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Many actual or potential host countries for refugees face serious challenges in integrating the refugees into the domestic labor markets. A primary concern is resistance from citizens in the host countries. Integrating refugees into host-country labor markets will continue to prove difficult if citizens do not see the benefits, or do not feel that they are adequately compensated for the expected costs.
At a high-level side event at the 74th UN General Assembly last week, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina put forward proposals for a sustainable and peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis. Her proposals centered on solutions in Myanmar that would allow for Rohingya to safely return home.
This Sunday marks two years since Myanmar’s military dramatically escalated its systematic campaign of violence against the Rohingya, causing over 700,000 of the long-persecuted and stateless population to flee to Bangladesh. Even if repatriation began tomorrow, estimates suggest a significant number of refugees would remain in Bangladesh over ten years from now. The international community and Bangladesh can’t afford to just plan for the short term.
There are over 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world, including about 40 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have moved because of conflict or other drivers, including disasters, economic instability, and development projects such as infrastructure construction. To support them in overcoming these challenges, policymakers should focus on helping IDPs achieve greater self-reliance. The best approach to doing so will depend in large part upon the extent to which IDP populations are based in urban or rural areas.
Bangladesh is hosting nearly one million Rohingya refugees—mostly crowded into in one of the country’s less-developed areas, Cox’s Bazar. A minority population in Myanmar, stripped of citizenship in the 1980s, the Rohingya have been denied access to education, meaningful livelihoods, and other basic rights for years. Now as refugees in Bangladesh, Rohingya need protection and support to secure health services, safety, food, education, and other opportunities.
Migration and displacement are among the greatest policy challenges of this century. Governance of the humanitarian system is at a crossroads, and key innovations shaking up traditional ways of working provide a window of opportunity for a broader, pragmatic reform effort. CGD has launched a new program built on these three pillars to propose evidence-based ways forward for policymakers and practitioners.