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A ‘Fair Share Agreement’ for refugee resettlements

A ‘Fair Share Agreement’ for refugee resettlements

Federal Labor MP Peter Khalil’s public lecture for the Alfred Deakin Institute outlined his proposal for an international refugee processing and resettlement agreement led by Australia.

“Our approach has failed – globally and domestically.”

Peter Khalil MP’s public lecture, made in the lead up to the United Nations Refugee Forum in Geneva later this month, was delivered to an audience of former refugees, advocates, activists, and community leaders.

According to the UNHCR Global Trends Report 2018, there are over 70 million displaced people globally as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations.

Resettlement for refugees is a mechanism for governments across the world to share responsibility for responding to increasing forced displacement crises, and one of the key objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees. However in 2018, only 81,300 places in 29 resettlement states were provided for an estimated 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement.

“While those on the right see in every refugee a potential terrorist, while those on the far-left see in every refugee a stricken moral angel. Stretched between the figure of the victim and the victimizer, the dignity of the refugee’s individuality and humanity has worn away. What is incontestable is that whether refugees are vilified by the far right or victimised by the far left, demonised or idealised, the polarised debate generates plenty of noise but no viable policies.”

Mr Peter Khalil, Labor MP for Wills

He outlined an ambitious proposal for Australia to lead the way in creating a safe, effective and enduring solution to the ‘refugee crisis’, a plan which he calls the ‘Fair Share Agreement’.

The Agreement would negotiate increased commitments to settling refugees in countries around the world, calculated on agreed upon metrics and data points including population, GDP per capita, geography, net migrations numbers, strength of resettlement services and relative historical refugee intake.

If countries were to opt-out of increasing their intake, they would instead be required to make proportional financial contributions to resettlement services.

His hope was that the nature of the agreement, sharing responsibility across nations, would “de-politicise the domestic decision making around refugee policy that plagues Australia and other nations.”

Additionally, this system would be contributing to regional and global stability and enabling associated countries to invest in their own security and prosperity.

The inaugural Global Refugee Forum, hosted by the United Nations Refugee Agency, will be held in Geneva in mid-December and views itself as an “opportunity to translate the principle of international responsibility-sharing into concrete action”.

“The UN forum represents a consensus that nations cannot continue to respond reactively or in isolation. The sheer scale demands nations work together … If nations work together we can make the world more stable and more secure by fairly and safely resettling hundreds of thousands more refugees each year.”

Read Peter Khalil MP’s full speech here.


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