Michael Kagan is co-director of the Immigration Clinic at the William S. Boyd School of Law.
On May 19, Professor Kagan participated in a interview with CBC Radio’s The Current for a segment titled “Rethinking refugee camps: New solutions for human crises” (2:23 mark). The segment is part of the radio’s By Design series and explores the push to rethink refugee camps.
During the interview, Professor Kagan shared his thoughts on comments made by Steven Corliss from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its effort to lead and coordinate international action to protect and improve the quality of life for refugees worldwide.
“What UNHCR is trying to push governments to think about is beyond the first day of the refugee crisis,” Professor Kagan said. “On the first day, it’s natural to think about where we’re going to put people and how we’re going to feed them. But we need to start thinking about where the kids are going to go to school, where people are going to work, where will they be five years from now. As he’s (Steven Corliss) saying, UNHCR is straddling a very delicate balance here in the sense that they want to push the agenda away from camps but they are working with governments that are very much devoted to marginalizing refugees this way. And they need to persuade – the world needs to persuade – many governments that security would actually be better, the economy would actually be better if refugees were not left marginalized and not every government is persuaded of that because there’s often a xenophobic reaction, a fear reaction, to large numbers of people from foreign countries coming…”
The Current is Canada’s most listened to radio program incorporating a variety of perspectives, ideas and voices, with a fresh take on issues affecting Canadians today, including politics, business, culture, justice, science, and religion.
Professor Kagan spent a decade developing legal aid programs for refugees in the Middle East. He co-directs the Immigration Clinic at the Boyd School of Law.