Journal Article

Work, the Right to Work, and Durable Solutions: A Study on Sierra Leonean Refugees in The Gambia

Eve Lester

in International Journal of Refugee Law

Volume 17, issue 2, pages 331-393
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0953-8186
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3715 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijrl/eei012
Work, the Right to Work, and Durable Solutions: A Study on Sierra Leonean Refugees in The Gambia

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It is rare indeed that the forced movement of people will not have an economic dimension. Economic issues related to the movement of people have generally been viewed as beyond the scope of the debate on the international status and protection of refugees. Instead, ‘economics’ and ‘refugees’ when heard together, or even in loose association, have evoked the pejorative images of those who move to seek a ‘better life’. While recognising on the one hand the inevitability of economic dimensions to refugee movements, many advocates for refugees have traditionally taken great care in their policy and advocacy work to downplay the economic element of the complex matrix of motivations that lead refugees and other forced migrants to move. This paper takes a different approach. It promotes the right to work, a social and economic right, as integral to protection and to all durable solutions. It explores its relevance, and indeed its significance, as a matter of law, policy and practice to the lives of refugees and those responsible for their protection, including their hosts. After all, ‘[d]espite the statistical existence of unemployment in every country in the world, work continues to be “an essential part of the human condition”’. In addition, the paper examines the importance of a rights-based analysis of work in understanding its relevance in the field both of international and national protection. In doing so, it explores the connections between work and the right to work and the three durable solutions. It acknowledges that social and economic conditions and inequities are often amongst the root causes of conflict which then lead to the failure of national protection and precipitate flight.

Journal Article.  29307 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration ; Refugee Studies

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