Who are refugees? Who, if anyone, is responsible for protecting them? What forms should this protection take? In a world of people fleeing from civil wars, state failure, and environmental disasters, these are ethically and politically pressing questions.
In this book, David Owen reveals how the contemporary politics of refuge is structured by two rival historical pictures of refugees. In reconstructing this history, he advocates an understanding of refugeehood that moves us beyond our current impasse by distinguishing between what is owed to refugees in general and what is owed to different types of refugee. He provides an account of refugee protection and the forms of international cooperation required to implement it that is responsive to the claims of both refugees and states.
At a time when refugee protection is once again prominent on the international agenda, this book offers a guide to understanding the challenges this topic raises and shows why addressing it matters for all of us.