Refugees and Forced Displacement: International Security, Human Vulnerability, and the State

Refugees and Forced Displacement: International Security, Human Vulnerability, and the State

Refugees and Forced Displacement: International Security, Human Vulnerability, and the State

Refugees and Forced Displacement: International Security, Human Vulnerability, and the State

Synopsis

This publication considers the links between security, conflict situations and migration issues, and calls for a reappraisal of how the international community addresses refugees and forced displacement. It finds that human displacement can be both a cause and a consequence of conflict within and among societies. As such, the management of refugee movements and the protection of displaced people should be an integral part of security policy and conflict management. It also explores how many of these challenges have been exacerbated by the war on terror since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Excerpt

A multitude of internal conflicts and resulting massive human displacement brought the linkages between international and national security and refugee protection to the foreground once again in the 1990s. This turbulent decade was reminiscent of the inter-war period, which, amongst other things, led to the establishment of the first UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Immediately after the Second World War, the protection and solutions for millions of displaced people necessitated another paradigm shift, namely the creation of an international and global refugee regime at whose centre are the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The UNHCR has been given the task of upholding this refugee regime. The past decade brought forward the need for another paradigm shift in order to prevent and respond effectively to the multitude of internal conflicts as well as to the new types of threats emanating from the realities of a globalizing world. This time around, a shift is required in our understanding of security.

Increasingly, emphasis is placed on the primary responsibility of states to protect their nationals as the fundamental and ultimate function of sovereignty. State security should no longer be narrowly interpreted in terms of protecting territory against external threats, but must also include the protection of citizens. The focus should, therefore, be on ensuring the safety of people, or human security. As events since 11 September 2001 have demonstrated, the fight against terrorism requires a . . .

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