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.
Ed Schenkenberg van Mierop of the International Council of International Agencies (ICVA) examines moves by non-governmental organizations and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to better coordinate the protection of refugees.
Although the number of refugees displaced from the conflict in Iraq was significantly fewer than expected, the war produced some 260,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North. Recent reports indicate that despite the threat of inter-ethnic retaliatory violence, many of these IDPs are now returning home.
Recognizing the particular challenges to refugee protection faced on both sides of the Atlantic, this report questions whether strengthening resettlement programs in the U.S. and Europe can help to address ongoing concerns over security, the volume and diversity of migrants, the rise of right-wing parties and the role of the welfare state.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., EU officials issued a symbolic statement that the EU was prepared to receive Afghan refugees displaced from the looming American intervention. Despite internal policy tendencies to reject Afghan claims to protection and domestic security concerns, EU officials seemed to recognize at the time there was very little risk of a massive influx of Afghan refugees.