This special issue of FMR has been produced in collaboration with the Migration Policy Institute, Washington DC. We felt that the implications for refugees and IDPs of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the events which followed were so significant that they warranted changing our publishing schedule to accommodate this additional issue. It is perhaps too soon to define the broad historical significance of 11 September 2001. However, for refugees and internally displaced persons, as for those who work with them or who study forced migration, it is already clear that the terrorists’ strikes on the United States on 11 September hit hard at certain fundamentals. There is a new sense of vulnerability in the West, and the ensuing ‘war on terrorism’ has caused new obstacles to be put in place for people seeking asylum outside their own countries, tempting governments into labelling any forceful opposition as ‘terrorism’.