Movement of PeopleSymposium

Refugees at Our Backyard

Current US Refugee Policy and the Flight of Central Americans to the United States

Since the 1970s, the southern border of the United States – spanning 1989 miles of international border between the United States and Mexico – has been the site of significant migration from Central America. Over one million Central American refugees crossed into the United States from the late 1970s to the early 1990s to escape civil wars in Guatemala and El Salvador, while thousands more went to Canada, Mexico, Costa …

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Movement of PeopleSymposium

It is all about being happy in search of security

A pledge for equal treatment of refugees and economic migrants

Migration recently has been discussed in a very negative context. As Europe and the US moved towards right, we have to rethink human mobility and push for informed debates. Terminology used to describe migration and refugees is old, out dated and problematic. They were largely designed for the Cold War era and for a special category of people. The 1951 Geneva Convention had set the ground rules for treating refugees. …

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Klima- und umweltbedingte FluchtSymposium

Real Risk or Overrated? Environmental Migration and Violent Conflict

“Climate change threatens to cause the largest refugee crisis in human history” – headlines like this are commonplace in today’s media landscape. It is a short way from such assumptions to the conclusion that “migrant floods” will contribute to violent conflict in various locations. However, there is little systematic research on the interrelation between global environmental change and migration as well as between environmental migration and violent conflict. Neither is …

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Klima- und umweltbedingte FluchtSymposium

Conceivable legal responses to environmental displacement

Natural disasters have always in human history triggered population movements. Mobility is indeed a traditional coping mechanism for populations confronted with changes in their living environment. Scientific evidence and projections of the impacts of climate change on the environment however suggest that the phenomenon will increase in the coming years and decades, affecting primarily developing countries and vulnerable populations. As mentioned by Walter Kälin, whereas internally-displaced people remain under the …

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