Asylum policies in Europe and Australia eroding global refugee rights - report

by Pietro Lombardi | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 19 September 2016 23:01 GMT

In a 2011 file photo, children walk together amongst makeshift homes, or "tukuls", in the outskirts of Dagahaley settlement at Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Poorer countries are following the lead of Europe and Australia in tightening asylum policies

LONDON, Sept 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Poorer countries are following the lead of Europe and Australia in tightening asylum policies, eroding protections for refugees on a global scale, according to a report on Tuesday.

The British-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) think tank said measures by richer neighbours to limit refugee numbers have fostered similar policies in regions that have traditionally welcomed high numbers of refugees.

"We are seeing a worrying race to the bottom on refugee protection around the world," the ODI's Sara Pantuliano, author of the report, said in a statement.

Examples include the refusal of Jordan to welcome about 70,000 Syrians stranded in the desert area of Berm and Kenya's plans to close the Dadaab refugee camp and repatriate its largely Somali refugee population, the ODI said.

"If wealthy countries with strong economies are refusing to meet their obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, what incentive is there for poorer countries to do so?" said Pantuliano, ahead of a summit on refugees on Tuesday hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama.

"High-income countries must reverse this dangerous trajectory and instead take meaningful steps towards the protection of some of the world's most vulnerable people."

(Reporting by Pietro Lombardi; Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit

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