Statement by Ms. Erika Feller, Director, Department of International Protection, UNHCR, at the Fifty-fifth Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme
Geneva, 7 October 2004
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Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The aim of the presentation by the Director of the Department of International Protection is to share with this Committee UNHCR's reflections on the state of refugee protection, globally, over the preceding year. It is not to dwell on the specifics of protection, operation by operation, but rather to offer a comment on broad trends and directions. With this as the purpose, we would assess the overall picture, generally speaking, as mixed. I will be using the limited time available to reflect with you on what we see to have been the preoccupations of states, the positives and the negatives for UNHCR, and to what end, as a result, we have directed our own energies this past year.
First, to your preoccupations. It is clear that keeping the costs of asylum and the numbers of asylum-seekers both to manageable proportions has been a major concern for some. For others, it has been their disproportionate share of the burdens and responsibilities of asylum and the protracted nature of their refugee situations. For most host states, in different ways, the issue of national security, and the need to make sure that non citizens who make a claim to their protection do not represent a security threat, has been high on the agenda. Responding to abuse or misuse of the asylum option, containing irregular movement and the lucrative trade of people smuggling, and maintaining the civilian character of asylum, have been issues for states in different parts of the world. On the more positive side, we have also witnessed a much greater interest on the part of a number of governments in working cooperatively to improve the quality and accessibility of protection where it is first sought, as well as to promote solutions as a shared responsibility. In this sense, the Agenda for Protection is a road map taken seriously and the Convention Plus concept has been embraced with hope and enthusiasm.
For its part, UNHCR has welcomed the greater openness of states towards building protection capacities and finding solutions through strengthened multilateral cooperation. This has been reflected not only in intensified cooperation between states, but also in the valuable support, material and otherwise, given to UNHCR to underpin its protection activities and staff capacity in the field. With cautious optimism, we have witnessed global refugee numbers dropping, occasioned not least by the dramatic increase in numbers going home. We have also been particularly pleased to see the number of states parties to important protection instruments increasing. There are now 145 states who are party to one or both of the international refugee instruments; 57 states who have acceded to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and 29 states to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. This is all very positive.
But there are also important concerns that we have, to which I now turn.
This year's Note on International Protection reviews the state of refugee protection over the past 12 months, measured against the goals and objectives we have collectively set for ourselves through the Agenda for Protection, endorsed by this Committee in 2002. As the Note makes clear, in protection terms the declining numbers are not so much the issue. The spirals of violence and human rights violations which produce refugees have continued to take their toll. The murder some weeks ago of over 150 refugees in Gatumba Camp, Burundi, is a chilling reminder. Darfur is but the latest example of serious disrespect for human life and international norms, leading to a major refugee flow. The Note reports that physical insecurity is a perennial, even worsening, threat for both camp-based and urban populations. For many refugees, protracted stay in unsatisfactory conditions is the norm. Efforts to assist and protect the victims have been seriously compromised by the direct targeting of humanitarian personnel through violence and assassination. Military attacks on camps, their misuse by combatants for rest and recreation in disrespect of their civilian character, and separation and forced recruitment of children are serious problems. Rape of women, arbitrary detention, refoulement and closure of borders, non-admission at the frontier or into asylum procedures, are all still part of the downside of protection.
My recent mission to Chad was certainly a reminder of the singular importance of burden sharing, in the face of the challenges to protection due to operational realities on the ground. Protection in operations is the focus of the Note on International Protection. The Note draws attention to, among others, the problem of how to manage the interface between refugees and host populations. In Chad I spent six days with our field colleagues in the different sub-offices visiting the various refugee camps and settlements, as well as the local communities who are their host. Among the many problems, a compelling and urgent one is the impact of the influx of over 200,000 Sudanese refugees on the local population and the protection problems - for both communities - which result. Refugees are camped in a fragile desert environment with very limited resources to sustain its own struggling population, much less the refugees. The competition for water, firewood and grazing possibilities for livestock, after a disappointing rainy season, has taken its toll on the open-handed generosity which first greeted the traumatised Darfurians. It is now starting, ominously, to manifest itself in serious protection incidents, including rape and violence against women. The environment is a problem in many other ways as well. Its harshness and remoteness and the absence of infrastructure is a logistics nightmare, an assistance problem, a major cost factor and an incentive for rapid staff turnover. So we have very dedicated protection staff, but in insufficient numbers to address the myriad of protection problems, including camp location issues, physical security problems, child and women protection issues and protection management concerns, to name a few.
