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Project News: TRAFIG publication on governing protracted displacement

3 February 2020

The international regime governing displacement shows a number of gaps, most notably with regard to (internally) displaced people who are not covered by the definition of refugee of the Refugee Convention. These protection gaps translate into solution gaps for displaced people.

In the TRAFIG Policy Brief 1/2020 under the title “Governing protracted displacement What access to solutions for forcibly displaced people?” the authors Marion Noack and Martin Wagner, both ICMPD and Carolien Jacobs from the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society, Leiden University give recommendations on governing protracted displacement on various levels.


The TRAFIG project specifically focuses on East Africa and the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania), the Middle East and South Asia (Jordan, Pakistan) as well as Europe (Greece, Italy, Germany). Based on the case of Serge, a displaced person from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the authors of TRAFIG Policy Brief 1/2020 discuss various layers of governance of displacement. As Serge mainly relies on his own in his situation, the publication shows various ways that could help displaced persons. In particular, the authors ask: “What solutions can Serge access within the broader region of the DRC? What solutions are accessible outside the country of origin? In the absence of solutions in the neighbourhood, what third-country solutions are there in Europe? Which rights do refugees have in Europe?”

  • The research of TRAFIG on governing protracted displacement comes to the following central findings and recommendations:
  • Multiple actors and multiple frameworks govern displacement globally and at a regional level.
  • The governance framework of displacement centres on the objective of providing protection.
  • Solutions are often lacking or are not tailored to the needs of the individual.
  • Legal and policy frameworks and humanitarian action in the field of displacement are not yet reflecting protracted displacement sufficiently.
  • Individuals make use of various pathways to access protection and find a livelihood for themselves.

The TRAFIG Policy Brief 1/2020 was published in the framework of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 research project “Transnational Figurations of Displacement” (TRAFIG) which investigates long-lasting displacement situations at multiple sites in Asia, Africa and Europe and analyses options to improve displaced people’s lives.

More information on the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project TRAFIG, can be found here.