Past Edition
Edition Four, 2004
Protection for refugees and the displaced
sharing the responsibility

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Edition Summary:

Who is my neighbour?

ONE IN 50 of the world’s people, including as many as 25 million children, are now refugees, migrants, asylum seekers or displaced persons. Often uprooted by armed conflict, human rights abuse, or the violence of poverty or hunger, they have fled to another part of their own land or across an international border. This edition of Global Future examines their protection needs and rights.

Recently the UNHCR Executive Committee revisited the issue of responsibility sharing to ensure protection for millions on the move. As High Commissioner Dr Ruud Lubbers notes in our opening article, people fleeing persecution have a right to seek asylum, yet states are not rushing to grant it. If responsibility sharing means anything, surely it means supporting countries on the front lines of mass people movements, like those that Yusuf Ghaznavi and the Hon Omar Ramadhan Mapuri spotlight.

It also means prevention. Arthur Dewey argues for stepped-up human rights monitoring to prevent (or at least bring to justice) serious abuses that cause displacement. Can the millions who have already fled home expect protection? Despite the Refugee Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other provisions, too many cannot. Responsibility means both the letter and spirit of the law. Mary Pack calls for a protection “culture” among NGOs; World Vision contributors Carol Toms and Heather MacLeod show ways to protect children in displacement from the grave threats facing them. Dr Walter K�lin, Representative of the UN Secretary-General, explores ensuring protection for the rapidly growing numbers of internally displaced people, whose own governments may fail them.

Responsibility means, in many cases, granting asylum. In painful contrast to the neighbourliness of some poorer countries, Justice Marcus Einfeld and David Spitteler highlight an apparent disregard for the humanity of asylum seekers, including children, who reach one affluent country’s shores.

Every day, people are sent back to fearful destinies; responsibility sharing has clearly failed them. World Vision contributors Elizabeth Hughes-Komljen and Tom Getman raise concerns about durable return and resettlement. Ending violence, conflict and poverty is the only “durable solution”, but even in the meantime there is much work to do. Jesus’ answer to the “neighbour” question – xenophilia rather than xenophobia – has perhaps never been more timely.


  • Protection and paradox - Ruud Lubbers
  • Burden sharing – Pakistan’s experience - Yusuf Ghaznavi
  • Building a culture of protection – challenges and opportunities for NGOs - Mary E Pack
  • Children – the most vulnerable uprooted - Carol Toms & Heather MacLeod
  • Protecting human rights, preventing dislocation - Arthur E Dewey
  • The human rights of asylum seekers - Marcus Einfeld
  • Internally displaced persons – the protection gap - Walter K�lin
  • Protecting internally displaced people in Uganda - Robby Muhumuza
  • Living in limbo – on-shore asylum seekers - David Spitteler
  • Challenges of refugee protection in Tanzania - Omar Ramadhan Mapuri
  • Putting right the wrongs of war? housing in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Elizabeth Hughes-Komljen
  • Preventing re-displacement - Tom Getman
  • Neighbours, asylum and xenophilia - Ismo Rama
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