The latest edition of the State of the World's Refugees has been released by the UN and summarizes global dynamics from 2000 to 2006. The report implicates climate change as one of many factors contributing to the global burden of refugees - a questionable assertion, but one that is likely popular in some circles. However, in framing the challenges that lie ahead, the report focuses on eight factors:
- First, states must be persuaded to reconsider their restrictive asylum policies.
- Second, it must be ensured that the core principles of international refugee law, particularly that of non-refoulement, are not eroded.
- Third, the security of refugees, particularly women and children, and humanitarian workers, must be enhanced.
- Fourth, problems relating to protracted situations and the ‘warehousing’ of refugees must be resolved.
- Fifth, host states must be prevented from undermining the principle of voluntary repatriation in the absence of responsibility-sharing by the international community.
- Sixth, the problem of smuggling and trafficking of asylum seekers must be addressed.
- Seventh, the root causes of refugee flows must be given more attention than they receive at present.
- Eighth, UNHCR must respond to numerous supervisory, accountability and partnership challenges, besides clearly defining its role vis-à-vis internally displaced people.