The system to protect the world’s refugees is often failing the people it serves. For World Refugee Day, we examine and evaluate different forms of participation and make recommendations for policy action.
Refugees must take dangerous routes to find protection. When they arrive, they often find themselves in extended limbo and unable to thrive. Allowing refugees to meaningfully participate in policies and programmes that affect them is an important means of arriving at better solutions.
In the last five years, many steps have been taken to integrate the unique knowledge and perspectives of refugee communities in protection policymaking. A new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report, which is part of MPI’s and the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Beyond Territorial Asylum Initiative, critically assesses the various models of refugee participation that have emerged. Uwezo Ramazani, author of the report, who has himself experienced displacement, writes:
“Refugee engagement still needs a greater push to move away from symbolism and tokenism and to instead meaningfully involve refugee communities in policy decisions that affect them."
On World Refugee Day, as we honor the courage of strength of refugees, we should also be thinking of how we more meaningfully engage refugees in decisions that affect their lives. Co-designing and co-owning policies and programmes, rather than refugee participation in processes led by others, should be the way forward, Uwezo Ramazani argues.