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A Network Society Communicative Model for Optimising the Refugee Status Determination System



The book “A Network Society Communicative Model for Optimising the Refugee Status Determination System” is another important contribution by Professor and Researcher Andrea Pacheco Pacífico. This woman, who has more than two decades dedicated to the study of issues related to the institute of refuge, presents us with a work that touches on key elements for the protection of this right that represented a real civilizational advance for humanity, but, at the same time, the need for adjustments and advances capable of providing protection to today’s refugees for a situation that, according to data provided by the UNHCR itself, has been growing in recent years.
The book aims to analyse the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) in general, in order to locate the reader on the development of the theme, the forms and actors responsible for its application, and, in the last chapter, to present suggestions for improving the RSD system developed around the world.
This structure, in a theme so closely linked to the refugee debate around the world, may make it seems that the book is aimed only at scholars and experts on the subject, but, with great didactic capacity, the author makes it possible for even people who are just beginning to study the subject to appropriate her ideas and teachings, because one of the main merits of the work is to transform a difficult technical subject into something fully understandable for audiences of different levels in terms of depth of knowledge of the subject.
In a way, the book represents the way in which the researcher has been engaged in relation to her research objective throughout her life, because, through her personal and institutional links with the main centers for refuge studies in the world, she is able to brilliantly bring these teachings and disseminate them throughout Brazil, even to regions where the knowledge and relevance of the theme had not yet presented itself in such a striking way as today. It may also provide training and knowledge to several people who can now act in a capable manner in a scenario in which the refuge institute has embraced more and more people.
Nevertheless, to achieve this merit, Andrea makes use of a deep scientific rigor related to the subject, in the sense of presenting it with some of the main scientific references on the issue, accompanied by a deep knowledge of practical realities that allow the exposure of the measures adopted literally around the world. At the same time, it establishes comparisons that facilitate to those interested in the issue the real understanding of what is being discussed.
The subtlety with which she quotes and describes the main points of various documents and manuals created by UNHCR and other authorities may seem like an easy exercise to do, which it is not, since the author’s merit is precisely to facilitate the understanding of a scientific repertoire formed by many years of deep dedication to the subject.
In addition, the text provides several elements that mark these 70 years of development of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, while touching on sensitive issues and provided by the historical moment we are living, such as the Venezuelan diaspora, in which the author presents considerations on practical responses made by UNHCR, by States, by Civil Societies entities, among others. History functions as the descriptive element of a picture of things that reach the present day with interesting responses, but, at the same time, requires adjustments.
In order to point out the suggested advances, the researcher dialogues in a very didactic way with some of the main exponents of the topic and of the contemporary social and legal approaches, managing to extract the main elements of the construction of these intellectuals and researchers in order to justify the proposal that is even present in the book’s title. Beyond the debate at the theoretical level, there is an example through the good practices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which could guide UNHCR’s own actions towards the improvement of RSD in general.
There is no doubt that the work will become an important academic and practical reference for the development of one of the central axes of refugee protection, the RSD, in another relevant contribution of this research that consolidates in works like this one, a very relevant trajectory for the theme.

Boa Vista, 18th September, 2021
Prof. Dr. João Carlos Jarochinski Silva
Federal University of Roraima

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