A new response to one of the ethical dilemmas at our ‘Dilemmas’ project

T. Alexander Aleinikoff and David Owen provide an answer to all the criticism regarding their kick-off paper “Refugee Protection: ‘Here’ or ‘There’?” on ‘Dilemmas’ project.


We are grateful for the engagement of the commentators with our original paper and would like to briefly respond to some of their arguments.

Our commentators have taken issue with the ‘here’ versus ‘there’ distinction. Cathryn Costello and Ashwini Vasanthakumar note, as does Matthew Gibney, that, as the Ukraine situation shows, it does not map onto a Global North/Global South distinction. And Eleonora Milazzo helpfully urges us to think beyond ’here’ and ’there’ to consider ‘protection elsewhere.’

We are persuaded by Milazzo’s (2022) suggestion that our analysis should be expanded to consider (the increasing recourse to) ‘protection elsewhere.’ And she helpfully sketches out how that analysis might run, in terms we find compatible with our approach. We think there is no easy answer here. Protection elsewhere, as currently practised, is largely about enforcing a ‘not here’ strategy. But it could also be the basis for a global responsibility sharing system that is sorely needed if the current regime is to be improved. In any event, it needs consideration on its own.

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