Today is the 104th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. On this day in 1912, some 1,514 people perished in the frigid waters of the Atlantic. That is tragedy enough but 468 of those 1,514 people drowned entirely needlessly. There were exactly 468 empty seats in the lifeboats launched from the Titanic.
Perhaps it is not so easy to count the avoidable deaths in today’s refugee crisis. But a clear analogy can be drawn. The wealthy States of 2016 represent a lifeboat for the forcibly displaced. How many lives are lost every day, as a result of States’ failure to respond adequately to the current refugee crisis? Many States have the capacity, but lack the leadership to accept and protect more refugees, leaving empty seats in the lifeboats. The developing world shoulders a disproportionate share of the responsibility to protect refugees. Wealthier states can and must do more.