Baldy Center to Sponsor Presentation on Refugee and Asylum Policy by Humanitarian Arthur Helton

Release Date: September 20, 2002 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An internationally renowned author and expert in human rights and the complexities of refugee and asylum policy will discuss the new realities in international and humanitarian affairs in a talk to be presented by the Law School at the University at Buffalo.

Arthur C. Helton, director of peace and conflict studies and senior fellow for refugee studies and preventive action for the Council on Foreign Relations, will discuss his book "The Price of Indifference: Refugees and Humanitarian Action in the New Century," from 3-4 p.m. Sept. 24 in 545 O'Brian Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. His presentation will be free and open to the public.

Published this year, Helton's book analyzes refugee policy responses over the past decade, and calls for specific reforms to make policy more proactive and comprehensive. It stresses that refugee policy needs to be more than the administration of misery, with responses calculated to help prevent or mitigate future humanitarian catastrophes.

In addition, his widely praised book calls for more international cooperation in advance of crises, humanitarian structures within governments, in particular the United States, and that international institutions involved in humanitarian action be reoriented to cope with new challenges.

Kofi Anan, secretary-general of the United Nations, calls Helton's book "new and highly original," one that "examines one of the most pressing issues facing the international community today -- the issue of refugees. The author provides a very clear review of humanitarian action over the past decade, focusing his analysis on forced displacement and on the role of the United Nations. Mr. Helton not only asks important questions, but also make ambitious policy recommendations. His book is a welcome contribution to the debate on humanitarian action, and will undoubtedly help us to manage humanitarian In 1994, Helton founded and then directed the Forced Migration Projects at the Open Society Institute. For 12 years prior to that, he directed the Refugee Project at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

He teaches refugee law and policy at the Columbia University Law School, and has taught courses on migration and forced displacement at the New York University School of Law and in the International Relations and European Studies Program at the Central European University in Budapest.

Helton has presented expert testimony in the U.S. courts and in Congress on issues concerning the rights of aliens and refugee protection. He has written more than 90 scholarly articles on refugee and migration issues, and is a member of more than 30 organizational boards in the field.

He received the 2002 Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs of the New York State Bar Association, and in 2001 received the Immigration and Refugee Policy Award of the Center for Migration Studies. Other awards Helton has received include the Ninoy Aquino Refugee Recognition Award conferred by the President of the Republic of the Philippines and the Public Interest Award of the NYU Law Alumni Association.

His presentation is sponsored by UB's Baldy Center Program on International and Comparative Legal Studies and the Buffalo Human Rights Law Review.

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