Refugees and encampment

Question

In what contexts, and in response to what drivers and arguments, have host countries shifted from an encampment to a more relaxed refugee policy regime? What evidence is there that will help us compare and contrast the differing impacts on hosts between camps and other ways of managing refugees?

Summary

This helpdesk report discusses the important question of shifting policy on refugees from encampment to other models. It particularly focuses on what contexts, and in response to what drivers and arguments, have host countries shifted from an encampment to a more relaxed refugee policy regime. Several examples of governments moving from encampment to other methods are included as case studies in this report as well as the reasons behind this policy decision. It also considers the impact of these refugee hosting choices on hosts.

Section 2 focuses on factors that affect the success of hosting refugees outside of camp situations. It includes arguments for and against a more relaxed refugee regime and information on the alternatives to camps.

There are not that many examples of a government shifting from encampment to a more relaxed regime, however some examples are discussed in section 3, including Casamance refugees in Gambia and refugee hosting in Ghana, Gambia, Uganda and Lebanon. Where possible, each case study includes information on the situation, why this regime was chosen as a hosting mechanism, the impact of this on hosts and the impact on refugees. There are, however, many examples where encampment was not the primary solution, for example Afghans in Pakistan, and Sierra Leone and Liberia refugees in Guinea in the mid-1990s and some information is also provided on these too.

Section 4 includes more general information on the impact on hosts and refugees of noncamp hosting situations, this is only information that was not included within the case studies.

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Suggested citation

Grant, C. (2016). Shifting policy on refugees from encampment to other models. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies