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Will the Global Compact on Refugees Address the Gap in International Refugee Law Concerning Burden Sharing?

Published on June 20, 2018        Author: 


There are 65.6 million forcibly displaced persons including over 22.5 million refugees in the world. According to UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 10 states are hosting more than 60% of the world’s refugees while 10 states are providing 93% of UNHCR’s budget and three states are accounting for 90% of refugee resettlement. The number of refugees is growing and a more equitable sharing of the burden for hosting and supporting refugees is desperately needed. Despite this need international law, in particular, the principal instrument for the protection of refugees worldwide, the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the 1951 Convention) does not explicitly deal with burden sharing. The 1951 Convention does not provide clear pre-determined criteria for predictable sharing of burdens among states or introduce any mechanism to ensure adequate compensation to the states hosting or supporting more refugees than others. This creates, a well-documented gap in international refugee law concerning burden sharing. To address this gap and better respond to the changing and growing needs of people on the move, UNGA unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (New York Declaration) on 19 September 2016. In the New York Declaration, 193 states committed to a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees. The New York Declaration foresaw adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).  UNHCR is tasked to prepare this Compact, which consists of two components: the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the programme of action. The latest draft of the GCR namely, the Third Draft was published on 4 June 2018. The final text of the Compact will be adopted by the UNGA later this year. This post reviews the Third Draft with a view to establishing whether the Global Compact on Refugees will fill the gap in the existing global refugee protection regime relating to burden sharing.  Read the rest of this entry…

Filed under: EJIL Analysis
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