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Working with refugees and asylum seekers

Visiting Scandinavian countries in the 1980s in the course of my International Red Cross work when Western European countries were all receiving large influxes of asylum seekers, I was told by recently-recruited young staff taken on to man asylum seeker centres that in what was really a crisis situation they did not have adequate training – or any training - to do their job. It seemed absolutely essential to devise a handbook that could be easily read, its recommendations easily carried out. A staff member of the Swedish Red Cross, Judit Horvath-Lindberg, and I set about drafting Working with refugees and asylum seekers, a slim book printed and distributed by what was still called “The League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies” (now the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies). The handbook was subsequently translated into other languages.

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