With the number of refugees growing exponentially throughout the world in the last few years, due to failed states, civil wars, and countless other devastating conditions, the need for informed policy is critical. This is what prompted research from the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs to launch their International Refugee Research: Evidence for Smart Policy. The study gathered data from government and non government agencies around the world, including USCRI, as well as agencies like the United Nations and UNHCR.
The International Refugee Research study comprehensively addresses the struggles refugees face after their migration begins, as well as the idiosyncrasies and complications associated with each experience.
Not only do refugees face violence in their home countries, which trigger their initial migration, but the journey they take is also fought with obstacles. Some of these are natural, such as difficult terrain and seas. Other times this is conflict en route such as smugglers, highwaymen, or other refugees. According to their study, “[refugees experience] significant mobility and mortality rates during the… journeys investigated…”
Every refugee experience is different, and this includes the way in which they are processed and/or resettled. This varies largely on the country in which they are received initially. And while the length of stay in any receiving country prior to resettlement is meant to be temporary, oftentimes it can last for decades.
The overall goal is for refugees to reach a level of integration. UNHCR considers a refugee integrated if they 1. enjoy human rights on par with the citizens of the country in which they are resettled, 2. they are self-reliant, able to provide for the family, and 3. participate in a social community without fear of prosecution or discrimination. This is role of organization such as USCRI.
Based on extensive research and findings, the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs makes a number o policy recommendations, for countries experiencing an influx of refugees, support and resettlement agencies, governments, as well as media and donor agencies. These recommendations were made with the belief that refugees are in need of protection, with protection measures tailored to their specific vulnerabilities and that policy should be made in cooperation with all agencies involved.
Read the full report’s findings and recommendations here.