David Miliband: allow refugees to become productive citizens

BBC interview with David MilibandOver the weekend, David Miliband – president of the International Rescue Committee and former British foreign secretary – spoke to the BBC about the need for a “new deal” to handle the number of refugees and the long length of time they are (on average) spending in camps.

“The new deal, the new bargain is that a small number of people – probably up to 10% of the most vulnerable refugees – are relocated to the West.

“But then the large majority of people, the only real hope for them is to become productive residents of the countries that they’ve fled to.”

Miliband’s proposal is that the concept of refugee camps can be eliminated if people arriving in countries are given residency and allowed to work.

“That’s a massive call on the countries concerned, but if we can ensure they get international financial support and build up their economies then it becomes a chance to avoid situations like Dadaab.”

Kenya recently announced that Dadaab refugee camp (which houses 330,000 people) and another similarly sized camp would be shut “within the shortest time possible”.

The question remains whether any the international processes could be put in place to give countries confidence to open their doors to settlement and work?