UNHCR, Policy on Alternatives to Camps (2014)
Announces that UNHCR will attempt to phase out refugee camps and replace them with local integration into the host country through efforts to expand freedom of movement, residence, and participation in the local economy.
Lucy Hovil, “With camps limiting many refugees, the UNHRC’s policy change is welcome” The Guardian (Oct. 2, 2014)
Describes the need for this policy change and the difficulties of implementing it.
Girish Gupta, “On Syrian border, refugee camp’s economic engines hum: Many here don’t want handouts, so they have created a working city” USA Today (Jan. 14, 2014)
Describes the Za’atari camp in Jordan, in which an improvised working city is developing with a sizable economy and large portions of the population earning an income.
Ian McClelland, “How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp,” NY Times Magazine (Feb. 13, 2014)
Discusses Turkey’s refugee camp in Killis and the major strides it has made through replacing tents with more permanent dwellings, paved streets, electricity, water, and even three grocery stores run by camp residents.
David Remnick, “The City of the Lost” The New Yorker (Aug. 26, 2013)
Reports on difficulties in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Self-Sufficiency and Innovative Solutions in Refugee Settlements:
Forced Migration Review, Innovation and Refugees (Sept. 2014 Edition)
Contains several articles describing innovative solutions to self sufficiency in refugee communities.
Alexander Betts, et al. Humanitarian innovation and protection, Univ. of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre (Nov. 2012)
Shows how innovative solutions can be developed by businesses and local communities, and how refugees themselves can improve upon current options.
Inge Brees, Refugee Business: Strategies of Work on the Thai-Burma Border Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 23.3 (2008)
Analyzes how restrictions on refugees work rights are leading to inventive strategies on the part of refugees and local businesses to work informally, and how expanding work rights would lessen negative consequences for both the refugees and the Thai host population.
Dr. Naohiko Omata, Refugee livelihoods in Kampala, Nakivala, and Kyangwali refugee settlements: Patterns of Engagement with the Private Sector, Univ. of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre (Sept. 2013)
Notes how refugees in Nakivale are granted access to free land to build shelter and to farm and discusses the various industries in which refugees in Africa are engaged.
Joseph Kofl Teye and Moses Kai-doz Yebleh, Living Without Economic Assets: Livelihoods of Liberian Refugees in the Buduburam Camp, Ghana (2014)
Documents the attempts of encamped refugees to pursue their livelihoods relying upon social networks.
Angharad Thomas and Gordon Wilson, Technological Capabilities in Textile Production in Refugee Camps, Journal of Refugee Studies vol. 9.2 (1996)
Assesses attempts by the government of Algeria to develop refugee self sufficiency through textile factories.
Oxford University’s Humanitarian Innovation Project
Links to various innovative solutions to improving livelihoods in refugee camps.
Danish Refugee Council, In Search of Protection and Livelihoods: Socio-economic and Environmental impacts of Dadaab Refugee Camps on Host Communities (Aug. 2010)
Explains how aid distributions to refugees have stimulated economic activity in Dadaab.
Economic Literature on the Benefits Refugees Can Bring to Host Countries:
Roger Zetter, “Are Refugees an Economic Burden or Benefit, Forced Migration Review, vol. 41 (2012)
Challenges the notion that refugees are a burden and observes how they can actually promote development in their host countries.
Alexander Betts, et al., Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions, Univ. of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre (June 2014)
Evaluates the economic impact of refugees on host countries and demonstrates that allowing refugees greater work rights would benefit host countries’ economies.
Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment, and Growth, The Journal of Economic Perspectives vol. 9.2 (1995)
David Card, Is the New Immigration Really So Bad? The Economic Journal (Nov. 2005)
Both studies indicate immigrants have little measurable impact on employment prospects or wage levels in host countries.
Katy Long, “Extending protection? Labour migration and durable solutions for refugees” UNHCR (Oct. 2009)
Describes how providing refugees with the freedom to move more freely in response to work opportunities would provide a temporary solution until voluntary repatriation or reintegration can occur.