Professor Pene Mathew, Dean and Head of Griffith Law School, addressed the United Nations in Geneva during a panel discussion on Past Examples of Responsibility Sharing, 1st Thematic Discussion, UNHRC Global Compact on Refugees on July 10, 2017.
“The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants really is a landmark document. I congratulate the Member States on being able to able to adopt it and look forward to seeing what will eventuate with the Global Compact on Refugees,” she said.
Discussing past examples of responsibility sharing, Professor Mathew said that like the Kosovo humanitarian evacuation, the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees(CPA) was an example where actors in a conflict have somehow shared responsibility for the refugee flow.
“This gives pause for thought. Reflecting on the Syrian conflict, should the international community’s inability to take action also drive a sense of responsibility for looking after refugees?”
Commenting on people leaving countries to seek asylum, she said “If we wish to avoid dangerous means of departure, part of the solution is to offer more lawful pathways for migration. Migration is not just a problem to be solved, it’s part of the solution.”
Additional development assistance was also essential. States needed to share responsibility based on capacity, she said.
Professor Mathew’s address was part of a series of panel discussions on the development of the Global Compact on Refugees held in Geneva, Switzerland, over five days in July 2017.