Academic journal article Refuge

Resettlement's Renaissance: A Cautionary Advocacy

Academic journal article Refuge

Resettlement's Renaissance: A Cautionary Advocacy

Article excerpt


Arising out of UNHCR's Global Consultations was a renewed emphasis on the role of resettlement as a protection tool, durable solution, and burden-sharing mechanism. Resettlement is a useful instrument for all three reasons enumerated by UNHCR. Its malleability, however, also makes it prone to manipulation. It can be, and has been, used by states to obfuscate an unwillingness to meet their international legal obligations through a replacement of refugee protection by migrant selection. The argument is made here for why resettlement is a necessary component of refugee protection, particularly in the current period of securitization following the events of 11 September 2001. This is followed by a discussion of the dangers of the abusive use of resettlement to the overall refugee protection scheme. Models for more structured resettlement are examined with a view to understanding what reform is needed. In conclusion, recommendations for resettlement reform are provided.


Suite aux Consultations mondiales du HCR, on a assiste un regain d'emphase sur la reinstallation comme instrument de protection, comme solution durable et comme meanisme de partage international de la charge. La reinstallation est un instrument utile pour chacune des trois raisons enumerees par le HCR. Cependant, sa malleabilite la rend aussi susceptible a la manipulation. Elle peut-et cela a deja ete le cas-etre utilisee par certains etats pour dissimuler leur reticence a honorer leurs engagements legaux internationaux en substituant la selection des migrants a la protection des refugies. L'article met de l'avant des arguments demontrant pourquoi la reinstallation est un element essentiel pour la protection

des refugies, en particulier en la presente periode de "securisation "suivant les evenements du 11 septembre 2001. Une discussion s'ensuit sur les dangers de l'utilisation abusive de la reinstallation au detriment du cadre global de protection des refugies. Pour conclure, des modeles de reinstallation plus structuree sont examines dans le but de determiner les reformes requises.

A refugee, by definition, is an individual who has fled his or her homeland on the basis of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.(1) While the refugee definition applies equally to all who are found to meet it, the protection attached to refugee status can differ greatly. Protection ranges from new citizenship to crowded camps. The determining factor is where refugee status is claimed. The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) obliges signatory states to not refoule refugees who have arrived within the state's territory. (2) While signatory states grant refugee status and sometimes citizenship to the refugees who reach their shores, other states, often overwhelmed by refugees and determined to discourage further flows, have not signed the Refugee Convention.

In signatory states, refugee protection is conferred under domestic legislation once the state determines that an individual meets the refugee definition. In non-signatory states that lack similar refugee laws or status determination procedures, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) may grant mandate refugee status under the Statute of the United Nations High Comrnissioner for Refugees. (3) UNHCR then seeks "durable solutions" for refugees. Durable solutions comprise local integration in the receiving country, voluntary repatriation to one's country of origin where the situation has changed so as to make this a possibility, or resettlement to another country. (4) Where neither local integration nor repatriation is possible, resettlement is the only option.

Resettlement requires a third country to be willing to accept refugees into its territory. While signatory states to the Refugee Convention have promised not to refoule asylum seekers at their borders, they have not committed to accept refugees for resettlement. …

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