Publications

This paper examines xenophobia in the refugee context, exploring its definition and many complex aspects, including its roots, expressions, impacts and key challenges. The author outlines the lessons that successful efforts in combatting xenophobia offer those involved in research and advocacy, and recommends actions ranging from holding states and individual leaders accountable, to strategically using media campaigns and improving coordination at international, national and local levels. Read More
Understanding the impacts of hosting refugees is at the centre of crafting responses that minimize the costs and risks assumed by host countries and communities, maximize the protection available to refugees, and utilize resources efficiently and effectively. Since the early 1980s, there have been numerous efforts to measure the costs and benefits associated with hosting refugees. This paper summarizes some of this literature and highlights the lessons from these efforts. Read More
This paper explores the international refugee regime’s failure, despite significant international law and policy developed over the past 30 years, to meet the protection needs of refugee women and girls and to promote gender equality in policy and service provision. The authors propose ways to address structural and operational problems so that meaningful change can occur. Read More
Today, more than 60 percent of all refugees and 80 percent of all internally displaced persons are living in urban areas. This paper assesses the characteristics of the urban displacement crisis and identifies challenges and opportunities confronting cities, challenging myths associated with the “refugee burden” and offering preliminary recommendations for stepping up international, national and municipal cooperation. Read More
Many commentators have suggested that the displacement of people across international borders is caused by a lack of “political will,” and that refugee situations could be averted, mitigated or resolved if only such will existed. However, there has been little serious analysis as to what “political will” means and how to generate and sustain it in a refugee context. This paper is an initial attempt to address these neglected issues. Read More
The World Refugee Council (WRC) was created to build on the momentum generated by UN meetings in New York in September 2016, which saw the unanimous adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and to develop bold approaches to transform the current refugee system, focusing on the issues of accountability, responsibility sharing and governance, and finance. The WRC offers this interim report, and other discussion and research papers, to raise awareness of these issues and to stimulate ideas for reform that will transform lives. Read More
The refugee system lacks a formal accountability mechanism, which means there are virtually no costs to states for not complying with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Nor is there a meaningful enforcing mechanism to ensure that states will share responsibility in situations of mass influx. This paper proposes three potential mechanisms based on accountability models in other global governance systems that could operationalize the norm of responsibility sharing. Read More
Violent or oppressive regimes are responsible for much of the forced migration in the world today, and are often corrupt, stealing from their treasuries and placing the money and other assets offshore for the rulers' unlawful benefit. The jurisdictions where the assets are placed will frequently "freeze" or even seize them. Could these assets be used to help the refugees and internally displaced persons whose dislocation was caused by the regimes that stole them? This paper considers this question in the Canadian legal context. Read More