Conference Report: The Politics, Human Rights and Security Implications of Protracted Refugee Situations
The two-day workshop, sponsored by the Alchemy Foundation and the United Nations University, brought together a range of experts from UNHCR, the World Bank, NGOs, states and academia with the aim of developing a framework for comprehensive solutions to protracted refugee situations (PRSs). The eventual output from the workshop will be an edited volume and a policy briefing paper that is intended to influence states, intergovernmental organizations and the work of the new Peace-Building Commission. The workshop divided into two parts: the first day on thematic papers, and the second on case studies. The thematic papers considered the relationship between asylum policy and PRSs, historical precedents, durable solutions, the relationship between PRSs and conflict and security, and the roles of humanitarian actors, development actors, and civil society. The case studies included contributions on the situation of Afghan, Somali, Southern Sudanese, Palestinian, Bhutanese, and Burmese refugees. The papers themselves are to be published in book form by the middle of 2007. This summary highlights the main discussions and the way in which they have advanced the debate on PRSs. Reflecting the aim of the project, which is primarily to influence policy and to effect change, the summary divides into three areas: conceptual, normative and institutional, and political.