Security Issues and Refugees: Dilemmas, Crises, and Debates


  • Frances T. Pilch United States Air Force Academy



security, policy, law, forced migration, humanitarian aid, refugee camps, UNHCR


Complex emergencies involving refugees often involve dilemmas concerning security issues. Questions concerning the neutrality and demilitarization of refugee camps, the protection of aid and humanitarian workers, and law enforcement within the camps themselves continually arise. These issues are exacerbated when refugee flows occur in highly unstable areas sometimes characterized as "failed states." While debate has been stimulated by reflections on the Great Lakes crisis and has fostered creative thinking about security options, definitive plans for the support of humanitarian operations has not yet materialized. The burden placed upon UNHCR to operate in problematical situations leads inevitably to ad hoc policy arrangements, which need to be replaced with concrete operational contingency planning, possibly involving standby forces dedicated to the support of humanitarian operations.


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How to Cite

Pilch, F. T. (2000). Security Issues and Refugees: Dilemmas, Crises, and Debates. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 19(1), 25–34.

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