Reforming the international protection regime: responsibilities, roles and policy options for Australia

International law Right of asylum Refugees Environmental refugees Australia

In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Nonresident Fellow in the Migration and Border Policy Project Dr Khalid Koser argues that the international protection regime is failing and Australia has a responsibility to help fix it. Koser defines how promoting reform, at the domestic, regional and global levels, serves Australia’s national interest.


  • The international protection regime is failing. It is no longer serving the best interests of Australia, other states, or refugees themselves.
  • It is in Australia’s national interest to help fix the regime, to prepare for a resurgence in the number of asylum seekers, take advantage of the success of Operation Sovereign Borders, and fulfil its international commitment to protecting those in need.
  • Australia should set standards in domestic responses to environmental migration, lead regional efforts to protect refugees closer to their homes, and challenge the status quo at the global level.
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