Why the international community is failing urban refugees

Think tank: IIED

Author(s): Lucy Earle

September 26, 2023

This report from UK think tank IIED looks at four ‘myths’ about protracted displacement.

This paper challenges decision makers’ and humanitarian practitioners’ reliance on stereotypes about protracted displacement. It questions received ideas about camps and about displaced people’s experiences in towns and cities. It is structured around four such ‘myths’, examining each in turn, before discussing the lived realities refugees face, especially when seeking informal work in urban areas. These four myths maintain the status quo in funding and programming priorities that privilege camps, and that prevent hundreds of thousands of displaced people from finding more dignified, productive and meaningful lives in urban areas. It is time to switch to in situ support within urban areas, and to improve conditions for both interally displaced people/refugees and local populations working in the informal sector.