…What excites me…is the presence of refugees amongst us who have arrived here straight from refugee camps. It strikes me as quite extraordinary that we should be hailing this as such an innovation. But innovation it is. I would hope that experts will never again have the effrontery to sit down together to discuss refugees without refugees being present, but I doubt it. Refugee work remains, perhaps, the last bastion of the ultra-paternalistic approach to aid and development. It is hard to think of another area where the blinkered nonsense of the “we know what's best for them” approach survives so unchallenged.
Mark Malloch-Brown, as quoted in Harrell-Bond and Karadawi (1984)
I believe that if you want political action, you must get governments together. Their deliberations will be the springboard for action. In my opinion, it is quite unrealistic to expect them to meet together with individual refugees (or groups representing refugees) and NGOs [non-governmental organizations]. Where the adoption of recommendations for political action is concerned, it does not work like that. Eagles don't consort with sparrows. It's a law of nature.
…Thanks for your copy of the [above] letter. Eagles: birds of prey, prone to wander alone, high above the world of everyday events, remote, lofty and unadapted to human civilisation. Sparrows: friendly, sunny, engaged birds, spending time in social intercourse, feet on the ground, contributing to variety of life and human happiness.
Of the three “durable” solutions to refugee situations—voluntary repatriation, integration, and resettlement—the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) proclaims voluntary repatriation to be the most desirable.