refugee camps

refugee camp images

[image – refugee camp image page]

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Not actively managing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II is a stain on world’s already horrible history on helping the desperate.


wikipedia small

A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees. Camps with over a hundred thousand people are common, but as of 2012 the average camp size is around 11,400. Usually they are built and run by a government, the United Nations, or international organizations, (such as the Red Cross) or NGOs.

Refugee camps are generally set up in an impromptu fashion and designed to meet basic human needs for only a short time. Due to crowding and lack of infrastructure, some refugee camps are unhygienic, leading to a high incidence of infectious diseases, including epidemics. If the return of refugees is prevented (often by civil war), a humanitarian crisis can result.

Refugee camp” typically describes a settlement of people who have escaped war in their home country and have fled to a country of first asylum, but some camps also house environmental migrants and economic refugees.

Some refugee camps exist for decades and people can stay in refugee camps for decades, both of which have major implications for human rights. Some camps grow into permanent settlements and even merge with nearby older communities, such as Ain al-Hilweh, Lebanon and Deir al-Balah, Palestine.

Refugee camps may sometimes serve as headquarters for recruitment, support and training of guerrilla organizations engaged in fighting in the refugees’ country of origin, often using humanitarian aid to supply their troops. Rwandan refugee camps in the Zaire and Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand supported armed groups until their destruction by the military.

ie: 2015 – wanting to disperse 350000..


Facilities of a refugee camp can include the following:

  • An administrative headquarters to coordinate services

David – madagascar, Adam – sandy,

  • Sleeping accommodations (frequently tents)

hexayurtsVinay, containers et al – living spaces, rebel architects, self-organizing (baan style)

Cameron, Alejandro, ..

  • Hygiene facilities (washing areas and latrines or toilets)

peepoople et al

  • Clinics, hospitals and immunization centers

theranus et al

  • Food distribution and therapeutic feeding centers
  • Communication equipment (e.g. radio)

oluvus, internet dot org, et al

  • Security, including protection from banditry (e.g. barriers and security checkpoints) and peacekeeping troops to prevent armed violence
  • Places of worship
  • Schools and training centers (if permitted by the host country)
  • Markets and shops (if permitted by the host country)

all of the above – but esp the last 4 part of short.. a nother way

Schools and markets may be prohibited by the host country government in order to discourage refugees from settling permanently in camps.

In order to understand and monitor an emergency over a period of time, the development and organisation of the camps can be tracked by satellite and analyzed via GIS.

so has means for app.. for mechanism simple enough,.. no?


People may stay in these camps, receiving emergency food and medical aid, until it is safe to return to their homes. In some cases, often after several years, the host country government may prefer to see that refugees are resettled in “third countries” which accept refugees seeking asylum. In other cases, the host country government may choose to forcibly repatriate refugees to their country of origin, in violation of international law.

Although camps are intended to be temporary, it is possible for camps to remain in place for decades. Some Palestinian refugee camps have existed since 1948, while other well-known camps such as Buduburam in Ghana have hosted populations for over 20 years.

Work and employment in refugee camps

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has a policy of helping refugees work and be productive, using their existing skills to meet their own needs and needs of the host country, to:

“Ensure the right of refugees to access work and other livelihood opportunities as they are available for nationals… Match programme interventions with corresponding levels of livelihood capacity (existing livelihood assets such as skills and past work experience) and needs identified in the refugee population, and the demands of the market… Assist refugees in becoming self-reliant. Cash / food / rental assistance delivered through humanitarian agencies should be short-term and conditional and gradually lead to self-reliance activities as part of longer-term development... Convene internal and external stakeholders around the results of livelihood assessments to jointly identify livelihood support opportunities.”

this is the short term – 1 yr to ness – that just needs a placebo-jumpstart and one success is that aid (or placebo or whatever you call it) is no longer needed

If enough aid is provided to refugees, it can help host countries too, through stimulus effects.

indeed – resources to the entire space – about ness (video) – can help entire world. reverse of schooling the world.

like the reverse of revolution. ..the reverse of conferences mentality. ie: rather than everyone coming together at say davos or skoll or lego … (imagining all the resources that go into these gatherings.. not to mention the human prep for pitches/accolading there)… the gatherings that matter are happening in unlikely places, ie: refugee camps.. and the success is that

1\ we no longer need refugee camps (from end to man made technology of war et al) and/or

2\ refugee camps become the appeal for 7 billion people.. the utopia of self organizing ness.. the revolution of everyday life ness..

