The Responsibility to Solve: The International Community and Protracted Refugee Situations

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Today, more than half of the world's nearly twelve million refugees are in protracted refugee situations and the vast majority are not on the road to a durable solution. We contend that the international community has a legal and moral duty to seek solutions to long-term refugeehood. We call this duty the "Responsibility to Solve" (R2S) and present three arguments for its recognition. The first flows from the human harms imposed on those left in the limbo of ref ugee status for an extended period of time; the second focuses on principles that underlie the international refugee regime, of the centrality of solutions and the necessity of burden-sharing, and the third derives from peafic commitments of members of the UN General Assemby and signatories to the Refugee Convention to cooperate with UNHCR in seeking solutions. Recognition of R2S would provide a rhetoric and a moral fulcrum for renewed attention to solutions, in turn leading to enhanced funding for returns and local integration as well as more resettlement opportunities. It would also remind us that the principle of non-refoulement - while at the core of refugee protection - is not the ultimate goal of the international refugee regime. The responsibility of the international community to refugees is not simply to support camps or other arrangements that provide assistance to refugees; it is to end the condition of being a refugee.


Link is to freely available working paper version at the University of Notre Dame