Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era (MPI)

This Report makes the case of the complexity of the drivers favoring displacements as refugees, making protection based on a strict definition of persecution increasingly problematic and challenging to implement.

This report details the increasing mismatch between the legal and normative frameworks that defines the existing protection regime and the contemporary patterns of forced displacement:


According to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to be recognized legally as a refugee, an individual must be fleeing persecution on the basis of religion, race, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group, and must be outside the country of nationality. A definition which does not reflect the complex and multilayered nature of today’s drivers of displacement.


The report further analyzes contemporary drivers and emerging trends of population displacement,. i.e. a combination of intrastate conflict, poor governance and political instability, environmental change, and resource scarcity.


Consequently, making protection based on a strict definition of persecution is increasingly problematic and challenging to implement, and many forced migrants now fall outside the recognized refugee and asylum apparatus.


The author then outlines and assesses key areas where the international protection system is under the most pressure, and finally examines the key implications of these trends for policymakers and the international community, outlining some possible policy directions for reform.


Author: Roger Zetter


Publication Date:
Wed 08 Apr 2015
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