The Model International Mobility Convention: Migrants, Refugees and Responsibility Sharing

In this session Professor Michael Doyle, Dr. Janine Prantl and Mr. Mark Wood will be speaking about the Model International Mobility Convention and about responsibility-sharing by culpability and capability. Prof. Michael Doyle will begin the session by discussing the need for the convention as well as its defining features — its cumulative and comprehensive nature.

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—currently has no common definition or legal framework. In order 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 comprehensive and cumulative framework for mobility, reaffirming the existing rights afforded to mobile people and expanding them where warranted.

The Convention is comprehensive as it establishes the rights afforded to tourists, students, migrant workers, investors and residents, forced migrants, refugees, migrant victims of trafficking and migrants caught in countries in crisis. While some of these categories are covered by existing international legal regimes, the Convention brings them together under a single complementary framework for the first time. The Convention is cumulative as its chapters build on and add rights to the set of rights afforded to categories of migrants based on their needs. In addition to the minimum rights afforded to all mobile people – independent of their migration status – the Convention grants certain categories of mobile persons additional rights that address the particular needs associated with each kind of international mobility.

Dr. Janine Prantl and Mark Wood will then discuss responsibility-sharing for forced migrants based on culpability and capability. Responsibility-sharing by culpability reflects the norm that each state has a duty to its own citizens to not inflict harm on them and the consequent expectation that the international community should hold states that do so accountable. Responsibility-sharing by capability refers to international cooperation among states to equitably and predictably share responsibilities when it comes to protecting and resettling refugees according to criteria such as a state’s population or wealth.


This event is a part of Columbia Academy on Law in Global Affairs (CALGA), a series of online open-access events, in which Columbia Law School faculty present their research and debate current issues with colleagues from around the globe.