15 Int'l Migration Rev. 5 (1981)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv15 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Barry N. Stein
Silvano M. Tomasi

Traditionally viewed as localized, nonrecurring and isolated flows, refu-
gees and  refugee movements  stand singularly undefined and  notably
undocumented.  Today,  religious, ethnic and political conflicts, persecu-
tion, tyranny and war all combine to leave no region or continent without
   The  magnitude  and number  of these movements  is unknown. Data
vary by source and  definition, and journalism is too often deputed as
   Often rejected by both the countries of asylum and by the rest of the
international community,  refugees have  become, internationally, the
unwelcomed   guests. Initially, an economic burden to their host, refugees
are perceived to compete with the natives for scarce resources, and their
presence may  exacerbate or create racial, ethnic, religious or economic
conflicts. Sometimes, too, the host is more sympathetic to the country of
origin than to the refugees. Thus, when countries of asylum appeal for
international assistance, other states often feel no responsibility to share
the burden.
   Global  and unpredictable, but tragic in their persistent appearance,
refugee movements  have evoked a variety of governmental responses. In
the past, open lands and  free migration greatly eased the problem of
finding refuge. Refugees then were considered immigrants  and not  a
special class or problem. Today, however, refugees often have no place to
   Historically, the response of many states to the problem of unwanted
or disliked groups has been extermination, enslavement or expulsion.
While  these solutions have not changed greatly, the particular answer
chosen  has shifted over the ages. Although slavery, serfdom and other
forms of exploitative relationships have not been completely eradicated,
they are generally outlawed and  condemned.  Similarly, genocide and
extermination, while not yet methods of the past are, hopefully, no longer
viable options for a modern government. Expulsion, on the other hand, is
on  the rise.
   Adding   to the frequency of refugee movements   is the increasing
consciousness of ideological and ethnic differences. Formal ideologies,
especially political, religious or nationalistic ones, mark differences
among   people. Thus,  as sovereign  states have become increasingly

                                        IMR  Volume   15 No. 1     5

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