The Meaningful Participation of Refugees in Decision-Making Processes: Questions of Law and Policy

Oxford University Press (OUP)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Refugee Law
Full metadata record
Abstract There has been a significant push in recent years for greater and more meaningful participation of refugees in decision-making processes that affect them. This push is identifiable in a range of international instruments, including the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees, as well as numerous initiatives developed by refugees, civil society organizations, and international organizations at the local, national, and international level. This article considers the emergent drive for refugee participation from the perspective of both law and policy. It examines the evolution of the international legal framework, analysing the extent to which international refugee and human rights law mandate the inclusion of refugees in decisions that affect them. The article also explores the notion of participation in detail, teasing out several key challenges for consideration in the development of inclusive participatory processes. Drawing this material together, it explores two options that could further promote the moral, political, and ultimately legal authority for meaningfully including refugees in the design and implementation of policy. These options are indicators that establish baselines and track refugee participation in decision-making processes, and a new, non-binding United Nations declaration that clearly details the right of refugees to have some authority in decision-making processes that affect them.
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