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A New Protection Orientation and Framework for Refugees and Other Forced Migrants

School of Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, McLaughlin College, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
Received: 7 October 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 14 December 2017
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The unprecedented current “refugee crisis,” with its 65 million plus uprooted people, demands a new protection orientation and framework for refugees and other forced migrants that are focused on the “root causes” of refugeehood, non-international protracted armed conflict or civil war. It is argued that four essential reforms are required to the international refugee protection system to respond to the “root causes” of refugees in the world today. The first calls for broadening the definition of who is a refugee to include “war refugees” as found in the 1984 Cartagena Declaration and the 1969 Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention. The 1984 Cartagena Declaration is preferred because it has the most progressive and broadest legal definition of who is a refugee and, therefore, should be emulated by all regions and the UNHCR internationally. The second reform would be the adoption of the Cartagena Declaration decennial consultation process and its comprehensive Plan of Action by the UNHCR on a global basis. This process has proven to be a success in Latin America and ought to be adopted internationally to develop and to realize the progressive advancement of international protection for all persons who are fleeing persecution and armed conflict. The third major reform is to develop the capacity of the UN to be able to operate in the midst of an armed conflict situation in order to broker a ceasefire and, then, negotiate a peace agreement, particularly, in those situations where massed forced displacement has taken place or potentially could take place. The fourth reform calls for the UN to expand the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine to incorporate massed forced displacement, in addition to, war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and, genocide. This further implies that mass forced displacement ought to be criminalized and made a serious international crime, not simply in the international humanitarian law and international criminal law sense of forced deportation, transfers, and expulsions, by opposing military forces, but in situations of armed conflict when people flee of their own volition in order to save their lives. These four reforms do not require a reformulation or reconceptualization of the international refugee protection system but a reform of a number of key elements that would simultaneously address the “root causes” of refugees and, especially, mass forced displacement that is due principally to non-international protracted armed conflict or seemingly endless civil wars. View Full-Text
Keywords: refugees; mass forced displacement; war refugees; non-international protracted armed conflict; responsibility to protect (R2P) refugees; mass forced displacement; war refugees; non-international protracted armed conflict; responsibility to protect (R2P)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Simeon, J.C. A New Protection Orientation and Framework for Refugees and Other Forced Migrants. Laws 2017, 6, 30.

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