April 29, 2010

Helping Refugees

Host Marcia Franklin talks with Michel Gabaudan, the U.S. and Caribbean representative to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

April marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Refugee Act of 1980, which expanded the definition of a "refugee," set refugee quotas and created the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program to help refugees once they arrived.

More than 2.5 million refugees from more than 65 nationalities have been resettled in the United States since the Act went into operation. In the past decade, more than 6,500 refugees have arrived in Idaho, including more than 300 Iraqis in just the past year.

Franklin and her guest discuss the increasingly complex and even dangerous nature of the UNHCR's mandate to protect refugees and internally displaced people before they're resettled or are able to return home. They also talk about the challenges refugees face in their adopted countries.

The two also discuss efforts to assist Haitians devastated by the recent earthquake there, and why they are not considered refugees.

Mr. Gabaudan has served in his position since September 2006, and has worked for the UNHCR for more than 25 years in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Australia.