced migration in recent years. Against the backdrop of large movements of refugees and migrants from Africa to Europe in 2015 and 2016, as well as the adoption of the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (New York Declaration) and the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), a variety of proposals and initiatives have been developed to innovate responses to refugees based on the concept and application of shared responsibility.
This paper examines the merits of these recent initiatives and proposals, and seeks to analyze their similarities, differences, strengths and limitations. It calls for a clearer understanding of the meaning and application of responsibility sharing for the protection of refugees, along with further examination as to how the international refugee regime interacts with other areas of international governance. It also highlights some of the opportunities associated with incorporating refugees within broader development or human mobility initiatives, but also reiterates the need to preserve the principal humanitarian purpose
of refugee protection and the provision of durable solutions through effective responsibility sharing.
This paper suggests, as one proposal for reform, the transition of refugee financing and refugee resettlement away from voluntary, ad hoc contributions and toward more concrete legal and financial commitments, while accounting for the differing capacities and resources of states. These changes, although difficult to implement in practice, could be approached by bringing together the actors who are most capable, most responsible and most vulnerable, within a mini-multilateral framework.
SOURCE: Tristan Harley. “Innovations in Responsibility Sharing for Refugees” World Refugee Council Research, May 2019.
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