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Innovations in Refugee Protection

A Compendium of UNHCR’s 60 Years- Including Case Studies on IT Communities, Vietnamese Boatpeople, Chilean Exile and Namibian Repatriation

Luise Druke

This compendium synthesizes innovations of the UN High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1951. The book bridges the gap between academic and field work and uses Joseph Nye’s concept of «soft power» as a methodological approach for understanding and solving political and ethical refugee protection dilemmas. Extending the refugee legal framework (1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol), UNHCR has increasingly used international human rights law, innovative technologies and new partners. Refugee protection is a responsibility primarily of states. Challenges are: considering increasing power diffusion (Nye) from states to non-state actors and balancing IT potentials with security risks.
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At the end of forty years of refugee and human rights endeavors parts of which are reflected in this book, one thinks with special appreciation of the wide range of persons and groups that have given freely of their time and expertise. To name them all would be satisfying indeed, but I trust they will recognize how much I value the help and confidence they contributed to my work. My special gratitude goes to the High Commissioners starting with Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, whom I worked for during my first UNHCR appointment in 1977 and collaborating thereafter in the area of early warning. I am grateful for the inspiration and encouragement of his successor High Commissioners, especially Poul Hartling, Sadako Ogata, and Antonio Guterres.

Warm thanks go also to former UNHCR colleagues. I was privileged to work with them and other colleagues from governments, NGOs, academic and media partners, and refugee organizations in Geneva and around the world, especially in the field stations where I headed offices and missions since 1979 (Sierra Leone, Singapore, Chile, Honduras, the Namibian Repatriation Operation in Angola, Stockholm, Brussels, Portugal, Kazakhstan, and Bulgaria). Outside of the UNHCR, many others helped, including colleagues of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, NGOs and UN branches and bodies.

The generous support and pioneering initiatives of both the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School (led by Director David Kennedy and Administrative Director Neal...

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