How to fix the refugee crisis?

Oxford professors Alexander Betts and Paul Collier published a much-awaited book entitled Refuge. Transforming a Broken Refugee System. The book seeks to offer ‘a workable system that can sustainably offer sanctuary to the world’s refugees.’ This system focuses on ‘safe havens’ in countries that neighbour conflict and crisis, where refugees can be accommodated in a cost-effective way while awaiting return to their country of origin. These safe havens must provide opportunities for employment, so that refugees can then help themselves while contributing to local economies. The system requires greater contributions from donors as well as private-sector partnerships.

The book received mixed reactions in the weeks after it was published. Have Betts and Collier properly understood the problem and its causes? Are their ideas really new? And would their system help refugees, or make them more vulnerable? Or perhaps such questions are just distractions from an admirable attempt to be constructive?

This seminar, recorded as a podcast, debates whether Refuge holds the key to better policies for refugee protection.

This seminar took place on 2 May 2017 and was jointly organised by the NCHS and the Migration Research Group at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

Further reading:

  • An extract of Refuge can be found on the publisher’s website here.
  • A summary of Betts and Collier’s ten-point plan in iNews can be found here.
  • An interview with Betts and Collier discussing their book on CNN can be found here.
  • An interview with Collier on BBC HARDtalk can be found here.
  • A review of Refuge by Heaven Crawley can be found in the journal Nature here.
  • A review of Refuge by the Economist can be found here.