Yesterday, Alexander Betts and Paul Collier discussed potential policy solutions to the global refugee crisis in the Guardian’s Politics Weekly podcast.
Betts states that, “Refugee camps continue to be the default response of the international humanitarian system, and they’re perfectly valid for the emergency phase, they provide basic needs, basic security.” However, he says, “the tragedy is they endure year after year.” The Dadaab camps in Kenya, for example, “host 350,000 Somalis and many of them have been there since they were opened in 1992.”
In refugee camps, people rarely have the right to work and rarely have freedom of movement, and are thus essentially imprisoned without dignity or hope. He argues, therefore, that “what we need to work towards is transforming that model to allow people the right to work, freedom of movement, basic socio-economic rights, because in the few instances where we see that…in countries like Uganda, it not only benefits refugees, it can benefit the host societies.”
Betts’ research in Uganda has demonstrated this benefit. But, as he says, “not every country is Uganda…so we need to be more innovative when we look to other countries that have greater constraints, greater political constraints…”
The discussion continues by addressing ways to tackle tensions around employment for host nationals and for refugees, for example through external investment to create jobs for both; and the need to update and adapt the global refugee system and the EU asylum system to better address today’s challenges.
Listen to the podcast here >>