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Between protracted and crisis displacement: Policy responses to Somali displacement

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Two decades after the collapse of the Somali Republic, the country’s regions still suffer chronic political uncertainty, violence and high levels of displacement. Since 2006, protracted displacements that began in the 1990s have been overlaid by new crises associated with severe drought, political violence and governance failures. The current situation, which involves both internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees, is widely acknowledged as among the worst in the world, both in terms of the number of people affected and the extent of their humanitarian and protection needs.

The aim of the workshop was to facilitate discussion about current and future policy responses. To do so, it drew on an overview of global policy on protracted displacement and a case study from Somalia. Both pieces of research were carried out earlier this year by Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). Their work was funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While policymakers grapple with emergency responses to the current crisis, longer-term approaches are often neglected. The workshop deliberately focused on longer-term strategies that aim towards more durable solutions and address the protracted nature of much displacement.

The event brought together international organisations including donors, UN agencies, human rights groups and NGOs in a relatively small forum to explore how their actions and advocacy contribute to addressing Somali displacement. Twenty-five people participated, and Chatham House rules were observed to encourage a free exchange of ideas. This report provides a brief overview of the themes explored and goes on to present the main outcomes of the workshop, laying out proposals for policy development.