Brutality, disregard of basic rights, economic marginalisation, discrimination, exclusion or conflict are features of everyday life in quite a number of countries. People continue to suffer. They need, and understandably seek, protection. The 1951 Convention was drafted in recognition of this fact, with the purpose of identifying the basic rights jeopardised by persecution and conferring an entitlement to protection on persons made otherwise exceptionally vulnerable through being temporarily outside the normal framework of state protection. This is the continuing contribution of the Convention. We were heartened by the reaffirmation of States Parties, at the Ministerial Conference held in Geneva in December 2001, of their commitment to this instrument and to its strengthened implementation. Hence we are dismayed to hear voices of dissent trying again to plant the seeds of doubt. It is difficult to imagine that the right not to be sent back to be killed can be contested by any right-thinking person. Similarly, non discrimination, the right to be heard and access to fair and due process of law are tenets on which civilised societies are solidly built. The Convention gave voice and force to rights for refugees. It brought into play some basic standards of human decency and made them relevant to conflict or the pursuit of national interests.
It is currently in vogue to talk of a new refugee and asylum reality. But war and persecution are old, even ancient, realities. So too are the refugees they produce. The problems of the individual refugee are perennial. Confronting intolerance and fear, being a foreigner in someone else's land, searching for a safe haven and waiting for solutions, these are recurring features of the refugee experience. The Refugee Problem and the problems of refugees are two different things.
UNHCR is alarmed by the failure of the asylum debate in certain countries over recent times to properly reflect refugee realities on the ground - to properly take into account the problems of refugees, rather than only the refugee problem as such. In Chad, the human dimension of the refugee situation was palpably visible. Traumatised people, children-headed households, camps dangerously close to the border, unregistered refugees in a precarious situation at the border and on the perimeters of established camps, the sustainability of longer term stay anywhere in the affected region seriously compromised by the harshest of environments - these are all part of this human dimension. One focus of our advocacy efforts is to remind that refugees are people, not statistics and global trends. Their protection is a humanitarian necessity, not a policy choice.
We appreciate the concerns of states about sorting out the mix of persons who present themselves at frontiers as asylum-seekers. We are committed to making this process more effective and to joining states in multilateral efforts to address the problem of irregular migration, even before it manifests itself. However, it is singularly important here, from our point of view, that there be recognition of the fact that refugees are not classical migrants. I endeavoured to explain to the Standing Committee in June why, in our view, there are considerable dangers in mixing up refugees and migrants as if they are one and the same. Although we certainly see the interlinkages, refugee protection involves a special set of rights and reciprocal duties on states that is in danger of being eroded when the debate on asylum is seen solely, or largely, in terms of illegal or legal migration. We need to guard against over-robust approaches to keep migrants from borders, without differentiating between the reasons which propel people to seek to come across. Migration concerns are skewing the approach to refugee protection, we fear.
We are also particularly concerned with how, together with global migration trends, international crime and terrorism have impacted the preparedness of states to receive refugees. When borders close to asylum-seekers fleeing persecution or conflict, the reasons given are various: the people have been brought by smugglers; other countries are more responsible to receive them; the conflict is not a recognised one; security of the state, however defined, takes precedence. Whatever the reason, the right to seek asylum, the right to flee for your life, the right to protect the security and dignity of yourself and your family, often take second place.
Bona fide efforts, multilateral or national, to root out international crime and effectively combat terrorism are supported by us. Our concern is, in the process to have recognised as one important point of departure, that genuine refugees are themselves escaping persecution and violence, including terrorist acts. They are not the perpetrators of such acts. A second starting point for us is that the international refugee instruments should not be characterized as providing a safe haven for terrorists. On the contrary, they provide for their exclusion from refugee protection. They do not shield from either criminal prosecution or expulsion. The tendency in some countries towards criminalisation of asylum-seekers and refugees is very worrying. While there may be persons in both categories associated with serious crime, this is no justification for the majority being damned by association with the few. Equating asylum with a safe haven for terrorists is not only legally wrong and unsupported by the facts, but it serves to vilify refugees in the public mind and promotes the singling out of persons of particular races or religions for discrimination and hate-based harassment.
