Mobilizing Political Will for Refugee Protection and Solutions

This paper begins by defining the notion of political will and then outlines the gap between the protection principles formally espoused by states and the ways in which states treat refugees and asylum seekers in practice. The paper then identifies the key ways in which political will can be mobilized on behalf of refugee protection and solutions, focusing on the humanitarian interests of political leaders, the obligations that states have assumed in relation to refugees, the incentives that can be used to encourage compliance with refugee protection principles and the pressure that can be placed on states by other stakeholders. Following an examination of interstate cooperation refugee issues and the role of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in promoting refugee and solutions, the paper concludes with a call for political will to be mobilized in a way that is evidence-based, geographically differentiated, inclusive of other actors and sensitive to the situation of other people who are on the move and whose rights are also at risk.