 However refugee support does not usually provide cash to create effective demand, and refugees without cash are restricted by host countries lest they depress wages and opportunities for locals. Host countries also sometimes wish to avoid cultural and political changes that integrating refugees would cause.

perfect.. as the revolution is more about money less ness.. no? radical econ ness..

[funny – this is given as a bad thing. similar to women wanting their picture on money. as a good thing.]

Refugee resettlement

Globally, about 17 countries (Australia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland,Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States) regularly accept “quota refugees” from refugee camps. In recent years, most quota refugees have come from Afghanistan,Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and the former Yugoslavia which have been disrupted by wars and revolutions.

In the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Jewish refugees were initially resettled in refugee camps known variously as Immigrant camps, Ma’abarot, and “development towns” prior to absorption into mainstream Israeli society. Conversely, many Palestinian refugees remain settled in Palestinian refugee camps, while others have been absorbed into Jordanian society or the Palestinian territories. Since 1948, the sovereign State of Israel has guaranteed asylum and citizenship to Jewish refugees, while the self-declared State of Palestine remains unable to absorb the Palestinian refugees, due to lack of de facto sovereignty over its claimed territories.

whoa. redefine all that .. no?

Notable refugee camps (leaving links live from wiki page)

See also

also – Vinay.. David (madagascar ness)

karam foundation – Molly


how to build a perfect refugee camps 2014:

Turkey long ago exempted itself from any obligation to respond at all. Technically, the 14,000 residents at Kilis are not refugees but “guests” of Turkey. This is not just semantics. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees prohibits states from forcing them back over borders into danger and guarantees their right to work, shelter, travel and public assistance. Turkey signed the agreement but did so with a “geographical limitation”: Its mandate applies only to refugees from Europe.

Why would Turkey be so willing to house refugees — and to house them so well at its own expense? Unlike almost all other refugee camps in the world, Kilis is not run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Rather, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, asked the U.N.H.C.R. for its camp guidelines — minimum distance between tents, and so on — and then designed its own. It staffed the camps with Turkish government employees, allowing in few NGOs and giving those only supporting roles. Except for some relatively minor international donations, the financial responsibility, and all the administrative responsibility, has been Turkey’s alone.

This approach, while costly, has given the Turks a measure of control over every detail — including who is working in their country. Typically, camps are serviced by a number of NGOs, and there can be overlap — or gaps — in the services they provide. The agencies may fight among themselves or clash with local leaders; each has its own hierarchies and staff members, drawn from an unlimited number of nations. Running a camp that way, the Turkish government official speculated, would be complicated: “There’s too many people coming and going. It’s not secure. And it’s distracting.”

As Turkey’s economy has grown, so has its hope of being a significant actor on the geopolitical stage. “The Turks have a burning desire to show the external world how great they’re doing. These camps are a very visible way of doing it. With the assumption that it wouldn’t last long, the cost was worth the benefit.”

There are projected to be 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey by year’s end.

The Turks may have built as good a refugee camp as it is possible to build. But a camp is still a camp. And if a camp becomes a shelter not just for a few months but for years, a substitute — even a deterrent — to a real solution, how much does it matter how nice it is?

For Turkey, the grocery stores are proving comparatively inexpensive. Before the stores opened in October 2012, the Turkish government was spending nearly four times as much on food. Because before that, it was serving the refugees three hot meals a day. Catered.

Worldwide, refugee counts are at their highest since the Rwandan genocide.

whether we are talking literal and/or *figurative refugees, no?

*refugee camp as holding place (from earlier refugee quote), perhaps we include such camps/institutions/technologies as: work, school, norms, dis\orders, labels, slums, prisons, … anything that might fall under the encampment of manufactured consent .. ie: this is for the best and the best we can do..

The camp administrator reports directly to the governor of the region. With its model, Turkey has cut down on some of the major hazards associated with refugee camps: vandalism, theft, sexual assault, diverted supplies. “Any place you have 14,000 people living, and living in that proximity, there are challenges,” Batchelor continued. “But these problems that exist in other camps are much less prevalent there.”