This brings me to where UNHCR has directed its energies this year. International protection of refugees is UNHCR's core function. UNHCR has an obligation to promote a more tolerant and supportive framework for refugee protection. I would be remiss if I did not mention, up front here, our disquiet about certain recent challenges, on the part of a few states, to the exercise by UNHCR of its mandate. We have been told in effect, by these states, that we should stick to making protection and solutions a reality in other parts of the world only. In response, we have drawn attention to the fact that there are no geographic limitations to our mandate. Article 35 of the 1951 Convention calls on states to cooperate with UNHCR in the exercise of its functions, and to facilitate its duty of supervising the implementation of the Convention. As this phraseology makes clear, the call is on two counts: to cooperate across the spectrum of UNHCR's statutory responsibilities, and in addition to help us monitor the Convention.
The responsibilities of the Office are listed in some detail in paragraph 8 of its Statute. The focus is on enhancing the legal framework for refugee protection, promoting measures which improve the situation of refugees and reduce the numbers requiring protection, and working with states to achieve admission, the grant of asylum on acceptable terms and the realisation of lasting solutions. This Committee has continually encouraged UNHCR to concentrate, in particular, on promoting physical security and basic standards of treatment, notably of the particularly vulnerable, as well as to put in place more efficient processes to receive refugees, determine their status and identify their needs.
Our role is to inform, advise and operationally assist. Providing information and guidelines on major asylum situations is one protection function states, together with our other constituents (in particular NGOs) expect of us. This activity flows directly from our treaty-based Article 35 duty. It also logically flows that we must endeavour to encourage government policies and decision making in positive ways, towards appropriate solutions. When asked, as we frequently are, for advice on how to apply the refugee definition appropriately, particularly against the situation in a given country of origin, it is our responsibility, under our mandate, to provide this advice - neutrally, impartially and based on publicly available information from reliable sources, as well as from first-hand interviews with asylum-seekers. This should not, in our understanding, be challenged as an interference in internal affairs.
Our role is overall about ensuring that refugees have access to an effective protection framework. "Effective protection" is not a term of art, although rather unfortunately it is becoming one. It is brought into play most regularly in the context of decisions about which state should be responsible for what asylum-seeker. It is increasingly being seen, at least in this context, as a means to limit a state's responsibilities towards particular asylum-seekers or refugees because the persons in question have found, or could have been expected to find, protection elsewhere. As we see it, there is a danger in allowing the debate about who is responsible for an asylum-seeker to determine the meaning of this term "effective protection". We fear the result will be consensus around the lowest common denominator definition. We doubt whether this will really solve the problems at issue for states. Setting the barrier too low is in fact an incentive to movement and, with it, to a lucrative smuggling trade.
For UNHCR, the concept is rather clear. Effective protection is quality protection. In our experience it should only be regarded as sufficient if, at a minimum, the following is reliably guaranteed:
- there is no likelihood of persecution, of refoulement or of torture or other cruel and degrading treatment;
- there is no other real risk to the life of the person[s] concerned;
- there is a genuine prospect of an accessible durable solution in or from the asylum country, within a reasonable timeframe;
- pending a durable solution, stay is permitted under conditions which protect against arbitrary expulsion and deprivation of liberty and which provide for adequate and dignified means of subsistence;
- the unity and integrity of the family is ensured; and
- the specific protection needs of the affected persons, including those deriving from age and gender, are able to be identified and respected.
If I have gone into this in a little detail, it is because the notion of effective protection has taken on such a pivotal role in the policy processes of many asylum states and because, as a result, many of you have asked UNHCR to make its position clear. As a general rule, we do not have a difficulty with returning asylum-seekers to countries where they have found protection. The 1951 Convention is about ensuring protection, and to a certain standard, rather than about ensuring protection in a particular country of application. The crux is the quality of protection available. This is a judgement informed in the first instance by the rights set out in the Convention and its Protocol, together as appropriate with other relevant human rights instruments. As the purpose of the Convention is to provide its protection to refugees, reference to the rights it sets out to ensure this protection is, for us, the right place to start.
