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In a new article in Third World Quarterly, Evan Easton-Calabria and Naohiko Omata critically examine the current extensive promotion of ‘self-reliance’ for refugees. They argue that the existing scholarship largely ignores the unsuccessful historical record of international assistance to foster refugees’ self-reliance and fails to discuss its problematic linkages to neoliberalism and the notion of ‘dependency’.

The article reveals that the current conceptualisation and practice of self-reliance are largely shaped by the priorities of international donors that aim to create cost-effective exit strategies from long-term refugee populations and minimise the cost of prolonged refugee situations. The authors argue that where uncritically interpreted and applied, the promotion of self-reliance can result in unintended and undesirable consequences for refugees’ well-being and protection.

The article is available to subscribers here: Panacea for the refugee crisis? Rethinking the promotion of ‘self-reliance’ for refugees

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