Rethinking International Law’s Responses to Refugee Flows

portrait of Tendayi Achumie

Over the past year, the international refugee system has proven itself incapable of managing massive movements of human beings throughout the world, from Syria to Myanmar to Honduras, and of adequately protecting those in flight.  Most commentators agree that the system is either irretrievably broken, or on the precipice of breakdown.  Just this morning, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt expressed the latter sentiment in an interview by the BBC — part of a full day of reporting on “how mass migration is changing our world.”  Critiques of the system are commonplace; creative solutions in much shorter supply.

For those interested in reading a provocative and thoughtful proposal for reform, I recommend highly Prof. Tendayi Achiume’s article, Syria, Cost-sharing, and the Responsibility to Protect Refugees.  Achiume, pictured above left, offers a novel approach to the Responsibility to Protect, leveraging it as a toolkit to improve coordination and equitable cost-sharing around refugee flows.  The article itself is well worth a read, but for those looking for a shorter take, my review of her article was posted on Jotwell this morning.

A UN responsibility-to-protect report silent on the Security Council, Libya, the ICC?

Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svgApparently so. See Seton Hall Law Professor Kristen Boon’s Opinio Juris post on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s 5th report on responsibility to protect here.

Ban’s 17-page report, dated July 9, 2013, is here. Prior posts detailing the development and invocations of the doctrine of responsibility to protect – and thus placing in context the report’s omission of the 2011 U.N. Security Council referral of the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court – may be found here and here.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)