Refugee Integration: Syrian Refugees in Neighboring or Close to Neighboring Countries
Sy Dragon ’21, Los Angeles, California
Major: International Relations
At the end of 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recorded 26 million refugees, 73 percent of whom were hosted in neighboring countries. There are three durable solutions for refugees: integration, resettlement, and repatriation. Less than one percent of refugees are able to be resettled each year, and the protracted nature of domestic conflict in refugees’ home countries means repatriation is unlikely in the short, and often long, term. Yet local integration is rarely considered as the first or ideal option, leaving refugees to languish in camps in their host countries. Given the protracted nature of many conflicts and of refugees’ displacement, this system is under increasing criticism. By examining the efficacy of efforts to integrate Syrian refugees, this paper will argue that the option of integration combined with a right to work should be employed more. A common theme is that host countries with increased opportunities for refugees to access work and services have higher success rates of integration. Further, host countries that work together with the international community on long-term solutions tend to be more successful at integration than those focusing on short-term, unilateral implementations.