On a related point, there is a rather complicated and broadening dialogue at the moment, in which UNHCR is a part, over proposals revolving around interception and return to countries en route. UNHCR's position on interception is, I believe, clear, and is well reflected in Conclusion No. 97 of this Committee, adopted in 2003. We do not believe the creation of "safe zones" or "protection areas" is the answer to irregular migration. The key ambition should rather be a better managed system, based on multilateral cooperation and the equitable sharing of responsibilities. Unilateral responses that may well just shift burdens, but fail to address underlying problems should be avoided. We advocate cooperative arrangements that facilitate protection delivery, even while they meet states' concerns about the effective management of borders. The Convention Plus approach offers a vehicle here to take thinking further forward. In it all, for us, the effectiveness, or the quality, of the protection and its availability is pivotal, just as is the maintenance of domestic asylum systems for those who require them.
Let me now turn to the work over the past year of DIP, in furtherance of UNHCR's protection mandate. Strong support for the Surge protection capacity project has again enabled us to respond rapidly to specific protection needs through the deployment of 61 protection officers, almost half of them women. The majority is still being deployed to African operations, in particular to Chad and Sudan, but also to the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. We are developing specific rosters for staff with gender, registration or statelessness expertise. We have also tapped the talent revealed through the Surge and other schemes, such as the Refugee Status Determination Project and the ICMC Resettlement Project, selecting a number of deployees for UNHCR's External Roster and appointment on fully mainstreamed protection posts.
The Department of International Protection launched in 2003 a series of Protection Management Workshops - a cooperative process involving country offices and DIP, to improve the delivery of protection. The primary aim of the workshops is to assist Senior Managers in the field to reinforce the protection management framework in their respective offices by, inter alia:
- Creating a common understanding among UNHCR Senior Managers on the concept of "Protection Management", and the role of protection considerations in guiding UNHCR's operations at the field level.
- Assisting UNHCR Senior Managers to address issues of fraud and malfeasance in relation to refugee status determination and resettlement activities, as well as to more effectively prevent and respond to incidents of sexual and gender based violence and exploitation.
- Facilitating UNHCR's implementation of the Agenda for Protection, particularly its use as a tool for planning and evaluating activities at the country level.
So far five regional workshops (Bishkek, Dakar, Kampala, New Delhi, and Pretoria). have brought together UNHCR Representatives, Senior Protection Officers and Community Services Officers to address accountability and management issues related to the protection function. Additional events in other regions are under organisation.
Also, to enhance the protection capacity of staff and UNHCR partners, DIP has offered a greater variety of protection learning opportunities, in the form of the Protection Learning Programme, two thematic learning programmes on armed conflict and migration, the RSD and Resettlement Learning Programme, as well as the Protection Learning Programme for UNHCR Partners. The quality of the programmes has also been enhanced, not least due to the in-house partnership between DIP and DOS in developing and delivering them. We are also improving the quality of the induction training on protection that new staff and partners receive, in part by developing a CD-ROM on basic protection concepts. We hope that this induction will be made mandatory for all UNHCR staff. It could also be on offer to UNHCR partners, thereby promoting a common vision of protection.
The Agenda for Protection encourages UNHCR to engage in intensified training and in-house capacity building regarding refugee status determination (RSD) and to commit more resources to improve the quality and consistency globally of its mandate RSD processes. Here Refworld is key. DIP has also increased its operational support to the field on RSD-related matters, even while it is assessing the results of the field testing of the Procedural Standards for RSD Under UNHCR's Mandate, which were issued at the end of last year and distributed for initial implementation among Field Offices. We are also undertaking a concerted analysis of the role of RSD in UNHCR's global protection strategies, with a view to seeing where we should be strengthening our efforts, as well as where RSD might not be the correct response.
At last year's ExCom and again at the Standing Committee meeting in June, I informed you of a joint DIP/DOS initiative, supported by the Ford Foundation, on operationalising protection, particularly at the refugee camp level. I am pleased to report that the Operational Protection Reference Guide for Refugees in Camp Settings will be available in mid-December. It has been informed by a variety of field visits, by consultations with refugees and also with NGO partners. It distils good practices in implementing existing policies and guidelines. The Guide will be distributed to UNHCR offices and those of NGO implementing partners in all camp-hosting countries.
