Friday, March 05, 2010

Urban Areas and Displacement

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) published its Urban Refugee policy, titled 'UNHCR Policy on refugee protection and solutions in urban areas' in September 2009. The policy, from the time it was first introduced in 1997, has undergone numerous changes. The policy needs to be understood in the ever changing context of globalization where we witness rapid urbanization but also the fact that a large number of refugees live in urban areas as against the camps.

The objective of the policy is two fold, to 'ensure that refugees in the urban areas are protected and have access to basic necessities such as health care, shelter, protection from detention, arbitrary arrests, harassment and discrimination, legal protection, opportunities to work, have a good relationship with the local population and can benefit from voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement' and to 'ensure that the opportunities for the above rights to be fulfilled is made available to refugees by UNHCR and its Implementing partners' (from the Policy Document). It focuses on refugees in the urban areas in developing and middle-income countries and is covers both refugees who have been recognized by UNHCR and those that are not.

The latest Issue of the Forced Migration Review published in February 2010 focuses on displacement in urban areas, is titled 'Adapting to Urban Displacement'. As the title suggests, this is broader than relatively narrower issue of refugees and their protection in urban settings.The articles address some of the practical and policy issues that urban displaced people face and that affect providers of the support. They also reflect the diversity of analysis and geography, covering East Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.


Forced Migration Review said...

The Forced Migration Review issue on urban displacement is online at You can request a print copy by emailing

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