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World Politics Review logo

RSC Director Professor Matthew Gibney has a new article in World Politics Review that asks the question ‘has the world learned the lessons of the 2015 refugee crisis?’

He looks back at the events of 2015, when thousands of people from Syria and other countries affected by conflict, came to Europe in search of asylum, with many dying en route in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

He writes “For many refugees, 2015 was a time of tragedy. But even amid populist backlashes to refugees and migrants, across Europe as well as in the United States, the attempt to create more humane refugee policies through efforts like the Global Compact raised hopes for a new direction in the future. Yet how much has really changed, especially in many Western countries where refugees have largely faded from the headlines?”

After considering political commitments and actions since the crisis, he concludes “Five years on from the events of 2015, the norms that hold together international refugee protection are in a perilous state. Wealthy countries are refusing to open their borders to more than a handful of refugees through resettlement schemes. Many Western governments have shown signs that they are willing to repel refugees even at the price of basic norms of decency and the minimal requirements of international law.”

Read the article here