On the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is calling on the United States and European countries to step up to the plate to tackle the unprecedented levels of global displacement. The IRC’s latest report illustrates how conflict, COVID-19 and the increasing impact of climate change are fueling unprecedented levels of global displacement - met with increasingly hostile conditions for refugees and displaced persons who are seeking safe haven worldwide.

U.S. and European humanitarian leadership is sorely needed as some of the wealthiest countries in the world retreat from their obligations under international law to protect vulnerable populations fleeing conflict and persecution. This decline has had a direct and deleterious impact on refugees, leaving them in precarious circumstances, undermining the willingness of low and middle-income countries to host and integrate them, and contributing as a result to instability that can only lead to further displacement. The report highlights that:

David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee said:

“Now is the time to defend the life-saving tenets and obligations of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Conflict, COVID and climate change have driven humanitarian need and global displacement to the highest levels since the Second World War. More humanitarian leadership, not less, is what is sorely needed to meet this global challenge head-on. We call on all countries, including the US and EU where the Convention was born, to both uphold and interpret the Refugee Convention for the modern day. This effort should be fourfold. First, to jointly commit to a significant boost to resettlement efforts with ambitious targets for 2022. Second, the commitment to protection must extend beyond resettlement and include fair and humane asylum systems, with barriers to accessing safety swiftly removed. Third, donor countries, including the US and EU, should support more flexible, multi-year financing to support refugee-hosting states and partners. Finally, the US-EU partnership, leadership and convening power must be activated to incentivize allies to boost their own commitments to refugee protection - sparing the lives and livelihoods of millions in the process.”