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Since the early 1990s, the international response to refugee emergencies has focused on delivering humanitarian assistance to war-affected populations, and encouraging large-scale repatriation programmes in high-profile regions such as the Balkans, the African Great Lakes or, recently, Darfur and Chad. The majority of today’s over 12 million refugees, however, are trapped in protracted refugee situations. Such situations – often characterised by long periods of exile, stretching to decades for some groups – occur on most continents in environments ranging from camps to rural settlements and urban centres. In addition, a large proportion of the world’s internally displaced people, around 25m (about half of them in Africa), have been displaced for a decade or more.

More information


Journal article


International Institute for Strategic Studies

Publication Date



Summer 2005


153 - 174