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Centre of Migration Research

pages: 23-44


Since the end of World War II, the international system seeking to protect forcibly displaced people has evolved to currently include 147 states and multiple non-state actors responding together to the needs of an increasingly diverse population of over 86.5 million people. This chapter discusses the root causes of forced displacement, provides a historical overview of global forced displacement in the post-World War II period, and outlines the development of the modern global protection system of forcibly displaced populations, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees at its core. In this chapter, current protection gaps and possible solutions are analyzed. Finally, the chapter discusses the root causes of, scale, and responses to recent displacement emergencies, including those in Syria, Venezuela, and the Asia-Pacific Region. The chapter highlights the power relations underlying systems built around forced displacement, contributions to forced displacement by highest-income former colonial nations, and the disproportionate burden of protecting displaced persons carried by lowest-income countries.


Forced displacement Forced migration History Global protection system Protection gaps Forced displacement emergencies