IASFM Statement on Global Racism

In the context of the Black Lives Matters movement, and the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected racialized people and migrants, the IASFM membership adopted the following Statement on Global Racism in September 2020. We acknowledge that systemic racism exists in social structures, including migration policies and academic associations like IASFM. This statement is only a first step towards concrete actions to identify and challenge racist ideologies and practices in and through our work.


Statement on Global Racism Adopted by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration  Adopted by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM)[1]

September 2020

For over two decades, the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) has been at the forefront of supporting globally displaced persons. Governments, the United Nations, non-profit organizations, and practitioners have utilized the scholarship, policy recommendations, and best practices generated by IASFM’s diverse membership to address forced migration and configure apt solutions.

IASFM’s membership is diverse in multiple ways, such as race, gender, religion, global region, and socioeconomic status. Therefore, IASFM recognizes the political, economic, and social inequalities experienced by many of its members. IASFM acknowledges the institutionalized systems of discrimination under which many of its members reside. Likewise, many forcibly uprooted persons endure racism in their country of origin, host countries, and countries of resettlement.

Racism is a global social construct used to determine the unequal ownership and distribution of the world’s resources. From racist ideologies underpinning the slave trade to current anti-immigration policies, systemic racism permeates global migration systems and relationships. Racialized refugees’ human rights under international and national law are violated. They are also subjected to state-sanctioned violence as they seek their human right to a dignified existence. Racism creates systemic barriers to accessing social services and integration. 

In these unprecedented times of change, IASFM calls for governments, individuals, and organizations to address policies, practices, and attitudes that perpetuate white supremacy. The United Nations General Assembly “solemnly affirm[ed] the necessity of speedily eliminating racial discrimination throughout the world in all its forms and manifestations and of securing understanding of and respect for the dignity of the human person.”[2] IASFM urges all to agree and implement, in spirit and deed, these words from the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

[1] Drafted by Dorian Brown Crosby, Ph.D.

[2] International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965, and entered into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19, https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/cerd.aspx.