In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which included commitments to protecting the rights of “people on the move” and to sharing responsibility for their wellbeing, and laid out the process for developing a new Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), to be adopted later this year.
On January 30, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) hosted a panel discussion on Turkey’s experience with integrating roughly 3.5 million refugees and how that experience can inform the Compact. Izza Leghtas, senior advocate at Refugees International, discussed the findings of her recent report, “I am only looking for my rights,” on the difficulties refugees face in accessing legal employment and the need for livelihood programs in Turkey’s urban centers. On the basis of his recently completed Syrian Barometer 2017, Murat Erdoğan, director of the Migration and Integration Research Center at the Turkish-German University in Istanbul, reflected on the attitudes of the Turkish public toward refugee integration, as well as attitudes of the refugees themselves toward their host societies. Elizabeth Ferris, research professor at the Institute of Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, remarked on how Turkey’s experience could relate to the broader issues surrounding global refugee governance and inform the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (a component of the GCR). Kemal Kirişci, TÜSİAD senior fellow and director of the Turkey Project at Brookings, moderated the discussion.
Following the discussion, panelists took questions from the audience.