But operating camps this way is expensive. “This has cost them,” Batchelor says. Expenditures at the Kilis camp run to at least $2 million a month. By the end of 2013, the Turkish government had spent $2.5 billion on its Syrian guests, primarily in camps — a figure that has created resentment among Turks.

Sources of aid exist, but as Kamyar Jarahzadeh, the American representative for the Coordination Group of Afghan Refugees in Turkey, pointed out, it’s “piecemeal and hard to get.” (Afghanistan is currently one of the largest countries of origin for Turkey’s refugees — and indeed the largest source of refugees worldwide for the last 32 years.) “Most people we see are getting nothing. There’s no centralized effort, and at the end of the day, even if everyone knew about aid, there wouldn’t be enough to go around.”

Some 400,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey live outside the camps. Those with means settle in apartments; the less fortunate camp in parks and empty lots.

Louis Belanger, then the humanitarian-media officer for Oxfam, told me the organization was struggling to get people to respond to the message that most Syrian refugees were outside camps but equally in need of aid. People somehow saw them as less deserving. “It is difficult to raise the funds for them,” he said.

Given the difficulties of integrating refugees into a host country’s population, those in the camps often end up staying there because aid is more readily available. But there, they can become lost in other ways, inhabiting a constant state of uncertainty.

“More and more refugees in the world in camps are in camps that have been there for a really, really long time,” says Fabos, who now teaches in the International Development and Social Change program at Clark University in Massachusetts. “That wasn’t the original model. Our model was that camps were there just to hold people temporarily until one of these ‘durable solutions’: sending them back home, allowing them to settle where they are — with legal rights — or settle them in a third place.” ..But three years ago, the largest refugee camp in the world, Kenya’s Dadaab, turned 20. It was built for 90,000 refugees. It holds more than 420,000.

“Camps are places where it’s quite straightforward to provide services for people,” Fabos says. “The U.N. and humanitarian agencies are so good at providing resources.” Every day, the World Food Programme alone operates an average of 5,000 trucks, 50 aircraft and 30 ships, as well as trains, river barges, mules, yaks, camels and donkeys. “The problem is when people start living in those situations more than the presumable amount of time that people should be living in those situations. To the U.N.H.C.R., if they live in camp for more than five years, they become an acronym: P.R.S.” — protracted refugee situation — “the majority of encamped refugees are in protracted refugee situations. The state system is more and more unable to accommodate what’s happening on the ground.”

perfect. another way. needed.

By global standards, the Syrian refugees, who have been in camps for up to three years, are new arrivals. Even so, they know what it means to put their lives on hold. “Ninety percent of the guys here are delaying marriage,” Muhammad Deeb, 21, told me. He has set up a clothing shop in a small tent, stocked with merchandise his uncle gave him the money to buy. Other refugees in Kilis, who are not allowed to work outside the camp, have also started businesses of some kind. There are canary stores, falafel stands, bicycle-repair shops and tea shops. There is a tent-size department store selling clothes, glasses and rugs; a coat shop; a jeans shop; a general store; a little joint with two slushy machines churning in two colors (red and orange); a tiny gaming cafe with three computers where a 15- and a 16-year-old sell access to playing Counter-Strike. But these typically offer little if any extra income. At one barbershop, I stopped to ask for a price list, and the proprietor said it was free.

In Syria, he says, in a village of 5,000, there would normally be two weddings a month. Here among Kilis’s 14,000, there’s one wedding a month. “We have no respectable jobs, no house, so no girlfriend,” he said. For now, that’s fine with him. He still expects that the revolution will triumph, and he won’t live here long.

Currently, the number of years a refugee lives in a refugee camp is, on average, 12.

“We hoped it was one month or two months,” one family told me, as we sat in their trailer. “We wake up, we sleep, we wake up, we sleep, we eat food, we always watch TV to see what’s going on. We’re all very bored. There’s no purpose in a life like this. One day is like another.”


Besides the comforts, and the cleanliness, and the impressive facilities of the Kilis camp, there is one important thing to note: Nobody likes living there.

“It’s hard for us,” said Basheer Alito, the section leader who was so effusive in his praise for the camp and the Turks. “Inside, we’re unhappy. In my heart, it’s temporary, not permanent.”

“What if it was permanent?” I asked him.

