Of all the humanitarian impulses in world politics today, one of the most widely recognized is the need to protect refugees. However, as The Problems of Protection explores, what on the surface appears to be a simple proposition can quickly become complex and controversial. This complexity results in troubling variation in how we respond to our obligation to protect refugees - while NATO launches a major military intervention on behalf of Albanians in Kosovo amidst worldwide media attention, the international community's response to Sierra Leonean refugees is slow, inefficient and inadequate. Who qualifies as a refugee in need of protection? Should refugees be returned as soon as possible, or integrated into safer host countries? The contributors to this volume address the often lacking political will among powerful countries and donors, shifting attitudes among affected countries, and the difficulty of rebuilding societies in a world in which the number of refugees will almost certainly continue to increase.
Niklaus Steiner is Associate Director of the University Center for International Studies at University of North Carolina. Gil Loesher was professor of International Relations at Notre Dame and he is now at the Center for International Studies at Oxford University. He serves on the Editorial board of the Journal of Refugee Studies and the UNHCR's State of the World's Refugees. Mark Gibney is Belk Distinguished Professor of Humanities at University of North Carolina.