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Protecting Migrants in Complex Crises

GCSP Policy Paper 2012/2 (English & German)

Release Date:

February 2012

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Key Points

  • During complex crises, migrants and displaced people do not always fit the categories that form the basis for legal, normative, and institutional responses. As a result it is not always clear what type and level of protection and assistance migrants are entitled to, nor who is responsible for delivering it; and as a consequence some migrants fall into “protection gaps”.
  • There is little political will to fill these gaps by developing new treaties, establishing a new international organization, or admitting significant numbers of vulnerable migrants to the developed world, and so alternative strategies are required.
  • One is to continue efforts to fill some of the most glaring gaps in the legal framework, for example pertaining to the protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs), and the most realistic method is to develop national and regional policies rather than a top-down binding treaty.
  • Another response is to develop better mechanisms for cooperation between existing intergovernmental and nongovernmental institutions.
  • Finally, capacity-building is required in countries that receive significant inflows of migrants and displaced persons during complex crises, including developing asylum systems, protecting refugees and IDPs, and maintaining basic services to a level sufficient to support migrants.
Also available in German:


Photo by: Guilherme Gaensly (1843-1928) - Fundação Patrimônio da Energia de São Paulo - Memorial do Imigrante