Quickly, he answered, “It’s impossible to accept this.”


The U.N.H.C.R.’s Batchelor acknowledges that despite the high level of assistance in the camps, “the emotional protection has become quite a challenge.

“In a noncamp setting,” Batchelor went on to say, “if people are able to keep themselves engaged, that provides a healthy outlook, helps establish local integration, keeps alive their skill sets if they repatriate.” The longer a refugee resides in a camp, the harder it can become to sustain psychological well-being. But camps remain the default solution.

the default solution

“Refugee camps have become the mechanism to try to control people,” Fabos says. “They prevent them from interacting with your citizenry. There certainly have been cases where refugee camps are places where exiled political movements will train and collect arms and plan attacks. But it’s also the case that refugee camps don’t provide opportunities for livelihood.

The aid is very small compared to the actual needs.”

reading the god of small things – by Arundhati:

“They provided the care (food, clothes, fees), but withdrew the concern.”…

2 needs ness

When it comes to refugees in camps like Kilis, their relatively comfortable existence might make finding meaningful solutions for them less urgent.

Unlike almost all other host countries, Algeria gave its refugees the right to govern themselves. “There, camp is not a place of suffering and hunger,” Herz says. But the flip side is that “there’s very little pressure for Morocco to withdraw because people are not dying anymore.”

why this is a need for global systemic change… they would just be modeling it for the rest of us – with their “time off” ness (rather than waiting for a big enough group of people to take time off to give this a try)

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i added this page after reading/chewing on this challenge from ideo in regard to refugee camps. (and while reading rev of everyday life)

here is their (ideo’s) research page on refugee camps:

Over 50 million people globally have been forced to flee their homes – leaving behind their schools, jobs and communities. Men, women and children must start again, either in new regions of their home countries or in host countries around the world. Amid uncertainty about the future, one thing is for sure: refugees need skills and information to help them adjust to their new circumstances, integrate into communities and thrive.

so yeah. what if this is a perfect opportunity to model the revolution of everyday life, ie: the embracing of uncertainty the entire world needs. the need to be/become antifragile.

perhaps this is the perfect time for global systemic change. and perhaps refugee camps are the perfect place/opportunity to model (for the rest of the world) that a nother way is possible. one that embraces uncertainty  by facilitating innate curiosity – making us all antifragile.

ie: rather than waiting/looking for enough people willing to play this game.. (1 yr to be 5, 1 yr to try commons, et al).. realizing there are already – enough eclectic people in spaces.. who might love that we listen to their innate ability to self-organize… rather than give all that up in order to be further oppressed/controlled/prepped – in the guise of aid.

some comments –

on school and the need to fund books, resources, teachers..

you have to use what is in your heart

education for what?

we need a space where we can gather.

so – maybe we are doing this school thing, this funding books et al thing.. all wrong… no?

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[sent this to ideo challenge]

revolution of everyday life graphic sq

perhaps this is an ideal time for global systemic change. and perhaps refugee camps are ideal spaces/opportunities to model (for the rest of the world) that another way is possible. a way toward/of antifragility through embracing/facilitating uncertainty/daily-curiosities.

never convince just do it graeber

what we all need: revolution in reverse – a revolution of everyday life.

zinn quote on people energy

zoom out version (short): addressing a problem deep enough that all of us would resonate with it today, via a mechanism simple enough that it’s accessible/useable by all of us today, in an ecosystem open enough to set/keep all of us free.

detailed version: a people experiment.

simple version: a nother way

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on the need to model another way


“An absence of refugees means an absence of war.” @melissarfleming @UNRefugeeAgency #visioneering

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World Hasn’t Had So Many Refugees Since 1945. One in every 130 people on planet is currently a refugee or displaced.…


Educating Lebanon’s Syrian Refugees

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dang 360 mill
perfect opportunity to try something different.. no?
Edwidge Danticat: The U.S. is Implicated in Dominican Plan For Mass Deportations to Haiti Tweet:

Today is #worldrefugeeday – there are 4 million Syrian refugees still, today. These are everyday… Tweet:

everything is yours.. everything is not yours.

Claire felt staying in a good camp was even worse than staying in a bad one — what if we started to think this life was okay?


