Refugees, Regionalism and Responsibility
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Refugees, Regionalism and Responsibility

Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

Regional cooperation is sometimes seen as the answer to refugee movements. This book examines whether regional arrangements have resulted in protection and durable solutions for refugees and how responsibility for refugees has been shared at the regional level. Posing critical questions about responsibility-sharing and regionalism, the book is a timely contribution on an issue garnering increasing attention as a result of maritime arrivals in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia.
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Chapter 6: The International Conference on Central American Refugees

Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley


This chapter examines the 1989 International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA). CIREFCA aimed to provide durable solutions for over two million refugees and other displaced persons in the Central American region. Formed in response to the displacement caused by civil wars and economic crises, and as part of a broader peace process in the region, the arrangement aimed to provide support to a mix of migrant groups: refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and, uniquely, ‘externally displaced persons’. This chapter explores the extent to which this arrangement led to short and long term protection dividends for these groups in the region, and how regionalism was manifested in the arrangement.

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