In This Review

The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime
The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime
By T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Leah Zamore
Stanford University Press, 2019, 184 pp

This short book takes a sobering look at today’s global refugee crisis and presents an ambitious agenda for action. A record 70 million refugees have fled conflicts in their homelands in recent decades. Most of these displaced people have crossed international borders and are now trapped in semipermanent camps or are seeking asylum in countries increasingly hostile to refugees. Aleinikoff and Zamore recognize a few positive developments, such as the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees, a UN agreement that calls for rich states and international financial institutions to provide more funding to those developing countries that predominantly shoulder the refugee burden. But they argue that the refugee regime is broken and propose sweeping reforms, starting with the expansion of refugee rights and protections. The keystone of their approach is the establishment of a global system of “responsibility sharing” that would be hammered out in a worldwide gathering of donor and host states, international organizations, and civil society groups. Aware of the political obstacles to such action, the authors argue that the first step would be to build consensus around the principles that must guide the global response to forced displacement—social justice, human solidarity, and proportional and fair contributions from outside powers.