Refugee protection is inherently political. While international law and values inevitably influence governments’ decisions about how to respond to refugees, so too do power and interests. Host and donor states’ commitment to assist, protect and provide solutions for refugees are all shaped by whether and to what extent they perceive refugees to be a burden or a benefit in relation to security and development outcomes, for example. Evidence for this can be found in almost every aspect of the functioning of the refugee system: from donors’ earmarking of humanitarian contributions to resettlement decisions to host states’ decisions about whether to provide socioeconomic freedoms to refugees.
The report argues that political analysis – across all levels of governance – matters for refugee protection. There is a need to enhance the capacity for political analysis within humanitarian organisations.