Truly Indispensable!

The Geneva Refugee Convention at 70

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Refugee Convention (GRC) it seems more important than ever, to bring the Convention’s indispensable importance for refugee protection back to the attention of policy makers and a broader public.

With changing global migration patterns and increasing numbers of refugees, its relevance is often questioned. At the external borders of Europe, the United States, and Australia, it is being blatantly violated due to pushbacks.

Yet, as long as people are being persecuted in this world, the Geneva Refugee Convention cannot be dispensed with.

In 11 short statements persons of diverse backgrounds – artists, academics, refugees, activists – express their support for the basic principles of the Convention. We hope their voices will reach a large audience and hence make a difference.


The convention and its refugee protection is indispensable, after 70 years as well as in the decades to come. Here is our Indispensable-Video with some of the main statements.

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim talks about Fatima Muhammad, who was abducted by Boko Haram in Cameroon. The Geneva Convention was crucial in keeping her hope alive as a refugee and survivor in Nigeria.

Vincent Cochetel characterizes the Geneva Refugee Convention as a lighthouse, as the most important legal instrument which grants rights to refugees who are bared of any protection in the countries of their origin.

Prof. Dr. Ulrike  Krause sheds light on the genesis of the Geneva Refugee Convention and its amendment in 1967- the Protocol - which enabled a global sphere of action. She underlines the importance of the responsibility of the receiving states.

Maryam Moghadam reads article 33 „prohibition of expulsion and Return (Refoulement)" - a key passage of the Geneva Refugee Convention.

Abdul Aziz Muhamat had to flee Darfur and got detained after a brutal push back on the Australian shored for 6 ½ years. He encourages action in saying „no detention centres and no camps!“

Nusrat Imrose Tisha reads Article 22 of the Genea Refugee Convention which demands equal rights for refugees in their host countries by e.g. granting them education.

Zehida Bihorac lives as a teacher right at the EU border - between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kroatia. She explains how the situation, underexposed by international media, made her become an activist.

Wolfgang Kaleck reflects on the multiple crises, which provoke refugee and migrant flows and demands global action.

Gado expresses his views on European refugee politics in four incredible drawings which speak for themselves.

Dr. Ali Nobil Ahmad expresses his conviction that ratifying the Geneva Refugee Convention by most states of South Asia, who failed to do so until today, would be a crucial step of ridding refugees' ongoing discrimination in the region.

Elise Caluwaerts reads Article 1 of the Geneva Convention which clearly defines, who is a refugee.

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