Forced to Flee

Forced to Flee : Human Rights and Human Wrongs in Refugee Homelands

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"The Modern Refugee Era" began with the end of World War II. An extensive literature has been created on the issue of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons during this period. While much of this has focused on refugee "flight" and "post-flight," Forced to Flee uniquely looks at the "pre-flight" environment and the factors contributing to human rights violations therein. It is due to these abuses that many people flee their homelands. Author Peter W. Van Arsdale presents first-hand fieldwork conducted over a 30-year span in six refugee homelands ranging from Sudan to Bosnia. This expert research bridges the emergent refugee and human rights regimes, while addressing theories of obligation, justice, and structural inequality. Van Arsdale also deftly tackles the difficult ideas of compassion, suffering, and evil, and introduces the concept of "pragmatic humanitarianism." Forced to Flee is a comprehensive study that should be of great interest to scholars and practitioners of anthropology, sociology, social work, political science, and environmental studies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 157.5 x 231.1 x 20.3mm | 476.28g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739112333
  • 9780739112335

Review quote

The lives that Van Arsdale so eloquently describes in Forced to Flee... serve as an important reminder of the real trauma and 'spectacular violence' that many victims of human rights violations have suffered. His profound respect for those who have been subjected to the ugliest and most cruel forms of human interaction forms the basis for his approach to pragmatic humanitarianism. Where much has been made of the need to Do No Harm and to preserve neutrality, Van Arsdale's approach instead suggests that committed, compassionate, and constructive engagement to alleviate suffering is not only possible, it is essential. -- Laura Hammond, University of Reading With lucidity, compassion, and impeccable scholarship, Van Arsdale deconstructs evil, examining human rights abuses in Africa, Asia, Central America, and Europe. Are these catastrophes inevitable? Perhaps not. Van Arsdale elucidates the historical context and social structures underlying the world's tragedies. If human agency causes these tragedies, then human agency can stop them. "Forced to Flee" is an idealistic book, yet it is also an eminently practical one, as the solutions that Van Arsdale offers are both "morally possible" and based on real experience. An engrossing book for human rights activists, and, indeed, anyone who cares about stopping suffering wherever it occurs. -- Sarah Combs, Rocky Mountain Survivors Center Peter Van Arsdale has spent his career not only studying, but also living and breathing in shocking, violent, and complex refugee communities around the globe. This masterwork will impact refugee studies, giving us new and more effective paradigms for understanding the causes of flight and the role of the researcher in the midst of human suffering. Most importantly, it teaches us the true meaning of the term "human rights," and compels us to take action. -- Darby Stapp, Hanford Cultural Resources Laboratory Students will appreciate these well-written case studies. Recommendeddddd -- J. Hein, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire CHOICE This remarkable book explores the fuzzy area where legal definitions of humanity and rights end, and where history and context shape emergent human rights. It does not shy away from speaking truth to power. Van Arsdale's considerable authority comes from years of dedicated work and personal engagement in the very situations he details. The resulting narratives are moving portraits of people navigating terror, and finding courage for the future. They are simultaneously depressing, horrible, hopeful, heroic, and always eye-opening. -- Doug Henry, University of North Texas Students will appreciate these well-written case studies. Recommended -- J. Hein, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire CHOICE
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About Peter W. Van Arsdale

Peter W. Van Arsdale is senior lecturer at the Graduate School of International Studies and faculty advisor at the Center On Rights Development at the University of Denver.
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Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Ideas that Work Chapter 2 Papua and the Issue of Enclave Development Chapter 3 Ethiopia and the Issue of Terror Chapter 4 Bosnia and the Issue of Concentration Camps Chapter 5 El Salvador and the Issue of Disappearance Chapter 6 Sudan and the Issue of Genocide Chapter 7 Palestine and the Issue of Internal Displacement Chapter 8 Conclusion: Interventions that Work
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