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Rights in Exile
Guglielmo Verdirame and Barbara Harrell-Bond with Zachary Lomo and Hannah Garry
With a Foreword by Justice Albie Sachs
416 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-526-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2005)
ISBN 978-1-84545-103-5 $39.95/£31.95 Pb Published (April 2005)
eISBN 978-1-78238-726-8 eBook
“[the authors] are refreshingly open about their lack of objectivity and bias towards the interests of the refugees, and Rights in Exile is stronger as a result, their clear identification with their subjects having produced some fascinating interview material, which forms the bulk of the book.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
“The greatest strength of Rights in Exile is clearly its combination of hard data accompanied by stinging critique… Rights in Exile should be read by scholars, advocates and policy analysts for its revealing look at the unsettling shortcomings of refugee protection services and the real-life consequences of encampment in two African states.” • Journal of Refugee Law
“This book has a… disregard for orthodoxies and sacred cows. It is harsh, for example, on the role of many NGOs in delivering assistance - and failing to protect the rights of refugees… More obviously, the UNHCR's reinterpretation of its own mandate - away from refugee protection, towards "humanitarian assistance" - is exposed as a betrayal of the whole purpose of the international refugee regime.” • Richard Carver, Pambazuka News
“Detailed, direct and at times passionate, this book should be required reading for anyone who wants to know what is really happening to refugee protection. It should also require a response.” • Journal of Refugee Studies
“Brace yourself. This is a painful book. Not only is the information in it extremely distressing, the main targets of its critique are the 'good guys.' The central argument is that the international and humanitarian organisations that are in charge of looking after refugees are responsible for extensive and avoidable violations of the rights of those dependent upon them.” • From the Foreword
Of the estimated 12 million refugees in the world, more than 7 million have been confined to camps, effectively "warehoused," in some cases, for 10 years or more. Holding refugees in camps was anathema to the founders of the refugee protection regime. Today, with most refugees encamped in the less developed parts of the world, the humanitarian apparatus has been transformed into a custodial regime for innocent people. Based on rich ethnographic data, Rights in Exile exposes the gap between human rights norms and the mandates of international organisations, on the one hand, and the reality on the ground, on the other. It will be of wide interest to social scientists, and to human rights and international law scholars. Policy makers, donor governments and humanitarian organizations, especially those adopting a "rights-based" approach, will also find it an invaluable resource. But it is the refugees themselves who could benefit the most if these actors absorb its lessons and apply them.
Guglielmo Verdirame is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. He is also the author of a forthcoming book on the accountability of the United Nations.
Barbara Harrell-Bond (1932-2018), was Founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford> After her retirement, she was Visiting Professor at Makerere University and at the American University in Cairo. In 1996, she received the Distinguished Service Award of the American Anthropological Association. She was author of Imposing Aid (Oxford, 1986).