A new report, ‘Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era’, written by RSC Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter for the Migration Policy Institute, highlights the increasing mismatch between contemporary patterns of forced displacement and the legal and normative frameworks that define the existing global protection regime.
Today, more than 51 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced as refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced persons. According to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to be recognized legally as a refugee, an individual must be fleeing persecution on the basis of religion, race, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group, and must be outside the country of nationality. However, contemporary drivers of forced migration are complex and multifaceted, making protection based strictly on persecution increasingly problematic. Displacement drivers such as intrastate conflict, poor governance and political instability, environmental change and resource scarcity mean many forced migrants fall outside the recognized refugee and asylum regime.
The report argues for fundamental reform of the global protection system to meet the challenges of contemporary crises, including shifting the emphasis from the status of the displaced to their needs, and situating policies to address displacement within a wider and more coherent framework.
The report is the first in a series that draws from a recent meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration on the theme ‘Refitting the Global Protection System to Meet the Challenges of Modern Crises’.