New Models of International Agreement for Refugee Protection

Susan F. Martin
Donald G. Herzberg Professor Emeritus in International Migration
Georgetown University

Credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

New Models of International Agreement for Refugee Protection

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In June 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that more than 65 million persons have fled conflict and persecution. While certainly large in its own right, the number actually underestimates displacement in today’s world. Many millions more are displaced each year and cumulatively from a much broader range of life-threatening humanitarian crises than are captured by UNHCR’s figures. An average of 26.4 million were displaced annually by acute natural hazards since 2008 and an unknown but sizable number displaced by gang and cartel violence, electoral and communal violence, nuclear and industrial accidents, and a range of other human-made disasters. This article argues for new frameworks to more effectively address the situation of the totality of displaced persons, citing two recent efforts — the Nansen Initiative and Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative — as examples of practical ways to move forward in this regard.

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