Protracted displacement

FMR 33

Increasingly, growing numbers of displaced people remain displaced for years, even decades. This latest issue of FMR includes 29 articles by academic, international and local actors which assess the impact of such situations on people’s lives and our societies and explore the ‘solutions’ – political, humanitarian and personal.

The issue also includes a spotlight on the ‘internment camps’ in Sri Lanka and a mini-feature on collective centres, plus a selection of articles on other aspects of forced migration such as rights and responsibilities in Darfur, smuggling in South Africa, IDP health needs in Colombia, climate change agreement talks, peace mediation, and community resilience in East Timor.


The Sri Lankan government’s current policy of indefinitely interning IDPs is in violation of their human rights.

Gil Loescher and James Milner

The likelihood that those in protracted exile may spend significant amounts of time either in camp-like situations or unprotected in urban settings often has negative implications for their human rights and livelihoods as well as for states’ security.

Todd Wassel

The return and relocation of IDPs in the East of Sri Lanka offer lessons on the critical issues that must be addressed if the housing rights of IDPs in the North are to be respected. 

Thais Bessa

The case of Colombia reflects both neglected protracted displacement situations and gaps in current research.

Abebe Feyissa Demo

An Ethiopian community’s response to protracted displacement.

Dayna Brown and Kathryn Mansfield

This article offers insights from people who have lived in protracted displacement situations, based on evidence gathered by the Listening Project.

Anna Lindley

Can displacement shocks offer opportunities to change the parameters of response to protracted refugee situations?

Susanne Schmeidl

Despite the return of almost five million Afghan refugees to Afghanistan since 2002, about three million still remain abroad. What are their prospects of return? More to the point, what is the prospect of those who have returned remaining in Afghanistan?

Erin Mooney and Naveed Hussain

Fourteen years after the war’s end, renewed national and international efforts are needed to complete the work of securing durable solutions for IDPs.

Nadine Walicki

To bring an end to displacement for some 2.5 million IDPs in Europe, governments’ focus on return must be broadened to include support and assistance for local integration and settlement elsewhere in the country.

Natalie Ondiak and Omer Ismail

The impact of displacement on Darfuris is especially severe because of the genocidal nature of the violence. It not only affects those millions who are currently displaced but will continue to shape the lives of Darfuris for generations to come.

Adèle Dion

In response to the complex nature of protracted refugee situations, the Government of Canada is developing a ‘whole-of-government’ approach built on its specific areas of expertise and policy priorities.

Marjon Kamara

Almost 98% of the refugees in Africa today could be considered as being in a protracted refugee situation. We need concerted efforts to draw as many as possible of these to a close.

Alistair Boulton

The ECOWAS Free Movement Protocols provide a basis for long-term refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia to move on.

Jessie Thomson

The comprehensive solution currently underway for the so-called ‘1972 Burundian refugees’ in Tanzania can offer important lessons for other protracted refugee situations.

Patricia A Ongpin

Studying the impact that a refugee population has on its host country’s economy is important when assessing and developing government refugee strategies, particularly in protracted refugee situations.

Indira P Ravindran

A Sri Lankan refugee community provides spontaneous and sustained assistance to its Indian host community in their hour of need.

Peter Loizos

Long-term study of displaced Cypriots suggests that most have transcended the shock of displacement.

Miloš Teržan and Dejan Kladarin

By paying particular attention to the promotion of livelihoods and self-reliance, UNHCR hopes to be able to phase out the long-standing assistance programme.

Gavin David White

More effective planning and investment are needed in Peru in order to meet the needs of the country’s long-term IDPs and to foster sustainable economic development

Tammi Sharpe and Silvio Cordova

Despite their knowledge and experience, and their vested interest in resolving conflicts in their countries, refugees are not yet being fully engaged as peace advocates.

Sue Azaiez

When there is no clear end to displacement in sight, there is a great need to support both short- and long-term coping mechanisms which promote self-sufficiency.

Jenny Perlman Robinson and Shogufa Alpar

Displaced youth urgently need education and training in marketable skills so that they can be participants and leaders in the rebuilding of their communities.

Themba Lewis

Belonging to a gang is a rejection of given notions of refugee life in Cairo as well as an alternative outlet for expression.

Maher Bitar

Despite their history of protracted and fragmented displacement, we should not mistake Palestinians for vulnerable, powerless and minor actors in their own tragedy.

Andrew Golda

The use of Housing Purchase Vouchers offers IDPs durable housing and community integration, while allowing them an opportunity to choose their own homes and their own durable solution.

Edward Benson

Despite the fact that a long-term solution to the extended displacement of Sahrawi refugees still seems far off, there is at least now an opportunity for some Sahrawi families to be briefly reunited.

Giulia Scalettaris

The way that mobility is dealt with in respect of protracted refugee situations shows a gap between social practices and international policies.

Jean-François Durieux

"Protracted situations cannot and should not be allowed to fester.”

General Articles
Damian Lilly

Collective centres are often overlooked as a settlement option for IDPs in displacement crises.

Erin Mooney

Though intended as temporary places of shelter, collective centres often become a place where IDPs or refugees stay for years, even decades.

Katherine Reyes

A combined UN-military-police-humanitarian initiative has been promoting civic rights and responsibilities among IDPs in order to increase security throughout Kalma camp and its surroundings.

Tesfalem Araia and Tamlyn Monson

The construction of an imaginary borderland is key to smuggling along the South Africa/Zimbabwe border.

Andrés Quintero L and Tegan A Culler

Providers of reproductive health care to displaced communities in Colombia need to plan not only for the immediate needs of IDPs but also for their longer-term needs.

Vikram Kolmannskog

In Copenhagen in December 2009 states are expected to arrive at an ‘agreed outcome’ on climate change action.

Kavita Shukla

In order for the protracted displacement of the IDPs in Puttalam to end, the government and humanitarian community will have to prioritise this group

Andrew Solomon

The need to protect the rights of persons displaced by conflict and to find durable solutions to their displacement is inextricably linked to achieving a viable and sustainable peace.


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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