States located near crisis zones are most likely to see an
influx of people fleeing from manmade disasters; African states,
for instance, are forced to accommodate and adjust to refugees more
often than do European states far away from sites of upheaval.
Geography dictates that states least able to pay the costs
associated with refugees are those most likely to have them cross
their borders. Therefore, refugee protection has historically been
characterized by a North-South impasse. While Southern states have
had to open their borders to refugees fleeing conflict or human
rights abuses in neighboring states, Northern states have had
little obligation or incentive to contribute to protecting refugees
in the South.
In recent years, however, the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has sought to foster greater
international cooperation within the global refugee regime through
special conferences at which Northern states are pushed to
contribute to the costs of protection for refugees in the South.
These initiatives, Alexander Betts finds in Protection by
Persuasion, can overcome the North-South impasse and lead to
Betts shows that Northern states will contribute to such efforts
when they recognize a substantive relationship between refugee
protection in the South and their own interests in such issues as
security, immigration, and trade. Highlighting the mechanisms
through which UNHCR has been able to persuade Northern states that
such links exist, Protection by Persuasion makes clear
that refugee protection is a global concern, most effectively
addressed when geographic realities are overridden by the
perception of interdependence.
Subjects: Political Science
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