On public lectures: Navigating Nakivale @ RCC

Morten Bøås gave a lecture at the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre on “Navigating Nakivale: the borderland economy of a refugee camp” on 13 November 2015.

The talk focused on how the combination of conflict + different types of interventions produces outcomes: “what matters is not only the cards you were dealt, but your ability to play them”.

It was his introductory remarks about the current status of refugees worldwide that caught my attention, @17:30 —

So it’s a combination of the fact that some places are completely full, and the local integrative capacity has been completely overloaded for too long. And we have contributed to this by underfunding the agencies who could have, at least in theory, contributed against this. And in addition, the conflicts that produce refugees do not come to a conclusion.


Bøås goes on to issue a warning call: If Uganda forcibly closed Nakivale, if Kenya forcibly closed Dadaab, if Lebanon expelled all Syrians — what would happen? Everyone needs to pay attention to the local + regional areas that have absorbed the majority of the world’s refugees.

Thus, the current refugee crisis is really global: “not a European crisis, or Norwegian, or Northern Norwegian, or Storstog refugee crisis. Only a very very few can afford to take these routes,” aiding the development of a “hierarchy of suffering”. Those left behind in camps must not be forgotten.