The Price of Indifference: Refugees and Humanitarian Action in the New Century

The Price of Indifference: Refugees and Humanitarian Action in the New Century

The Price of Indifference: Refugees and Humanitarian Action in the New Century

The Price of Indifference: Refugees and Humanitarian Action in the New Century


This title includes the following features: Comprehensive look at a verycontroversial and politically pressing issue - refugee policy; Systematicallyanalyses refugee policy responses over the past decade; Helton has an excellentreputation in the field


More large-scale violence. More innocent people forced to flee their country and become refugees. More innocents displaced from their homes within their own country. That is the source of migrants' stories these last ten years. The situation has put an enormous burden on the international community, on governments and on US leadership in particular. Arthur Helton, a renowned expert on these matters, tells this story and tells us in practical terms how we can make the plight of refugees and displaced persons less horrible. This is a book for people who both feel the tugs of humanitarianism and want to know what can be done to turn humanitarian impulses into practical actions.

A good deal of what Mr. Helton has to say comes back to American leadership. To clear the path for humanitarian relief, the United States has been often called upon to intervene militarily in a crisis, risk American lives, and help organize international action. The enormity of the humanitarian problem and the prominent role of the United States has often catapulted refugee and displaced issues to the top of our national policy agenda—where it belongs.

In this book, Arthur Helton presents a sweeping review of the last decade's twists and turns in refugee policy and humanitarian action more broadly. This includes the crises in Bosnia, Cambodia, East Timor, Haiti, Kosovo, Rwanda, and Somalia. No one before Helton has examined all these crises in such depth, systematically discussing them in a lively and engaging style. Informed by the insights of recent literature on the subject, Helton's book goes a step further by proposing a new rationale for reform and concrete steps for action. He clearly identifies the shortcomings of existing policy and institutional mechanisms which are often too reactive and politicized to respond effectively to refugee emergencies. He does not merely expose the deficiencies of current policies and institutions, but also develops concrete proposals for reform which will help decision-makers formulate a new workable refugee policy.

In particular, Helton recommends the establishment of two new agencies—1) a US Agency for Humanitarian Action (AHA) and 2) an intergovernmental mechanism for Strategic Humanitarian Action and Research (SHARE). At the national level, AHA would help enhance contingency planning within the US government and improve policy

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