Political Participation of Refugees: Bridging the Gaps
A report of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
The political inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in decision-making, or the normative framework that enables or inhibits such participation, is largely left to the individual discretion of host or origin countries. There are a number of differing norms and practices that enable or inhibit asylum seekers and refugees from taking part in political life. Quite often, their opportunities for participation are rather limited, which in turn perpetuates their marginalized status in society. For this reason, there is a need for a wider debate among policymakers, academia, and international and regional organizations that explores the engagement of asylum seekers and refugees in political processes as a way to ensure greater social inclusion and strengthen democratic norms and practices.
This report focuses on eight host countries—Germany, Kenya, Lebanon, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda and the United Kingdom—and five countries of origin: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria. It offers comparative analysis on different mechanisms for formal and non-formal political participation.
The report offers a number of concrete and actionable recommendations for governments, political parties, civil society and international and regional organizations, which are directed towards making political participation more practical, and which in turn helps make democracy more inclusive.