The U.N. Refugee Convention Is Under Pressure—and Showing Its Age

Refugees and migrants arrive on an inflatable vessel from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Dec. 3, 2015 (AP photo by Santi Palacios).
Refugees and migrants arrive on an inflatable vessel from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Dec. 3, 2015 (AP photo by Santi Palacios).
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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Refugee Convention, one of the signal moral advances in human history. Negotiated in the wake of World War II and initially limited to Europe, the treaty established the first binding legal protections for individuals forced to flee their countries. These rights and responsibilities, which were made universal in the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1967, remain a cornerstone of the global humanitarian regime. The convention is, however, showing its age. Many governments are failing to fulfil their legal obligations under it, and the convention does little to […]

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