Cases of sexual violence inside refugee camps are often presented as if they were tragic accidents, or natural and isolated events. However, sexual violence is endemic to refugee camps and it has escalated over time. Despite these facts, evidence and warnings, refugee populations are systematically abandoned into structurally harmful environments which not only allow, but also create the conditions for such atrocious acts of violence to take place.
From our perspective, the most important development which the Global Compact on Refugees constitutes as regards the 1951 Convention is the alignment of refugee rights with human rights. The GCR commitments link together refugee protection and human rights in a UN instrument which, while not legally binding, sets out the common will of the international community.
The Queen Mary University of London is one of PROTECT’s two UK-based teams. The team is led by the distinguished EU law and migration expert Elspeth Guild, joining her are the aspiring law scholar Kathryn Allinson and Nicolette Busuttil. Together, the team has followed the processes surrounding the UN Compacts on Migrants and Refugees closely and explored their potential in advancing the international protection system.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has tightened its grip on many western states, many refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants continue to be detained in reception and detention centres, without any prospect of release. With asylum processing at a standstill and returns to countries of origin on hold, detention of these individuals risks becoming arbitrary, if not inhumane.