Discussion: The Status of Refugees
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, an important international treaty that was expanded by the 1967 Protocol and reaffirmed by the 2016 New York Declaration.31 That most recent declaration stipu- lates “a shared responsibility to manage large movements of refugees and migrants in a humane, sensitive, compassionate and people-centred man- ner.” It continues:
Large movements of refugees and migrants must have comprehensive policy support, assistance and protection, consistent with States’ obligations under international law. We also recall our obligations to fully respect their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and we stress their need to live their lives in safety and dignity. We pledge our support to those affected today as well as to those who will be part of future large movements. [. . . ]
We strongly condemn acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrim- ination, xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants, and the stereotypes often applied to them, including on the basis of reli- gion or belief. Diversity enriches every society and contributes to social cohesion.
One can only hope that the governments of member countries will live up to the language and spirit of the United Nations and that the stories that dominate our time will resemble Nausikaa’s caring hospitality and not Polyphemus’s violence.
Each essay is accompanied by an image, inviting the reader to ponder how one might be able to visualize multicultural America in a single telling image. Edward A. Wilson, critically casting America as El Dorado (1913; see Figure 1, the opening image of the first essay), imagined the arrival of an immigrant family in the harbor of New York not with the Statue of Liberty but with a golden Fortuna-like goddess who rolls the dice of chance toward the newcomers, thus casting a critical question mark on the myth of America. The representational shortcomings of such artwork
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16 • Werner Sollors
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