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Dear Editor:
Like others, it is so difficult for me to write of Arthur's death, because it makes the loss real. Arthur was there at my own beginnings in refugee law and rights, and since then has been such a consistent presence and force. With many others (I dare not list for I will leave some out), he was in the leadership as the struggle for Haitian refugee rights unfolded in the late 70s and early 80s, and was a major proponent of international law, arguing that international law is relevant, part of our domestic law, in particular in the refugee field. Arthur was one of the very first to argue in court that indefinite detention of refugees was illegal under the Refugee Convention. He was one of the first in the our field to argue that international human rights treaty norms are binding, irrespective of direct, domestic incorporation. He organized a maverick pro bono program at the Lawyers Committee, which was critical to the political and judicial decision to end the first era of selective, discriminatory detention of Haitian refugees, in the early 1980s He entered every critical asylum policy debate over the past three decades and was exceptionally creative; he found and shaped the different organizational fora in which he did his work, from the Lawyers Committee to Soros to the Council on Foreign Relations. Forceful, reasoned and credible, Arthur combined advocacy and scholarship in all of his work. Arthur also was there for the individual people and cases too. I can remember my sister calling with a friend's difficult asylum case, and he intervened and helped quietly and successfully. For me, Arthur's legacy is a persistent and focused humanitarian vision for refugees. He never gave up. He just found new ways. He is a reminder to all of us that our legal and scholarly work is a complicated but hopefully in the end transformative public policy discussion, a conversation with our courts, with our politicians, with the American people, reminding them over and over again that refugees and migrants hold basic human rights, and that those rights are shared and universal.

Deborah Anker
Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic



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