Angela Merkel & palestinian girl:


We, on the other hand, are homeless and the whole world treats us like a burden.”


from Zeynep:

aug 2015

The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, a staggering 60 million people displaced from their homes, four million from Syria alone. World leaders have abdicated their responsibility for this unlucky population, around half of whom are children.


We are mired in a set of myopic, stingy and cruel policies.


The United Nations High Commission for Refugees calculates that 750,000 Syrian children in neighboring countries are out of school simply for lack of money. One result has been a huge rise in child labor, with girls in their early teens (or even younger) being married off.


Children are resilient, when given a chance. It’s a shame how few are.


“Politics is hard” is just not enough.


In 2014, the entire World Food Program budget was a paltry $5.4 billion. The United Nations refugee agency’s budget is a mere $7 billion. To put these numbers in context, Amazon’s market capitalization climbed recently by $40 billion in after-hours trading after it announced that its web-hosting services were slightly more profitable than expected. Saving millions of refugee children fleeing war apparently isn’t worth a fraction of an evening’s speculation on a single stock.


This horror. They were found dead in the hull, asphyxiation due to overcrowding. Btw, they’re refugees not migrants.…

Middle East Eye @MiddleEastEye


refugees are human

our species is naturally empathetic. It is only when we strip the humanity from people – when we stop imagining them as being quite human like us – that our empathetic nature is eroded. That allows us either to accept the misery of others, or even to inflict it on them


10,000 (of 300000) icelanders offer to house refugees after govt says it can only take 50


berlin’s airbnb for refugees


Merkel and 800000


migrant per choice.. refugee – fleeing danger


Syrian boy (13) tells police in #Hungary: “Just stop the war. We won’t want to come to Europe” via @CVerenkotte #fb

add to list of on auto replay in my head..


sept 2015 – ordinary citizens.. step in


Thousands of refugees in Hungary, not permitted to board trains, are now attempting a 200km walk to Vienna.
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Central Europe: “have a white day” rallies, force refugees to trains destined for camp, write numbers on their arms. Now, forced march. Ugh.
Mishandling the crisis this way furthers pain and suffering, stokes resentment & xenophobia. And doesn’t solve anything. Awful.
buy an island for refugees
Naguib Sawiris

sept 2015 –

José Mujica taking in 100 refugee orphans

The World’s Most Humble President Just Opened His House to 100 Syrian Refugee Children

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human suffering on a huge scale – pics – europes refugee crisis


Life in a tent, class in a tent for Syrian children in Lebanese camps too young to remember Syria

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Hungary’s new law lets police “search homes if they suspect people are sheltering refugees”

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prison gets rich locking up toddlers and pregnant mothers.. (refugees)


God help me, this by Piketty is brilliant: @LaurenLaCapra @ThisIsFusion

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for an open europe

What is to be done? The tragedy of the refugees could be an opportunity for Europeans to rise out of their petty disputes and their navel-gazing. By opening themselves up to the world, by jump-starting the economy and investments (housing, schools, infrastructure), by fighting off deflationary risk, the European Union could easily return to its pre-crisis immigration levels
shoot – was excited at first… but too steeped in monetary econ.
and using u.s. as a success story coming through 2008… maybe i’m reading it wrong.. but if not.. that’s not right.
the situation can – however – be a launching point – wake up call – for a nother way to live.. please not another cycle..
refugee emergency response – fb via jordan ht david o
on monetizing refugee ness
Instead of handling crisis in global+responsible manner, forcing refugees to spend life-savings & risk their lives.
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every border implies the violence of its maintenance

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War is hell, and it afflicts many cultures: Europe should know. How do we move to a humane world of less war is a question for everyone.

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thanks .. but we want to go home


syrian refugees


sept 2015 – mark zuckerberg to connect refugee camps to internet via internet dot org:


sept 2015 – syrian refugees build a city from nothing..


via Nikhil:

Campus in Camps is an experimental educational program based in Dheisheh refugee camp, Bethlehem Palestine. It is a space for communal learning and production of knowledge grounded in lived experience and connected to communities. It brings people together in a pluralistic environment where they can learn freely, honestly and enthusiastically. It reasserts what is fundamental and profound in the lives of the participants, forming an active group that chooses words, constructs meanings, and creates useful knowledge through actions within their communities.

We understand “university” in its original meaning in arabic Al jame3ah “a place for assembly”. Campus in Camps therefore is activated around the interaction and interests of the participants and its structure is consequently in constant transformation and open in order to accomodate changing urgencies.


