Centre-left Mayor of Rotterdam: “Refugee Convention should be adjusted to current times”

Solidarity does not mean more uncontrolled migration,” says centre-left Mayor of Rotterdam (Netherlands) Ahmed Aboutaleb quoted by Dutch newspaper AD. “You can only allow refugees to certain extent. That’s why it is important to change Geneva Convention on Refugee signed in 1951 to adapt it to current times.”

Mr. Aboutaleb is the first prominent leftist politician who makes such statements.

The 1951 Refugee Convention is the key legal document that forms the basis of our work. Ratified​ by 145 State parties, it defines the term ‘refugee’ and outlines the rights of the displaced, as well as the legal obligations of States to protect them.

The core principle is non-refoulement, which asserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom. This is now considered a rule of customary international law.  UNHCR serves as the ‘guardian’ of the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. According to the legislation, States are expected to cooperate with us in ensuring that the rights of refugees are respected and protected.