Responsibility Sharing Within Borders

The international community has long recognized the principle that countries should share responsibility for hosting and supporting refugees. The 2018 Global Compact on Refugees’ recognition of an “urgent need” for greater responsibility sharing across borders reflects widespread agreement that the existing distribution of responsibility among countries is unjust and unworkable. A number of low- and middle-income countries in the Global South are the primary hosts of refugees, while wealthier countries, such as Australia, many European countries, and the United States, deliberately prevent arrivals and strictly limit their acceptance of refugees. The resulting distribution of responsibility tracks the proximity to the countries from which refugees flee, and parallels neither the capacities of states to support refugees, nor the extent of their moral duties to do so.