What emerges today is a reconsideration of this imperative where refugees are re-inventing social and political practices to improve their everyday life without normalizing the politically exceptional condition of the camp.

rev of everyday life..


oct 2015 on democracy now

disaster capitalism: making a killing out of catastrophe

title from Naomi‘s shock doctrine

no for profit prisons.. – legalized corruption – mass incarceration culture.. everynight 34000 refugees locked up in the u.s.

4 trill of resources under ground in afghanistan

39 min – u.s. has spent 100 bill since 2001

america is fighting a war against insurgents that they’re also paying off to not attack them

41 min – after haiti 2010 – from wikileaks: a gold rush is on – all 3 clinton’s solution was – like sweat shops – clinton foundation also investing in failed things after katrina.. their solution has primarily been industrial parks.. to make clothing that we can buy in u.s…. the solution is to empower locals… many haitians pissed off for this…

44 min – haiti is seen as too economically viable for u.s. to let it go

media don’t focus on locals…


5 maps..


kids sleeping – reads are – oh my.


tedglobal – geneva – dec 2015

António Guterres: Refugees have the right to be protected

unprepared because divided…

asking how many refugees can we take  is the question that has no answer.. refugees have the right to be protected.. so no limit… the question is .. how can we organize ourselves to assume our international responsibilities…

q: who’s doing it right…a: 86% of refugees in the world are in developing world… ethiopia… more than 600 000 .. all the borders are open.. every refugee should be receive… in general african countries…

13 min – if you say we are going to close our doors.. to muslim refugees.. what you are saying is the best possible help for the propaganda of terrorist org’s.. what you are saying will be heard by all muslims in your country.. it’s telling them.. you are right.. we are against you…recruiting becomes easier in countries where these sentences are expressed.

letter… be yourself.

imagine 7 billion doing that..

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

a nother way


jan 2016 – 11 stories/pics

Our Picks of 11 of This Year’s Most Memorable Refugee Stories — Medium

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smart phones completely changed refugee crisis..

The Smartphone Completely Changed the Refugee Crisis via @WIRED

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imagine if chip ness.. et al


Just 60km away from Beirut, about 40K civilians are slowly starving to death in besieged town of #Madaya #Syria

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Ben Rawlence – city of thorns

Kilian Kleinschmidt

Alexander Betts



Private Prisons Are Cashing In on Refugees’ Desperation…


What a perspective.

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#Nigeria: 58 Killed in Suicide Bomb Attacks in #Dikwa Refugee Camp

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Thousands of Afghans stuck at Greek-Macedonian border… #Idomeni #safepassage
“We will not go back, we will stay here. We will die here, but we will not go to back to Afghanistan. We don’t want food,” says a handwritten banner from yesterday’s events in Persian.

Greece’s refugee crisis: PM says country is overwhelmed

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Alexis Tsipras speaks out as Greece struggles to care for 30,000 trapped migrants and Brussels prepares urgent aid


Greece cannot manage this situation alone,” Edwards said.


Hans Rosling on why refugees don’t fly:


There are 12,000 people camped at the Greece-FYROM border desperate and bewildered. Closed borders not the answer:

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Grandi plan

1) return individuals who do not qualify for refugee protection, …..

4) Make available more safe, legal ways for refugees to travel to Europe under managed programmes –for example humanitarian admission programmes, ..

5) Safe-guard individuals at risk,

from return those who don’t qualify to safe guard those at risk… perhaps a nother way..

again from syrian refugee page:

every border implies the violence of its maintenance

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Ben and Kilian interview on why refugee camps don’t work and how to fix them

