Conflict Migration: Assessing the Approaches to Rehabilitation

Release Date: 
Thursday, October 23, 2014

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On World Refugee Day this year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people worldwide has exceeded 50 million people. Humanitarian organizations are currently struggling to address the needs of these displaced populations, due primarily to protracted armed conflict and other situations of violence. Existing legal, policy, and operational approaches to humanitarian protection are increasingly insufficient to keep up with patterns of conflict-related migration in North Africa and the Middle East, for example. Some argue that humanitarian interventions are slow and cumbersome, lacking in coordination, and overwhelmed by growing needs of the refugees. It is clear that without a better understanding of trends in mobility and factors of migration, current humanitarian practitioners will continue to be unable to respond to the evolving needs on the ground.

The recent increase in global displacement is largely driven by the conflict in Syria; 1 in 2 Syrians are now displaced, including over 6 million Syrians internally and more than 3 million registered as refugees (UNHCR). As the conflict in Syria endures, the international community and host nations face tremendous political, operational, and economic obstacles to addressing the long-term needs of Syrian refugees and regional host communities. There is also an increasingly urgent need to address refugees’ rehabilitation needs beyond emergency assistance.

Through conversations with experts and practitioners, this podcast will discuss current trends in conflict migration and approaches to the rehabilitation of displaced populations. In the first segment, Katherine Starup of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) examines the general patterns of migration and the challenges that agencies like the DRC are facing in their effort to meet the needs of refugees in a protracted crisis. In the second segment, Claude Bruderlein of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) discusses the ICRC's recent engagement with the issues of conflict migration, and the broader challenges that this issue presents to the humanitarian sector. And in the third and final segment, we speak with Niamh Murnaghan of the Norwegian Refugee Council and Melissa Phillips of the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat. Niamh and Melissa look at these issues in the specific context of the crisis in Syria, and examine how humanitarian actors in the region are working to meet the needs of the migrant population.

Key questions for discussion include:

  • Which factors contribute to displacement, and what are their implications for the humanitarian needs of conflict migrants? What are some of the structural causes that contribute to waves of mass migration?
  • What are the key components of a humanitarian response to meet the evolving needs and vulnerabilities of conflict migrants?
  • What is the current capacity and operational strategy of both humanitarian and development actors to address chronic refugee needs in Lebanon? How can they enhance their impact and outreach to plan for the needs of refugees over a longer time frame?

Expert Commentators:

  • Claude Bruderlein - Strategic Advisor to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Niamh Murnaghan - Country Director, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Lebanon
  • Melissa Phillips - Project Manager, Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Ethiopia
  • Kathrine Starup - Global Protection & Policy Advisor, Danish Refugee Council (DRC)


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