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Refugee Policy is a Realists Nightmare: The Case of Southeast Asia

Chen Chen Lee

Abstract

Although Southeast Asia has experienced one of historys most complex and massive displacement of populations during the Indo-China crisis, it remains one of the least advanced regions in terms of refugee law and practice. This paper explains the region's compassion fatigue towards refugees. States responses to refugee protection are limited by a prevailing sense of sovereign rights and communalism in the region, and the primordial need to safeguard national interest and state security. Other factors include lessons from the Indo-Chinese exodus, the underdevelopment of some economies, and a general poor record of human rights in the region.

Keywords

Refugees; Southeast Asia; Realism; State security

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