The Global South: Politics, Policy & Development
POLS 3560 – Fall/Winter 2011/2012 – Ananya Mukherjee-Reed
Lecture 2 – Understanding the Global South: The ‘Refugees’ – Sept 27
Forced Displacement: A Global Issue
- At the end of 2010, 43.7 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced by
conflict and persecution.
- UNHCR provides protection or assistance to 25.2 million people.
- Statelessness is estimated to have affected up to 12 million people by the end of
- 2 million people displaced by natural disasters and under the care of the
Where are most of the world’s refugees?
- Developing countries host four-fifth of the world’s refugees.
- The 49 least developed countries provided asylum to almost 2 million refugees.
- Pakistan, Iran, and Syria were the top 3 refugee hosting countries in 2010.
- Most refugees flee to neighbouring countries.
- The movement of refugees and internally displaced people by conflicts, natural or
environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine or development
- Conflict induced displacement: is caused by armed conflict, including civil war;
generalized violence; and persecution based on nationality, race, religion,
political opinion or social group.
- Disaster induced displacement: people displaced as a result of natural disasters
(e.g. earthquakes), environmental change (e.g. global warming) and human-
made disasters (e.g. industrial accidents).
- Development-induced displacement: people who are compelled to move as a
result of certain development projects (E.g. dams, roads, mining initiatives, etc.).
Who is a Refugee?
- Refugees are individuals and groups affected by forced migration, along with
asylum seeker and internally displaced individuals.
- Legal definition – A person who is outside his or her country of nationality or
habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her
race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political
opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of
that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.
Other Types of Forced Migrants
- Asylum seekers are people who have crossed an international border in search
of protection under the 1951 refugee convention but whose claim for refugee
status has not yet been determined. - Stateless people are individuals who are not considered a national by any state
(to be without nationality or citizenship).
The Origins of the Modern Refugee Regime
- The First World War, the disintegration of the Ottoman and Austrian-Hungarian
Empires, the Balkan wars, counterrevolutionary wars in Russia, etc. led to
massive human displacements.
- Nationalism and its drive to create ethnically and linguistically homogeneous
populations led to mass expulsions of minority groups.
- In 1921 the League of Nations high commissioner for refugees (LNHCR) was
- UNHCR was created after WWII in Europe as a response to the many displaced