Revisiting Refugee Protection in the 21st Century

The issue of refugee protection has long been a matter of critical concern. Yet, developments in recent years– such as: the hosting of millions of Syrians in the Middle East and the EU; the adoption of a temporary protection framework in Turkey; the Global Compact on Refugees; the humanitarianism vs development aid discourse; debates on rights vs assistance, care and maintenance; 1951 Convention/1967 Protocol signatory states vs non-signatory states; failings in responsibility-sharing–have given rise to the need to explore the theory and practice of refugee protection in greater depth.

This topic welcomes papers from a wide range of perspectives that reflect critically on refugee protection in the 21st century. For instance, but not exclusively:

  • What role has history played in the current conceptualisation of refugee protection? Can history enhance or hinder a progressive approach?
  • What does protection currently mean? Is it rights-based or assistance-based? Does such a distinction matter? Which rights should and could be core to protection? Does protection mean something different for different groups, at different stages of flight and in different spaces? How should such issues be addressed?
  • What is the role of IOs and NGOs in refugee protection and how have they transformed the understanding and application of protection?
  • Is it time to drop the term “refugee” for most people seeking safety? Would the adoption of a different term, such as “forced migrant”, “survival migrant” (Betts) or “fleer of necessity” (Aleinikoff & Zamore), be a truer reflection of current realties? What would be the implications for protection?
  • Is Turkish temporary protection or the Jordanian humanitarian-development model a template for protection for future large-scale flight?
  • Is a successful refugee protection regime reliant on responsibility-sharing by states? If so, how is responsibility-sharing and state accountability to be improved or achieved?
  • What are the moral and practical approaches to protracted refugee situations? What roles should be played by protection, integration or citizenship in this context?
  • What does research reveal about refugee agency? Should the voice of the refugee be included in an effective refugee protection regime? If so, how?

There is no restriction on methodology and, in line with the interdisciplinary nature of the SLSA, papers are welcome from any academic background.


Stevens, Dallal (