The Price of Indifference: Refugees and Humanitarian Action in the New Century / Edition 1

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Refugee policy has not kept pace with new realities in international and humanitarian affairs. Recent policy failures have resulted in instability, terrible hardships, and massive loss of life. This book systematically analyzes refugee policy responses over the past decade and calls for specific reforms to make policy more proactive and comprehensive. Refugee policy must be more than the administration of misery. Responses should be calculated to help prevent or mitigate future humanitarian catastrophes. More international cooperation is needed in advance of crises. Humanitarian structures within governments, notably the United States, as well as the wide variety o international institutions involved in humanitarian action must be re-oriented to cope with new challenges.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This new and highly original book examines one of the most pressing issues facing the international community today - the issue of refugees. The author provides a very clear review of humanitarian action over the past decade, focusing his analysis on forced displacement and on the role of the United Nations. Mr. Helton not only asks important questions, but also makes ambitious policy recommendations. His book is a welcome contribution to the debate on humanitarian action, and will undoubtedly help us to manage humanitarian challenges better in the future."—Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General

"This book is required reading for anybody who worries about making our world more stable and secure by addressing the plight of 35 million refugees and diplaced people. Arthur Helton makes a compelling case that the world can - and must - do a better job of dealing with displaced populations."— Kenneth H. Bacon, President, Refugees International, and Former Pentagon Spokesman

"This is an important book which shows how critical the refugee issue is in the conduct of foreign policy. The refugee problem is often ignored by decision makers. But, as this book shows, most recent international crises have featured refugees. Policy makers should heed Arthur Helton's recommendations and address refugee issues, if they are serious about peacemaking."—Richard C. Holbrooke, Vice Chairman, Perseus, LLC, Former U.S. Representative to the United Nations

"Forced displacement has figured prominently in world politics during the last decase and has been one of the triggers for interventions by the UN Security Council, NATO and other regional organizations, and individual states. The Price of Indifference examines the lessons learned from these events with a view towards improving the operational effectiveness of future responses to forcible displacements. Arthur Helton not only provides a detailed analysis of past poliy approaches but also offers a range of policy recommendations for the future with an emphasis on preventive comprehensive measures. This book is invaluable for scholars, policymakers and practitioners alike." —Professor Gil Loescher, Author, The UNHCR and World Politics: A Perilous Path

"This is a monumental work which provides an extraordinary amount of information on refugees, conflict prevention, humanitarian policy, international law, and international organizations. The historical and analytical material, interspersed with first hand observations, makes for lively and engaging reading. The number of policy recommendations is staggering. It is a policy-oriented text which deserves careful reading and re-reading, and one of the best I have ever read."— Priceton N. Lyman, Executive Director, Global Interdependence Initiative, The Aspen Institute, and Former Director, Bureau for Refugee Programs, U.S. Department of State

"Arthur Helton has completed a monumental task of compiling information on and describing the major refugee and internally displaced problems of the past decade. Standing alone, this research would be very useful background for academics and policy makers. However, Arthur has gone further to examine how conflict prevention or resolution, are linked to refugees and IDP's. Moreover, he has come up with some interesting ideas on how one can better deal with refugee problems and related issues of conflict prevention/resolution."— Robert B. Oakley, Distinguished Visiting Fellow and Director, Peacekeeping Operations, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defence University, and Former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Somalia and Zaire

"Masterfully written and innovative, Arthur Helton's book offers a most comprehensive and insightful treatment of refugee issues. This work is a splendid combination of the author's solid academic judgement and his practical familiarity with the subject."— Sadako Ogata, Resident Scholar, Ford Foundation, Co-Chair, International Human Security Commission, and Former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

" [A] fascinating book ... [which] relates also to the future ....I will profit from this book in preparing for 2004, ... [when] the General Assembly of the United Nations has to decide how to go on with UNHCR, with what mandate, with what funding."— Ruud Lubbers, the current United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

"Helton's accessible writing style, his colorful anecdotes, and the extensive scope of his work have the potential to reach diverse audiences that are typically less familiar with international refugee policy. The Price of Indifference is a must-read not only for refugee scholars and activists, but also military personnel, politicians, and diplomats who are involved in international humanitarian operations and who are less knowledgeable of the plight of forced migration."—SAIS Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199250318
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/16/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 825,747
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Why refugees matter
3. The last decade's refugee story
4. Humanitarian action and new complexities in refugee protection: the former Yugoslavia
5. Surmounting indifference: refugees and the new statecraft
6. Varieties of refugee concerns: the beginnings of a policy tool box
7. Imagining better refugee policy
8. International bureaucracy and the debasement of mercy
9. Reaction and inattention within the US Government
10. Achieving comprehensive and proactive refugee policy

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