The Global Refugee Crisis: Towards a Just Response

B.S. Chimni
Content Type
Working Paper
Institute for Development and Peace
More than two-thirds (68 %) of the 24 million refugees worldwide come from just five countries: Syria (6.3 mil- lion), Afghanistan (2.6 million), South Sudan (2.4 million), Myanmar (1.2 million) and Somalia (almost 1 million) (UNHCR 2018b, p. 3). At least in three of these, there has been overt Western intervention and in four cases there is a failed developmental state. In keeping out asylum seek- ers and refugees from their territories, Western nations also forget the migration of millions of people in the 19th century from Europe to the rest of the world. Furthermore, the limits of contemporary movement of forced migrants to the West cannot be discussed without talking about slave trade, the movement of indentured labour, and the occupation of territories declared terra nullius. Contem- porary economic and political policies of Western nations and the institutions they control also need to be factored in. These historical episodes lend perspective to current numbers with refugees constituting less than 0.3 % of the world’s population (Amnesty International 2016, p. 6). Moreover, according to United Nations High Commis- sioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 85 % of the world’s refu- gees under its mandate are hosted in the Global South (UNHCR 2018b, p. 2). Against this backdrop, the author seeks to contest the justifications offered by Western com- mentators for the non-entrée or restrictive asylum regime established in the Global North. Instead, he proposes a multipronged strategy consisting of short, medium, and long-term measures to address the global refugee crisis.
United Nations, Refugee Crisis, Asylum, Humanitarian Crisis
Political Geography
Global Focus