Dec 2 2017

Mark Zacher Distinguished Visitor Lecture: "Crossing Borders in a Globalized World: A New Treaty for Migrants and Refugees"

8:15pm - 9:30pm
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Past Event


Crossing Borders in a Globalized World: A New Treaty for Migrants and Refugees

Mark Zacher Distinguished Visitor Lecture with Prof. Michael Doyle

2 December 2017 | 8:15-9:30pm
The Vancouver Institute, 2194 Health Sciences Mall, Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, Lecture Hall No. 2, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Prof. Michael Doyle is a prolific scholar in the field of international relations. He has published numerous books, articles, chapters in books, and occasional essays about peace, including the highly cited article “Liberalism and World Politics.” His most recent publication is The Question of Intervention: John Stuart Mill and the Responsibility to Protect (2015). He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, elected to the American Philosophical Society and received the Charles Merriam Award of the American Political Science Association in 2009. He received the APSA Hubert H. Humphrey Award "in recognition of notable public service by a political scientist" (2011), and was inducted into the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2012. From 2001 to 2003, Professor Doyle served as Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is the former chair of the Academic Council of the United Nations Community. From 2006 to 2013 he served as an individual member, and the chair of the U.N. Democracy Fund.

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Background Materials

The Model International Mobility Convention

While people are as mobile as they ever were in our globalized world, the movement of people across borders lacks global regulation. This leaves many refugees in protracted displacement and many migrants unprotected in irregular and dire situations. Meanwhile, some states have become concerned that their borders have become irrelevant. International mobility—the movement of individuals across borders for any length of time as visitors, students, tourists, labor migrants, entrepreneurs, long-term residents, asylum seekers, or refugees—has no common definition or legal framework. To address this key gap in international law, and the growing gaps in protection and responsibility that are leaving people vulnerable, the "Model International Mobility Convention" proposes a framework for mobility with the goals of reaffirming the existing rights afforded to mobile people (and the corresponding rights and responsibilities of states) as well as expanding those basic rights where warranted.

In 213 articles divided over eight chapters, the Convention establishes both the minimum rights afforded to all people who cross state borders as visitors, and the special rights afforded to tourists, students, migrant workers, investors and residents, forced migrants, refugees, migrant victims of trafficking and migrants caught in countries in crisis. Some of these categories are covered by existing international legal regimes. However, in this Convention these groups are for the first time brought together under a single framework. An essential feature of the Convention is that it is cumulative. This means, for the most part, that the chapters build on and add rights to the set of rights afforded to categories of migrants covered by earlier chapters. The Convention contains not only provisions that afford rights to migrants and, to a lesser extent, States (such as the right to decide who can enter and remain in their territory). It also articulates the responsibilities of migrants vis-à-vis States and the rights and responsibilities of different institutions that do not directly respond to a right held by migrants. 

The Model International Mobility Convention was developed by a Commission of eminent academic and policy experts in the fields on migration, human rights, national security, labor economics and refugee law. The Commission came together to debate and develop the Convention in workshops conducted regularly from spring 2015 until it was finalized in June 2017. A full list of Commission and other signatories to the Convention can be found further down on this page. 

Read and sign the Model International Mobility Convention at