What are the links between the prolonged presence of refugee populations and fragile states? How can protracted refugee situations contribute to conflict, instability and effective peacebuilding? This article explores the challenges posed by protracted refugee situations to human rights and security. The question of refugees has been largely absent from the international political agenda and recent debates on peacebuilding. As a result, protracted refugee situations have mainly become the domain of humanitarian agencies.
Refugee populations are increasingly seen not as passive victims, but as active agents engaged in the politics of the country of origin, host country and region. Since protracted refugee situations are generally old problems that defy an immediate durable solution, they are often prone to donor fatigue and diminishing interest from international actors. This leaves host countries with fewer resources to address needs of refugees and respond to increased pressures on local environments and economics.