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Global Displacement and the Implications for Refugees

More than 200 million people are estimated to be living outside their own countries, with millions more internally displaced within their own borders. Most of those living outside their countries have chosen to leave – but many have not. The more than 10 million refugees worldwide make up a small proportion of the displaced, but increasingly they are traveling in the same directions and using the same routes as migrants. As governments grapple with growing migratory movements on their borders, the challenge is to ensure that refugees who have been forced to flee their own countries are provided and have access to the international protection they deserve.

On April 23, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement hosted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, for an address on the growth in scale, scope and complexity of global mobility and its effects on refugees. Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) provided brief remarks and introduced High Commissioner Guterres.

Mr. Guterres began his term as UN High Commissioner for Refugees in June 2005. A former Portuguese prime minister, Guterres has spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as Portuguese prime minister from 1996 to 2002, during which time he was strongly involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.  Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) serves on the Helsinki Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe and co-chairs the Senate Human Rights Caucus. He is actively engaged in efforts to stop genocide in Darfur. 

Brookings Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Carlos Pascual moderated the discussion.  

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