Paper: Protracted Displacement/Encampment Contributing to Protracted Conflict--How Local Civil Society Should Respond?

Paper details

Paper authors Masako Yonekawa
In panel on In the "Too-Hard" basket: Locally-led response in complex and protracted settings
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


The research question is how the local civil society should respond to the protracted crises—displacement, encampment, and conflict—which are often facilitated by third-party intervention. Before seeking the answer, I examine the political use of protracted displacement and encampments, whose perpetuated phenomena have become the norm, especially since the end of the Cold War, but are frequently neglected by international actors. While it is generally argued that protracted refugee situations are most directly a symptom of conflict and becomes protracted as conflict continues, my argument is that protracted displacement and refugee camps contribute to protracted conflict because state/conflict actors have used refugees politically, economically, and militarily. This research that relies on a literature review and a qualitative methodology that involves conducting interviews with Congolese refugees, examines the 27-year-long crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the response of the local civil society called KOPAX. Following the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda, its government has repeatedly maneuvered and prolonged conflict in the DRC. This was achieved by systematically displacing so-called “undesirable” civilians and people considered henchmen, containing them in refugee camps chiefly to fulfill military objectives, and forcefully repatriating them.