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States, international organisations and the refugee: reflections on the complexity of managing the refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 1999

Assefaw Bariagaber
Affiliation:
School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ 07079, USA

Abstract

This article explores the complexity of managing refugee issues, particularly refugee repatriations, taking the Horn of Africa as a case. I argue that refugee repatriation endeavours are complex because their success depends on at least four actors, each with different – indeed often conflicting – interests. I examine the proposition that as the number of actors involved in a given issue area increases so does the likelihood of less-than-successful outcomes. This is particularly true if resource-poor actors are included in the decision-making process, and, because of the need to extract maximum benefits and/or minimise maximum losses, usually operate under the assumption of zero-sum situations. This assumption narrows their range of responses and hampers their ability to engage in mutually beneficial exchange relationships. As a result, repatriations, which are necessarily consensus-based, become more difficult to accomplish successfully as evidenced in the Horn of Africa.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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