On World Refugee Day, the Global Community Must Recognize Urgent Need to Increase the Capacity of Asylum Systems

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to honor and recognize those who face risks and challenges in leaving their country of origin or habitual residence, in order to seek protection in another country. Alianza Americas recognizes the courage and determination of its member organizations, a community that includes refugees, who make important contributions to their host communities, and continue to work for their countries of origin.

 

The reasons that compel people to flee have evolved, as have societies. Efforts have been made in some regions and states to adopt expanded definitions of the concept of “refugee,” and to recognize and create other protection statuses for those forced to seek protection. These are positive developments that must be maintained and expanded, so that refugees find security, and can integrate and rebuild their lives. Just as societies evolve, so must protection statutes. 

 

Given the increase in people requesting asylum, we note with concern that state protection systems have not increased their capacity to promptly and fairly resolve the larger volume of cases, guaranteeing due process rights, which includes interpretation in a refugee’s native language, the right to a lawyer, psychological support, and family unity. Likewise, we strongly reject the normalization of the deprivation of liberty during asylum processes. Asylum seekers must be received and treated as what they are, people seeking protection.

 

We also observe with concern policies and measures to contain, dissuade, and prevent refugees from seeking international protection, including the closure of borders — including the Title 42 policy in the U.S. — the militarization of borders (an example of this is the National Guard in Mexico), the detention of asylum seekers, and the impossibility of requesting protection before being expelled or deported to their countries of origin. All these actions are contrary to international consensus around protecting those who cannot return to their country of origin, the fundamental manifestation of solidarity among humanity.

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