Ben Rawlence, author of the upcoming book City of Thorns, write an op-ed in the New York Times about the largest refugee camp in the world, highlighting the crisis of living in protracted ‘limbo’ for hundreds of thousands of refugees living not only in Dadaab, but other parts of the world.
Dadaab was created as a short-term haven where the international community could house and feed displaced people until a “durable solution” could be found. Under the principles set out by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this meant refugees would stay in the camp until one of three things happened: They returned to their country of origin; were integrated into their new host country, in this case, Kenya; or were offered resettlement to a third country, usually in Europe or the United States.
There are nearly 400,000 Somali refugees living in Dadaab for whom none of these outcomes is likely. They are among the 14 million refugees living in what the United Nations calls “protracted situations,” those in exile for more than five years. The global displaced population is now at 60 million, but this appalling number masks another crisis that has been brewing out of the headlines for the past decade: the explosion in protracted refugees.
Check out The Other Refugee Crisis (New York Times, 2015)