In This Review

African Refugees: Development Aid and Repatriation
African Refugees: Development Aid and Repatriation
Edited by Howard Adelman and John Sorenson
Westview Press/North York: York Lanes Press, 1994, 264 pp

Every refugee crisis is unique, but the cumulative experiences of host governments, relief and development agencies, and refugees in Africa's post-independence years have generated many broad lessons to guide the management of future crises. The authors in this valuable collection bring impressive expertise to their review of major policy alternatives such as spontaneous versus organized settlement, integration versus repatriation, development versus relief, top-down versus participatory crisis management. There are some truisms along the way, for example that humanitarian aid is never nonpolitical and that the capacity of the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees has become inadequate. But generally the analysis is enlightening and closely tied to contemporary cases. Two chapters draw an especially timely comparison between Rwandans' long-term successful integration in western Tanzania and failed resettlement in southern Uganda, leading in the early 1990s to their "voluntary repatriation" by force with all its horrendous consequences. The most important thing the rest of the world can do to solve refugee crises in Africa, the editors argue, is to foster democratic governments to replace the autocratic regimes that create refugees in the first place.