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Professor Alexander Betts has been speaking to The Japan News about the benefits of giving refugees the right to work in their host countries – benefits for the refugees themselves, their hosts, and their home nations when they return.

In relation to the Syria crisis and Syrian refugees, he said, “The future of Syria, when the conflict ends, will depend upon how we treat its population abroad. Syria will need its human capital, and if its population has been dependent on humanitarian aid, and not given educational opportunities and not given work, the returning population will struggle to build that society.”

The Jordan Compact gives refugees the right to work in certain sectors in Jordan. Betts discusses its successes and its challenges, and whether such initiatives can be applied elsewhere. He states, “I think context matters... So, manufacturing was a potential way to support Jordan’s national development plan. In an economy like Japan or Germany, it would be much more viable to support service-sector jobs.”

The role of businesses, such as Japanese firm Uniqlo, in employing refugees is also highlighted, with Betts commenting: “I think Japanese companies and companies around the world have a huge contribution to make to refugees. One of the most important ways in which refugees can be supported is through work.”

The interview also discusses some of the issues behind the increasing numbers of refugees and forcibly displaced.

Read the interview here: Refugee training key to Syria’s reconstruction

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