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    Refugee movements and their implications.

    Keely CB

    In: Population distribution, migration and development. New York, N.Y., Dept. of International Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, 1984. 447-456.

    Discussion focuses on refugee issues, covering definition, policy responses, institutional arrangements, and views of the future. The magnitude of the problem and the regions of the world affected are outlined by presentations of data. The UN documents define a refugee as every person who, owing to well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, it outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country. The international community was and is loath to interfere overtly in international affairs and thus requires that the person be outside his/her government's territorial jurisdiction. The first responsibility of all intergovernmental agencies charged with dealing with refugees has been to provide protection. The logic and legal development underlying the concept of international responsibility has an important limit. A person displaced within his/her own country does not qualify for protection as a refugee by the international community. Over the years several ways of avoiding the problems in the definition of a refugee has been adopted. The concept of the "good offices" of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been developed and encouraged even when this required stretching the mandate. The preferred solution for refugee movements has always been voluntary repatriation. A number of useful descriptions of the variety of types of actors that constitute the institutional arrangements for response already exist. 4 issues regarding the institutional arrangements are summarized: development; regionalization; internationalization; and the existence of programs as a pull factor. Voluntary repatriation as a permanent solution in many instances requires economic development as a necessary ingredient. In various parts of the world the traditions about refugees, the similarity of causes, and the cultural similarities indicate a useful role for regional organizations. The pursuit of the goal of internationalization has been sporadic, usually in connection with a specific crisis situation, and not integrated into broad foreign policy pursuits by the interested countries. Internationalization in the sense of universal participation in refugee relief, resettlement, or funding remains a laudable goal. The existence of refugee programs, and most notably resettlement programs, can themselves be a pull factor encouraging movement of people claiming refugee status or seeking asylum.
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