Tens of millions of people around the globe have been forcibly displaced by conflict, natural disaster, or persecution, seeking refuge either within or beyond the borders of their country. Humanitarian protection, whether for refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced persons (IDPs), represents a key policy area for many major immigrant-receiving countries as well as nations bordering locations where war, political upheaval, or natural disaster have disrupted daily life. The research offered here relates to the law and practice of protecting refugees and IDPs in areas of conflict as well as in industrialized nations, with a focus on secure solutions and effective institutional arrangements for comprehensive protection.
Danger often awaits people who set out by boat, seeking safety from upheaval or persecution. MPI Co-Director Kathleen Newland examines how governments, the shipping industry, and international bodies have succeeded — or too frequently, failed — to cast a line to those in need.
The term "refugee," like the people it describes, can cover a lot of ground. Sharon Stanton Russell, Research Scholar at MIT, maps out out who qualifies for refugee status, as well as the most pressing issues facing the community of institutions tasked to protect them.