Since 2015, the phrase ‘refugees and migrants’ has become a mainstay of policy discussions, media coverage and academic publications. The phrase is a cause for concern because it subtly undermines the meaning of ‘migrants’, with negative consequences for policy, analysis, and people on the move. In the article I show how the use of the phrase aligns with self-interested efforts by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to redefine ‘migrants’ in order to protect it’s own turf within the UN agency landscape. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) could have protected the meaning of ‘migrants’ but the agency’s current leadership regrettably do not appear to stand by this mission.
Carling, Jørgen (2023) The phrase ‘refugees and migrants’ undermines analysis, policy and protection, International Migration 61 (3): 399–403.