This website was created as a part of the 'Unlocking crises of protracted displacement for refugees and internally displaced persons' research project, a collaboration by the Refugee Studies Centre, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) /Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).
It draws together a range of documents and other resources, aiming to provide information for those working on or interested in protracted displacement. The definition of the term 'Protracted Refugee Situation' used on this website follows that of the UNHCR, referring to situations in which refugees have been in exile for five years or more since their initial displacement, and in which immediate prospects for solutions are bleak.
A number of case studies were selected as offering insights into individual PRS. On the one hand, the website provides insights into historical cases of PRS. Three different situations from three continents and varying time periods were chosen. All are characterised by important successes in mobilising international cooperation on the displacement crises, and the achievement of durable solutions for those refugees in protracted displacement as a result.
On the other hand, ongoing Protracted Refugee Situations are presented. The selection of contemporary cases has been made on the basis of the most recent UNHCR list of all PRS, dating from 2008. A number of limitations of the case selection and statistics presented throughout the website should be acknowledged.
Before 2008, UNHCR defined PRS as only those situations which affected 25,000 refugees or more. While this criterion has been dropped since then, it remains the backdrop of most information used on this website. Moreover, UNHCR excluded Palestinians under UNRWA's mandate from its statistics on PRS. To mitigate this limitation, additional PRS which were deemed particularly significant were added to the 2008 list - the Rohingya in Bangladesh, Colombians in Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama, and Palestinians in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
More significantly perhaps, the statistics and cases presented on this website refer exclusively to refugees and do not include internally displaced persons (IDPs). Most of the more than 27 million IDPs worldwide are trapped in protracted displacement, and face difficulties and challenges which are very similar to those faced by refugees in protracted refugee situations. Given that the resources and time available to create a website on PRS were limited, the inclusion of IDPs was beyond the scope of this project. For more information about internal displacement visit the IDMC website.
Next to the case studies, a range of themes and policy issues are presented. They were chosen due to their particular relevance for humanitarian and political actors in responding to Protracted Refugee Situations. Introducing specific themes on this website serves to provide information and further resources for some of the challenges most commonly associated with protracted displacement. It is acknowledged that there might be other issues of significance in these situations, and the list of themes presented is by no means intended to be exhaustive.
The website also draws attention to information regarding other relevant initiatives on protracted displacement.
This website was created by staff at the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre:
- Gil Loescher: Visiting Professor, Refugee Studies Centre
- Heloise Ruaudel: Formerly Policy Programme Manager, Refugee Studies Centre
The Refugee Studies Centre would like to thank its former colleagues, Sarah Taylor, John Pilbeam and Nina Perkowski for developing the website ; James Milner, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, at Carleton University and RSC Research Associate for his advice and Sarah Deardorff Miller, RSC Research Assistant for her support.