I am pleased to report that during this the 50th anniversary year of the 1954 Convention on Stateless Persons, the number of States Parties, while still too small, has increased to 57 thanks to the recent ratifications by Uruguay and the Czech Republic. I should also like to congratulate Liberia and Lesotho on their accession to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. In follow up to the statelessness survey completed pursuant to the Agenda for Protection, the Department has turned particular attention under this portfolio to protracted statelessness situations. In this context, there have been some positive developments. To mention one, in Sri Lanka, the number of stateless persons radically decreased with the enactment of the 2003 Act relating to the Grant of Citizenship to persons of Indian Origin. This has enabled tens of thousands to obtain citizenship in the North and East of Sri Lanka. The panel on statelessness has provided us with important lessons learned from such positive examples, to the benefit of other longstanding situations.
During this year, UNHCR is also commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, which will culminate in a meeting in Mexico City on 15-16 November, co-hosted by UNHCR and the Government of Mexico. UNHCR wishes the Mexico City event to be more than just a commemoration. The preparatory process, involving meetings of State experts and civil society representatives in Costa Rica, Brazil and Colombia, has already generated a solid measure of consensus on main challenges confronting refugee protection in Latin America, with a particular focus on potential humanitarian responses to the effects of the situation in Colombia on neighbouring and other countries. The conclusions and recommendations deriving from the preparatory process, to be reflected in a Declaration and Plan of Action, hold out real promise of keeping alive the "spirit of Cartagena" in a region with a long and inspiring asylum tradition.
The third objective of the Agenda for Protection is more effective cooperation to strengthen protection capacities in refugee-receiving countries. UNHCR has been pursuing this on a number of fronts, including through several specific projects aimed at reinforcing protection capacity in selected countries. These projects are built around common identification of gaps and needs, and around dialogue on how to address them among a wide range of stakeholders, including donor governments, host governments, other UN and international partners, NGOs and refugees themselves. Using a common framework of analysis, each project seeks to identify where gaps in protection exist and, through the consultative process, prioritize and strategize on the most appropriate measures to fill them. The involvement of donor states and host governments from the outset reflects a shared commitment to improve the protection situation of refugees and the communities within which they live, and will help to ensure that the financial and political support necessary to do so is secured.
Also in the spirit of partnership, UNHCR continued to reach out to parliamentarians, in growing cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The Office assisted the African Parliamentary Union (APU), for example, to organize a regional parliamentary conference on refugees and durable solutions in Africa. The conference, hosted by Benin's National Assembly in Cotonou last June, produced, as a first, a regional parliamentary action plan for Africa. The UNHCR-IPU Handbook for Parliamentarians on Refugee Law is now available in 30 languages, the latest including Bosnian, Chinese, Indonesian and Turkish. Given the Handbook's success, UNHCR and IPU have agreed to work on a new parliamentary handbook in 2005, focusing on statelessness and citizenship issues, which we hope to be able to launch formally at the IPU's Statutory Assembly, to be held in Manila next April.
Creative partnerships for protection are also the force behind our engagement in judicial capacity building together with the International Association of Refugee Law Judges (IARLJ). A recent example of activities in this regard was the refugee law training and live interaction with judges in Georgia which we organized with the direct participation of the International Association's chairman, himself a well respected refugee law adjudicator from New Zealand.
Clearly, high on the list of most important protection partners for UNHCR is the NGO community. NGOs are partners in advocacy, partners in the implementation of assistance and, increasingly, partners in the delivery of protection. In order to strengthen our relationship, particularly in protection delivery, DIP organised a retreat with a number of our key operational partners in December last year. The retreat set in train a number of activities, all consecrated to better partnership through promoting more complementarity as between our respective activities, closer coordination and mutually reinforcing programmes. The recent launch of the Protection Learning Programme for NGO partners is one such activity. The Directive sent out by the High Commissioner last week, requesting all offices to ensure that appropriate coordination mechanisms are in place to facilitate cooperation with NGOs, is another example of how the partnership notion increasingly forms the basis for UNHCR's approach to the doing of protection at all levels of our operations. We have been pleased to see that NGOs also take this role seriously, including in some instances through the appointment of specifically designated protection officers. Our interest here is to ensure that UNHCR and NGO protection staff work towards common objectives and that the authoritative character of UNHCR's protection advocacy is not unintentionally undermined.
