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30 Int'l J. Refugee L. 611 (2018)
The Unfinished Work of the Global Compact on Refugees

handle is hein.journals/intjrl30 and id is 623 raw text is: 

International Journal of Refugee Law, 2018, Vol 30, No 4,611-617
doi: 10.1093/ijrl/eey0S7

      The Unfinished Work of the Global

                  Compact on Refugees

                        T Alexander Aleinikoff*

As a result of a mass flow of Syrian refugees and African migrants across the
Mediterranean, which peaked in 2015, European States wanted something done at the
international level. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly responded by con-
vening a 'high-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and
migrants' the following year.
   In ways not fully anticipated by those who pressed for the high-level meeting, the
General Assembly's New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants addressed issues
considerably broader than the Mediterranean question. It affirmed fundamental inter-
national and human rights norms relating to the movement of people across borders
(while recognizing the sovereign right of States to control their borders), noted the
positive contribution migrants make to the social and economic development of host
States, pledged to combat xenophobia and discrimination, and committed to address-
ing the root causes of mass migration. The Global Compact on Refugees (Refugee
Compact) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Migration
Compact) were envisioned to embody and promote these and other commitments.
   The co-facilitators of the Migration Compact have stated that its 23 (23!) objectives
are intended to establish an 'ecosystem' for international cooperation on migration - a
purpose decidedly more capacious than the circumstances that gave rise to the New
York Declaration. The Refugee Compact makes no real effort to address the large flow
of refugees arriving in the global North; there is no commitment to permit those who
arrive to apply for asylum, no rules established for where interdicted and rescued forced
migrants should be taken, and nothing to prevent the walls going (or staying) up in
   Instead, the Refugee Compact pursues two overarching goals. First, it affirms a
comprehensive, multi-stakeholder approach to refugee situations. The big idea here is
that development actors have a vital role to play in responding to refugee emergencies
and protracted situations. Secondly, the Refugee Compact urges greater assistance to
front-line countries hosting refugees. In provision after provision, 'States and relevant
stakeholders' are asked to contribute 'resources and expertise' to host States - to their

    University Professor, and Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New
    School, New York.

© The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
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