From Calais to the borders of Syria: Why refugee camps don’t work – and how to fix them. With@BenRawlence+@KilianK…
phrase – refugee camp – misleading… ie: could be temprorary and emergency to a long time city.. best to develop diff strategies for diff situations – b
refugee camp always meant to be a storage facility… camp implies temporary.. but dimension of camps staying for decades is not there when you plan them.. and that’s the problem.. – k
dadaab is in 3rd generation – b
syria is going to last for some time.. so what do they look for.. 1\ return 2\ then (when realize it will be longer term) how to make best of camp –  they set up a city – by themselves – in one year – design/redesign living spaces – ie: received containers for houses.. but individualized them.. didn’t expect to be a bulk pkg – k
they are like cities w/a diff.. more like prisons… yet.. life does not stand still.. they won’t just sit and wait…  – b
problem is aid agencies being only provider… ie: they aren’t city builders nor counterparts to govt – we don’t put the right resources there… depends on who you put in as right provider of expertise.. – k
sound like we need more of people themselves in that role.. via just providing resources they request.. trusting that..
w/o govt coop.. can’t experiment w/any alternatives – and govt’s see camps as a negative.. so mad situation where no one is allowed to work/leave ..  where this could actually be a huge positive.. almost doesn’t consider somalie refugees as human.. mystery to me why more countries aren’t vying over these people to build their econ’s- b
people/refugees sharing stories.. of working non stop.. (from n lebanon)
solution – putting in right level of expertise so govt’s don’t feel threatened..we had major breakthrough when started work w/local sectors, ie: supermarkets.. ie: smart cards.. supermarket chains had no problems to obtain work permits.. aid agencies need to partner up in a diff way..  – k
solution – what kilian attempted in datari – the key here is the politics… would be best if refugees were running everything.. they could spend budget a whole lot more productively… but key dimension is brokering political settlement.. ie: now 3 days to take food.. spending so much on that.. some being skimmed by corrupt middle men.. so offer something of benefit to whole region.. – b
new policy – no camps any more.. unrealistic.. sometimes only option.. the problem is the aid system in itself… we live in another world.. aid money in general is insufficient.. there are much more capacities in private/public sector.. getting the dimension across.. – concept of city of the dabia.. major population and econ center in middle of nowhere.. kenya..  you should seize the opportunity… aid agencies should say – this is really not our job.. they should let go.. need to bring in totally diff set of partners –  k
problem – no real leadership .. ie: kenyan govt wanting camp closed.. but some wanting to hold on .. because of benefits of corruption of it.. there’s no one really with a vision that has a position of leadership… i’m continually be approached by people who want to help… there isn’t really an overall leadership… everyone is wanting to wish problem away.. and refugees have psych problem.. because they’re wishing for a future somewhere else… – b
that’s the point (short term vision)- lots who would like to do something .. but don’t see chance..  we have connectivity in the world today which we’re underutilizing for the moment…. – k
at moment .. the concept is broken .. but i do believe it’s possible to build new camps in imaginative ways.. camps as part of solution.. not only one.. – b



Read @ianbirrell on why more refugee camps are not the answer:…

Dispelling the myth of the humane refugee camp…I’ve visited camps on three continents, and at best they tend to be soul-destroying

“I feel like my head will explode when I remember what life was like before war,” she said……Yet this woman was certain of one thing: she would rather return to Syria despite the savagery on all sides than go back to the refugee camp she fled a few days before we met. It was like prison, she said – echoing words I heard earlier from others. There was no work, no electricity and nothing to do all day, while stores over-charged for food and clothing behind the barbed wire. Her family left their last few possessions to escape. “Here we have nothing but at least we have our freedom.”
One myth in particular needs to be nailed fast: the concept that refugee camps are humane and workable solutions to such crises. Politicians and pundits keep suggesting that we pour cash into these holding pens. Yet as that young mother in Jordan showed, this approach is wrong both morally and practically.
I have visited refugee camps on three continents. At best they tend to be soul-destroying – places that keep people alive but stop them from living, as one academic put it so succinctly. There may be food, schools and health clinics in many. But they can also be grim centres of incarceration, designed to herd traumatised people into places that make it easier to control them, either for host governments or aid agencies trying to help. They are seen as short-term solutions yet drift into permanence – just look at Palestinian camps going back 68 years – while gangs, guns, violence and sexual abuse can be rampant.
The benevolent image of refugee camps has been shattered by a brilliant new book by journalist Ben Rawlence, whom I met during his five-year stint investigating life in Dadaab, northern Kenya. This sprawling camp is the world’s biggest, created 25 years ago to hold 90,000 Somalians but now home to half a million people from several nations. Rawlence exposes how impoverished refugees are raped, ripped off and remorselessly exploited while well-paid officials stay in secure compounds. It is a damning indictment – yet there have been worse examples. After the Rwandan genocide Hutu ringleaders ran official camps, received relief and used them

.@mikebutcher kicking off session at #IFGS2016 on @Techfugees : How can tech help solve refugee crisis

Original Tweet:

by disengaging from using tech to measure/validate transactions/people… and rather.. use tech to set all people free.. as the day. we can. so we can’t not.

