Refugee Responsibility Sharing or Responsibility Dumping?
40 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 10, 2021
A silver lining of recent migration crises is increased reliance on responsibility sharing arrangements in international actor responses. This new experience allows for evidence-based analysis of such arrangements. We distinguish between progressive arrangements—ones that shift responsibilities to more affluent, institutionally competent, and safer countries—and regressive arrangements that do the opposite and in fact constitute responsibility dumping.
Focusing on examples from the United Nations, United States and the European Union, we classify different responsibility sharing arrangements as progressive or regressive based on four parameters: hosting commitments, monetary or equivalent contributions, multilateralism and legally binding instruments. The analysis suggests that first safe country arrangements are presumptively regressive, while arrangements that include hosting or material commitments are presumptively progressive. The EU model is a particularly progressive model that ought to spread. We also highlight the importance of assessing refugee policy solutions with a view to broader, systemic implications for host countries, and not just against an individual-focused legal threshold.
Keywords: International refugee law, immigration law, responsibility sharing, policy diffusion
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