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UNHCR and the Securitization of Forced Migration

Hammerstad, Anne (2011) UNHCR and the Securitization of Forced Migration. In: Betts, Alex and Loescher, Gil, eds. Refugees in International Relations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 237-260. ISBN 978-0-19-958074-3. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:28945)

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Since the end of the Cold War, and particularly after the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, refugee movements have increasingly been portrayed by state policy makers, the media, and even the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as a threat to security. This development is intrinsically linked to the widening of the concept of security in the post-Cold War period beyond the traditional Realist notion of national security as the military protection of state sovereignty and territorial integrity. This trend can be seen in the academic literature as well as in the discourses of states, regional organizations, and the UN. It is a phenomenon that can be observed in the industrialized North as well as in the developing South, albeit in different manifestations.

The securitization of forced migrants, whether they be mass influxes of refugees in the global South or asylum seekers in the North, has had a significant impact not only on how we talk about displacement but also on what solutions we deem appropriate for dealing with their sutuation. Using the securitization approach of the Copenhagen School, this chapter will trace this securitisation process of forced migration over the past two decades, with particular focus on the discourse of the UNHCR. It will then discuss the consequences of this securitization for the treatment of asylum seekers in the North and mass refugee flows in the South. The links between, on the one hand, Northern attitudes and actions to deter and return asylum seekers, and on the other hand, an increased unwillingness to receive refugees in the South will also be explored.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: A. Hammerstad
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2012 05:18 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:07 UTC
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