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The spectacle of the governments of Australia, Indonesia, and Norway playing pass the parcel with 400 refugees, most of them Afghans, is not an edifying one... Yet the issues of responsibility, over which the three governments are arguing, are important ones which, left unsettled in this and other cases, could only worsen the prospects for all refugees in the longer run. For the truth is that when what agreement has been painfully achieved between nations on how to deal with refugees breaks down, the natural reaction is to erect even higher barriers than already exist.


Reprinted from Globalism: People, Profits and Progress: Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Canadian Council of International Law, 2002, 134-57, with permission of Kluwer Law International.