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The Refugee Dilemma

1 February 1980

The loneliness of Exile, the difficulties of adjusting to a new life, the wrench of parting, the fear for those left behind – these are only some of the traumas which face millions of refugees the world over. Whether they are exiled in an alien community or in a border refugee camp, they face the reality of months and years – sometimes even a lifetime – of separation, from their family, society, culture and country.

Although the total number of refugees is growing fast and has reached unprecedented levels, efforts to deal with their plight are still inadequate. At the international level there is the UN Convention on Refugees and the efforts being made by agencies such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Relief and Works Association (UNRWA), while at national level countries have a wide variety of attitudes. Yet- not even with the best of intentions – has the world found a way to cope with the increasing number of refugees fleeing social, political, racial, religious persecution or economic destitution, in both peace and wartime.

The Refugee Dilemma, Minority Rights Group report 43, has been written by Dr Frances D’Souza and Dr Jeff Crisp. This new expanded edition now also has a special analysis critically examining the situation in the UK and outlining the work of the British Refugee Council, which provides a case study of value elsewhere. It is an indispensable report, objective yet sympathetic, which will prove of great benefit to teachers, students, community workers and everyone interested in refugees and their problems.

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.

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Frances D’Souza

Jeff Crisp

Stevanne Hill