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Professor Alexander Betts has recently been interviewed by Vikas Shah MBE for Thought Economics. In a feature on ‘Our World’s Refugees’, Betts was interviewed alongside Gulwali Passarlay (Afghan refugee, author & Co-Founder of My Bright Kite), Professor François Crépeau (Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants), Catherine Woollard (Secretary General, European Council on Refugees and Exiles) and Professor George Rupp (Former President of the International Rescue Committee).

As part of an extensive interview, Shah asks ‘Why is our world doing so badly for its refugees, and what can we do?’. In response Betts says,The challenge should be manageable. Only around 0.3% of the world’s population are refugees… We are struggling because we’re providing inadequate support to those low and middle-income countries that host the most refugees. We’re continuing with a model of indefinite humanitarian assistance in camps where refugees are sometimes stuck for 5, 10, 15 even 20 years – when, in fact, we should be empowering those people to contribute to the societies they are a part of.”

He further states, “In Europe and North America, the rich world, our political leadership isn’t adequately explaining to the electorate the distinction between refugees and economic migrants, or why we need to protect and support vulnerable population. The rise of populist nationalism has meant that all migrants, including refugees, have been scapegoated as a cause of the structural economic problems that many marginalized people experience in their daily lives… The shift I want to see is that we empower refugees through jobs and education, that we ensure that the 10 countries hosting 60% of the world’s refugees are given incentives to allow refugees the right to work in the formal economy.”

Read the full interview here >>

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