From the Editors

Preventing displacement is obviously a worthwhile objective. Being displaced puts people at a higher risk of being both impoverished and unable to enjoy their human rights. Such a situation is worth preventing – but not at any cost.

People know that displacement brings with it risks and vulnerabilities such as loss of land and work, homelessness, food insecurity, health risks, loss of access to common resources such as education, and possibly destruction of social networks upon which people depend, particularly during a crisis. “The effects of displacement can last a lifetime and beyond, damaging the prospects of future generations,” says Valerie Amos in the opening article. “We can do more to prevent displacement and the suffering it brings.” It is important, however, to preserve the possibility of displacement when that is a choice, or indeed a necessity, and it is also worth remembering that two of the three traditional durable solutions – return and resettlement – both involve further displacement.

Addressing the causes of displacement – such as violent conflict, housing that cannot withstand a natural disaster, or a government that cannot guarantee a sustainable infrastructure – is the focus of some of the articles in this issue of FMR. Others look at how to manage situations that might cause displacement so as to make staying a better option. And yet others look at the legal and institutional context within which all this occurs.

We would like to thank Dina Abou Samra and Simon Bagshaw (UNOCHA) and Josep Zapater (UNHCR) for their invaluable assistance as special advisors on this issue’s feature theme. We are also very grateful to the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, UNOCHA, Lex Justi and Refugees International for their funding support for this issue.

This issue of FMR also includes a number of articles about disparate aspects of forced migration: North Koreans in China, East Africans adapting to the UK, slum evictions in Tanzania, the Nansen Initiative, cultural orientation for resettlees to the US, making work safe for refugee women, the Rohingya, new initiatives in communications technology, and a new methodology for assessing the costs and impacts of displacement.

The full issue is online at in html, pdf and audio formats.

A 4-sided expanded contents listing, FMR41 Listing, with introductory sentences and links to each article online, is available in print and online at

We welcome your help in disseminating this issue as widely as possible. Please post links to it, add it to your resources lists, Tweet about it, ‘like’ our Facebook page and do anything else that will raise awareness of its contents. We encourage you to post online or reproduce FMR articles but please acknowledge the source and provide the original website link.

Unfortunately, for financial reasons, we are only able to print copies of this issue in English, rather than in all four of our usual languages. However, the French, Arabic and Spanish editions will be available online in html format, and the 4-sided contents summary (FMR41 Listing) will be available in all four languages in pdf format for reading online or printing off. We do apologise for any inconvenience, and expect issues of FMR in 2013 to be printed in all four languages. Meanwhile, please share the links to the French, Arabic and Spanish sections of our website with any colleagues who might find them useful:


Forthcoming issues:

  • FMR 42, due out April 2013, will focus on ‘Sexual orientation and gender identity and the protection of forced migrants’. Details at
  • FMR 43, due out May 2013, will focus on ‘Fragile states and forced migration’. Call for articles online at Deadline for submissions: 7th January 2013.
  • FMR 44, due out September 2013, will focus on ‘Detention and deportation’. Call for articles online at  Deadline for submissions: 15th April 2013.


FMR’s 25th Anniversary

November 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of FMR and its predecessor, RPN. In recognition of this, we are putting together a collection of articles that will look back over 25 years of debate, learning and advocacy for the rights of displaced and stateless people – see back cover for details or visit   

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With our best wishes

Marion Couldrey and Maurice Herson

Editors, Forced Migration Review


Opinions in FMR do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, the Refugee Studies Centre or the University of Oxford.
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