By Karen Jacobsen. International Migration. February 2002. (Vol. 40, No. 5, pp. 95-123.)
This paper explores how long–term refugees pursue livelihoods, the impact this pursuit has on the human security of conflict–affected communities, and the ways in which international assistance can help. Refugees’ pursuit of livelihoods can increase human security because economic activities help to recreate social and economic interdependence within and between communities, and can restore social networks based on the exchange of labour, assets and food. When refugees are allowed to gain access to resources and freedom of movement, and can work alongside their hosts to pursue productive lives, they would be less dependent on aid and better able to overcome the sources of tension and conflict in their host communities.
The paper identifies how humanitarian programmes working with national governments can increase economic security and shore up the respective rights of both refugees and their host communities. Today, relief interventions are no longer expected solely to save lives in the short term, but also to lay the foundation for future development and to promote conflict resolution.