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The Rise and Decline of a Global Security Actor: UNHCR, Refugee Protection, and Security


ISBN13: 9780199213085
Published: February 2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £58.00



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The Rise and Decline of a Global Security Actor investigates the rise of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as a global security actor. It follows the refugee agency through some of the past two decades' major conflict-induced humanitarian emergencies: in northern Iraq (1991), Bosnia (1991-95), eastern Zaire (1994-96), Kosovo (1998-99), Afghanistan (2001-) and Iraq (2003-). It analyses UNHCR's momentous transformation from a small, timid legal protection agency to the world's foremost humanitarian actor playing a central role in the international response to the many wars of the tumultuous last decade of the 20th century. Then, as the 21st century set in, the agency's political prominence waned. It remains a major humanitarian actor, whose budgets and staffing levels continue to rise. But the polarised post-9/11 period and a worsening protection climate for refugees and asylum seekers spurred UNHCR to abandon its claim to be a global security actor and return to a more modest, quietly diplomatic role. The rise of UNHCR as a global security actor is placed within the context of the dramatic shift in perceptions of national and international security after the end of the Cold War. The Cold War superpower struggle encouraged a narrow strategic-military understanding of security. In the more fluid and unpredictable post-Cold War environment, a range of new issues were introduced to states' security agendas. Prominent among these were the perceived threats posed by refugees and asylum seekers to international security, state stability, and societal cohesion. This book investigates UNHCR's response to this new international environment; adopting, adapting, and finally abandoning a security discourse on the refugee problem.

Subjects:
Public International Law, Immigration, Asylum, Refugee and Nationality Law
Contents:
1. Introduction: The Rise and Decline of a Global Security Actor

PART I: FORCED MIGRATION AND SECURITY
2. From Explaining to Constructing Security
3. Victims or Threats: Placing Displacement on Three Security Agenda

PART II: AN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY OF UNHCR
4. Institutional and International Developments
5. The 1950s to 1970s: Timidity and Restraint In UNHCR's Discourse
6. The 1980s: A Political Turn
7. The 1990s: Adopting and Adapting a Security Discourse
8. The 2000s and Beyond: Return of a Protection Discourse

PART III: AN ACTOR OR RE-ACTOR IN INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE POLITICS?
9. UNHCR's Rise as a Global Security Actor: Northern Iraq, 1991
10. A Humanitarian Star: Lead Agency in Bosnia, 1991-1995
11. Protection Disaster in Eastern Zaire, 1994-96
12. How Success Became Failure: The Kosovo Crisis, 1998-99
13. Challenges of Protection After 9/11
14. Repatriating Afghan Refugees
15. Conclusion: The Ongoing Quest for Power, Independence and Relevance