Talk by Dr Cathryn Costello: Dividing Refugees from (Other) Migrants
The Global Compacts, IO Mandate Competition and Recognition Processes. Talk by Dr Cathryn Costello from the University of Oxford, Refugee Studies Centre.
Cathryn Costello, Professor II at the NCHR.
This talk will examine the division between refugees and (other) migrants in three contexts. While Professor Costello is not suggesting that the particular legal and political status of refugees should be undermined, she will argue that the division is often problematic for refugees, who often face additional mobility barriers and difficulties securing recognition of their status, and for migrants who may also have international protection needs.
First, the talk will consider the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Compacts assume certain categorical distinctions between refugees and migrants, which are more fluid than they imagine.
Second, she will examine the role of the refugee / migrant bifurcation in the practice of international organisations, in particular in the role of UNHCR and the IOM.
Third, she will discuss the institutional practices that seek to distinguish refugees from migrants, which ought to be subject to much greater scrutiny by those who would defend refugee privilege in a world of migrant Control.
Finally, having problematized the bifurcation, this piece suggests a constructive way forward. The Compacts are replete with promise, and their loose and programmatic approach means that it will be in their implementation that change (if any) emerges. I offer a constructive reading, emphasizing harm reduction and the overarching concept of ‘international protection.