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The Price of Indifference

Refugees and Humanitarian Action in the New Century


The Price of Indifference - the-price-of-indifference
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Publisher A CFR Book. Oxford University Press

Release Date March 2002

Price $25.00 hardcover

328 pages
ISBN 0199250316


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 losses of life. In this seminal book, Senior Fellow Arthur Helton systematically analyzes refugee policy responses over the past decade and calls for specific reforms to make policy more proactive and comprehensive.

To prevent international refugee catastrophes, more effective international cooperation is needed in advance of crises. Key to prevention is the creation of a single U.S. government agency for humanitarian action and the consolidation of UN humanitarian agencies. For these initiatives to succeed, however, Helton argues that reform must come from outside the UN system, in particular from new donor and recipient state coalitions.

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"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

"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 judgment and his practical familiarity with the subject."
Sadako Ogata, Resident Scholar, Ford Foundation, CoChair, International Human Security Commission, and Former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

"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 rereading, and one of the best I have ever read."
Princeton N. Lyman, Executive Director, Global Interdependence Initiative, The Aspen Institute, and Former Director, Bureau for Refugee Programs, U.S. Department of State

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