Protracted refugee situations: the search for practical solutions
Gil Loescher, James Milner
Report description: The majority of today’s refugees have lived in exile for far too long, restricted to camps or eking out a meagre existence in urban centres throughout the developing world. Most subsist in a state of limbo, and are often dependent on others to find solutions to their plight. Their predicament is similar to that of the tens of thousands of refugees who stagnated in camps in Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. The High Commissioner for Refugees at the time, Gerrit van Heuven Goedhart, called those camps ‘black spots on the map of Europe’ that should ‘burn holes in the consciences of all those privileged to live in better conditions’. If the situation persisted, he said, the problems of refugees would fester and his office would be reduced to ‘simply administering human misery’. The issue of displaced persons in Europe was finally settled some 20 years after the end of the Second World War; today’s protracted refugee crises, however, show no signs of being resolved in the near future.