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Listen to the 16 October seminar by Dr Alexander Betts (University of Oxford), part of the Michaelmas term 2013 Public Seminar Series

Women and children sitting at Atme camp near the Turkish border post. Atme, Syria.

In this talk based on his new book, Dr Betts explores the challenge of responding to new drivers of cross-border displacement that fall outside the existing refugee framework. Rather than beginning with particular causes of displacement – whether environmental change, food insecurity or generalised violence – he offers a human rights-based framework through which to critically consider who, in a changing world, should be entitled to cross an international border and seek asylum.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork, he grounds he analysis in an exploration of contemporary flight from three of the most fragile states in the world: Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. He explains the massive variation in national and international institutional responses in the neighbouring states, arguing that politics rather than law ultimately determines how the refugee regime is implemented in practice.

About the speaker

Dr Alexander Betts is University Lecturer in Refugee Studies and Forced Migration at Oxford University and Director of the Humanitarian Innovation Project. He is the author of Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement (Cornell University Press).

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