As called for in the Agenda for Protection, mainstreaming resettlement has also been vigorously pursued over the past year. This has resulted in a more comprehensive planning and implementation of resettlement activities. Global management and planning of resettlement has also improved this year with the early preparation, in May 2004, of the Projected Resettlement Needs for 2005. Linked to this was the holding of the first "Indications Conference" in June which resulted in the development of a Global Resettlement Planning Table, matching resettlement needs with resettlement country targets or quotas. The usefulness of this approach depends on early detailed input by resettlement countries. In this regard, I would note that contributions by many countries remain outstanding.
In addition to resettling refugees on an individual basis from around 100 countries in the world, groups of refugees in Africa (e.g. Liberians in West Africa, Somalis in East and Horn of Africa) and the Middle East (e.g. Iranian Kurds in Jordan/Iraq, Ethiopians in Yemen) have been, or are being, processed for resettlement using the "group methodology", which we have pioneered with the support of resettlement countries. I am happy to report that the group methodology has proven to be effective in offering a durable solution to more refugees, while at the same time expediting their processing. Complementing this, UNHCR is also testing accelerated and simplified procedures related to the submission of individual cases in a number of field locations.
DIP continues to focus on the prevention of fraud and malfeasance in the resettlement process. A UNHCR Resettlement Anti-Fraud Plan of Action was presented at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement in June this year. We are convinced that the new Multilateral Framework of Understandings on Resettlement developed by the Convention Plus Core Group on the Strategic Use of Resettlement within the Convention Plus initiative will also assist us to realize our shared goal of using resettlement in a strategic and enhanced manner. Its application will be considered by the Steering Committee of the Preparatory Project for the elaboration of the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Somali refugees, which held its first meeting last week.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Australia, Norway and Sweden for having increased their resettlement quotas this year, and I would also like to thank a number of countries (Australia, Canada, Norway, UK, USA) for providing UNHCR with special contributions for resettlement which have enabled us to fund additional staff, as well as the deployment scheme and training activities. At the same time, however, ongoing resettlement operations are still experiencing delays. These are linked to a slow response on the part of some countries to proposals for group resettlement, as well as to delays in the resettlement process itself, notably the occasionally long lead time between selection and actual departure. The strict application by some resettlement countries of selection criteria that limit the availability of resettlement as a durable solution also remains a source of difficulty.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, a word on this year's three protection Conclusions. After a somewhat arduous process, not without its difficulties, the Executive Committee was able to agree, preserving its longstanding tradition of adoption by consensus. The Conclusion on burden and responsibility sharing in mass influx situations makes a good beginning in reaffirming certain core principles which should apply in mass influx situations. This should, we hope, make a useful contribution to any further articulation of burden-sharing concepts in the Convention Plus context. The second Conclusion, concerning legal safety issues in the context of voluntary repatriation, breaks some new ground, in particular as regards property rights of returning refugees. Perhaps it is useful to reaffirm here that this Conclusion is not about creating obstacles to return. It is, though, an effort to ensure that repatriation is the sustainable solution it is meant to be. As to the General Conclusion on International Protection, we are particularly pleased to see the action-orientation of the paragraphs on statelessness. Allow me to commend our rapporteur, Ms. Laura Joyce of South Africa, for a job very well done.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, let me summarize the main messages of this presentation in the following manner. A singular problem for refugee protection over the past year has been mischaracterisation of the refugee problem, which has led, at least in our understanding, to ill conceived responses which work to deny protection more than they facilitate it. The refugee problem is not a migration problem. It is not one inseparable from criminality or terrorism. Spontaneous arrivals may have valid claims. The Convention is not an irrelevant tool and the protection framework is not unhelpful to good management of asylum and refugee dilemmas. Effective protection is quality protection and is key to this better management. So too is burden and responsibility-sharing, albeit not as a precondition for extending protection and finding solutions, of which all three have their place. We recommend resolute leadership at this difficult time, to de-dramatise and de-politicise the essentially humanitarian challenge of protecting refugees.