Urban Refugees

Urban refugee in Cameroon.
Urban refugees often seek self-sufficiency by establishing small businesses, like this one in Yaounde, Cameroon. Photo: Graeme Rodgers

Urban centers throughout the world are increasingly home to refugees, IDPs and asylum seekers. As forcibly displaced persons enter the city, they take a courageous step towards reorienting their lives, recalibrating their family and community relationships and redefining their futures.

Often, the ability of urban refugees to access protection, shelter, livelihoods, health care and education depends on broader networks and relationships, including with local citizens in the city of asylum.

Urban Refugee Report Cover
CWS launched a new refugee study on April 17, 2013, in New York

In 2012, CWS conducted an in-depth analysis of the relationships between urban refugees and host communities in Cameroon, Indonesia and Pakistan, in order to identify new opportunities for assisting urban refugees that build on the relationships that they establish with host communities.

Drawing on survey responses from more than 1,200 refugee households, as well as in-depth interviews and focus groups with both refugee and host community institutions, the study found that urban refugees' lives tend to improve over time and that these improvements are associated with more frequent and positive interactions with their hosts. It also reaffirmed the importance of strengthening refugees' rights and improving community infrastructure, employment opportunities and social services in order to improve the lives of all urban residents, both refugees and nationals alike.

Download our new report, Accessing Services in the City: Findings From a Comparative Study of Urban Refugee-Host Community Relations, which includes a overview of the study's findings and detailed recommendations for host governments, funding agencies, UNHCR and NGOs.

Full report   |   Executive summary   |   En Francais


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