Living in Limbo: Conflict-Induced Displacement in Europe and Central Asia

Living in Limbo: Conflict-Induced Displacement in Europe and Central Asia

Living in Limbo: Conflict-Induced Displacement in Europe and Central Asia

Living in Limbo: Conflict-Induced Displacement in Europe and Central Asia

Synopsis

The conflicts of the 1990s in Europe and the former Soviet Union left in their wake nearly 10 million refugees and internally displaced persons. Even where peace treaties or ceasefires have brought an end to open conflict, about half of those originally displaced remain, a decade later, in an uncertain status, with no immediate possibility of returning home.Long-term, conflict-induced displacement has created both conceptual and operational challenges for development agencies concerned with poverty reduction. 'Living in Limbo' analyzes the special nature of displacement-induced vulnerability along several dimensions, including material well-being, employment, shelter, and human and social capital. The study draws on the authors' field work as well as extensive review surveys, studies, and poverty assessments in 13 countries.A detailed analysis of the causes and characteristics of displaced vulnerability, 'Living in Limbo' provides pragmatic operational recommendations for policymakers and practitioners in both development and humanitarian agencies.

Excerpt

This study focuses on the situation of populations displaced by conflict in countries within the Europe and Central Asia region, notably the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, and Turkey. the displacement we examine resulted largely from the many conflicts that occurred during the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and U.S.S.R (the major exception being the large Kurdish displacement in Turkey). Since 1990, thirteen countries in the region have been affected by conflict-induced displacement through the generation of refugees or IDPs (internally displaced persons) from their own conflicts or the hosting of significant refugee populations from a neighboring country. Although the numbers are not always reliable, some 10 million people may have been displaced in the region during this period. As of this writing, perhaps 5 million remain displaced. That figure is high in both absolute and relative terms. in seven countries, the displaced currently either represent 5 percent or more of the population or constitute a group of at least 200,000. the regionwide numbers of displaced, while declining somewhat over the past few years, seem to be stabilizing at a relatively high level (see figure 1.1 below).

The complexity of understanding the degree to which dp conditions result from displacement or from other factors that affect host communities as well is exacerbated by the difficult economic and political situations in the host countries. Those countries include many of the region’s poorest. of the 10 states engaged in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) process in the region, 9 have been affected by conflict-induced displacement during the past decade. (Relatively better-off nations, such as Russia and Turkey, also host major displaced populations, generated by internal conflicts.) in addition, as recent political events and transitions in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Serbia demonstrate, a number of host countries face continuing problems of political instability and governance, challenges that limit the scope for administrative and political action.

Typically, when people speak of conflict-displaced populations, they think of a temporary phenomenon occurring during an active . . .

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