Panel 1: Realizing protection and solutions within North America – 70 years protecting people forced to flee – Webinar

The virtual academic conference, “70 years protecting people forced to flee”, took place on 18, 19, 21 and 27 January to mark the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

On January 21st, LERRN hosted two North American panels. These panels considered North American perspectives on the “who, what, and how” of realizing protection and solutions, both within North American and through North American engagement in the global refugee regime.

This roundtable is the first of two panels hosted by LERRN as part of the virtual global academic conference organized by UNHCR and GAIN for the 70th Anniversary of the UNHCR Statute. Panel 1 examines the past, present and future of realizing protection and solutions within North America. It considers challenges to protection (admission agreements, asylum access, detention, border practices) and solutions (integration, sponsorship, pathways to citizenship) in the North American context. It consciously takes a regional approach and includes perspectives from Canada, the US and Mexico. It considers differences and lessons from these various national contexts, from the perspective of state practice, civil society actors, the private sector, and sub-state actors, including cities and provinces or states.

The panel considers future opportunities to realize protection and solutions in a hemispheric approach to displacement, including the potential to support regional approaches such as the MIRPS and identify examples of innovation that can be taken to scale. It also reflects on the diversity of North American perspectives to understand how differences can be understood and an approach designed that speaks to this diversity. This panel’s timing a day after Inauguration Day in the United States will provide a critical moment to consider how challenges can be addressed and future opportunities pursued.

The panel concludes with a discussion of a future-looking agenda to advance protection and solutions within the North American context.




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