With more than 18 million refugees worldwide, the refugee problem tops the agenda in intergovernmental meetings and has fostered an intense debate regarding what political changes are necessary in the international system to provide effective solutions in the 1990s and beyond. In the past, refugees have been perceived largely as a problem of international charity, but as the end of the Cold War triggers new refugee movements across the globe, governments are being forced to develop a more systematic approach to the refugee problem. Beyond Charity provides the first extensive overview of the world refugee crisis today, asserting that refugees are a political issue and must be dealt with as such. Gil Loescher argues persuasively that a central challenge in the post Cold-War era is to develop a comprehensive refugee policy that preserves the right of asylum while promoting greater political and diplomatic efforts to address the causes of flight. He presents the contemporary crisis in a historical framework and explores the changing role of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees.
Loescher suggests short-term and long-term reforms that address both the current refugee crisis and its underlying causes. The book also details the ways governmental structures and international organizations could be strengthened to assume more effective assistance, protection, and political mediation functions. Beyond Charity clarifies the complex issues surrounding the global refugee crisis and offers directions for more effective approaches to refugee problems at present and in the future.