The economic life of Syrian refugees in camps
This research aims at examining the economic situations of Syrian refugees in camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.
According to UNHCR estimations, by the end of 2014, 59.5 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide. Of those, 14.4 million people are refugees (not including the 5.1 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA). Syrian refugees account for 3.88 million people. Half the Syrian population is currently displaced. In 2014 alone, the increase of people fleeing their countries is the highest since the end of World War II. The needs of protection and humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced people are huge and challenging. While international and national actors concentrate on immediate relief and assistance, little attention goes to improving the lives of refugees in camps. Most international organizations’ agendas and host countries' policies deal with refugees as a very temporary phenomenon. These temporary situations are increasingly lasting much longer. The average “duration of major refugee situation” is estimated to have increased to 17 years (UNHCR, 2004). With longer periods the international aid declines, coupled with restrictions on work and movement, the current polices and approaches are failing to find long-term solutions and are limiting refugees’ capabilities to pursue livelihood.
Despite the isolation of camps and non-preferable policies such as restriction to work and movement, a lot of refugees find strategies to pursue livelihood and some start their own businesses. This research looks at refugees resources be it remittance, aid or other forms like participating in income generating programs and others. It uses a similar framework of addressing shadow and informal economy to better understand how refugees survive in camps, what constraints they face, how they react to host country polices and the effects of aid on their own economic activities. Understanding how refugees allocate their resources and pursue livelihood has important policy implication as it allows improving the economic conditions of both refugees and host communities.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Löwenstein