Of the world’s 65m refugees, half are from Syria, Afghanistan & Somalia. 86% are sheltering in poorer countries

Original Tweet:



There are so many dedicated, smart people stuck in these refugee camps who should be hired to tell their stories

Moaz Khrayba took this of the refugee camp he lives in in Samos. Moaz’s brother, a media activist, died in Syria


Kilian Kleinschmidt (@KilianK) tweeted at 7:58 AM on Thu, Sep 29, 2016:
Instead of temporary camps, let refugees build their own flourishing cities: by @MarkLutter

The primary barrier to refugee cities is a lack of imagination.

ie: hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data..

it is time to think more boldly.


ie: short
via @ggreenwald tweet: This is hard to read but it’s stunningly great journalism from Rachel Kushner on life in an E Jerusalem refugee camp
(but his link didn’t work for me..)
we are orphans
pay taxes.. though no benes from this…tax forms are in Hebrew, he explained, so most people in the camp must hire a bilingual accountant to complete them.
Jerusalem residents have a coveted blue ID card, meaning they can enter Israel in order to work and support their families, unlike Palestinians with green, or West Bank ID cards, who need many supporting documents in order to enter Israel — to work or for any other reason, and who also must pass through military checkpoints like Qalandiya, which can require waiting in hourslong lines. Jerusalem residency is, quite simply, a lifeline to employment, a matter of survival.
I met people from Gaza, who cannot leave the square kilometer of the camp or they risk arrest, because it is illegal for Gazans to enter Israel or the occupied West Bank except with Israeli permission, which is almost never granted. I met a family of Brazilian Palestinians with long-expired passports who also cannot leave the camp, because they do not have West Bank green IDs nor Jerusalem blue IDs.
Shuafat camp is often depicted in the international media as the most dangerous place in Jerusalem, a crucible of crime, jihad and trash fires
If you are seriously hurt in the camp, there isn’t much help. Ill or injured people are carried through the checkpoint, on foot or by car, and put in ambulances on the other side of the wall. According to residents of the camp, several people have unnecessarily died in this manner.
The most heavily militarized area of the camp is perhaps its most lawless.
The popular drug the dealers sell is called Mr. Nice Guy, which is sometimes categorized as a “synthetic cannabinoid” — a meaningless nomenclature. It is highly toxic, and its effects are nothing like cannabis. It can bring on psychosis. It damages brains and ruins lives. Baha told me that Mr. Nice Guy is popular with kids as young as 8.

Baha never expressed any fears for his own safety. In looking at my notes, I see now that my insistence on this point was sheer will. A fiction. It’s right there in the notes. He said he was nervous. He said he’d been threatened.

Also in my notes, this:

Baha says, two types

1. Those who want to help make a better life

2. Those who want to destroy everything


The other thing I suppressed, besides Baha’s admissions of fear, was his desire for police. I didn’t write that down. It wasn’t part of my hero narrative, because the police are not part of my hero narrative. “Even if they have to bring them from India,” he said several times, “we need police here. We cannot handle the disputes on our own. People take revenge. They murder.”


They said every family has an addict among its children and sometimes among the older people as well. A third of the population is strung out on it, they said. It makes people crazy


I was desperate to give her something, to promise something. It’s very difficult to see a child who has suffered so tremendously……no shallow gesture or petty generosity would make any lasting difference, and that her life was going to be difficult.


I made myself regard each photograph as something unique, a vital integer in the stream of these people’s refusal to be reduced.

both sides now.. of photograph ness


“I want music lessons for the girls,” she said. “I think it’s very good for their development.” As she said it, more machine-gun fire erupted from the roof of a nearby building. “I want them to know the feel, the smells, of a different environment. To be able to imagine other lives.”

When I think of Hiba Nababta wanting what I want for my child, her rightful desire that her kids should have an *equal chance, everything feels hopeless and more obscene, even, than my wanting to give earrings to a child without ears.

equity: everyone getting a go everyday

we can do that now.. we can’t not.. dang/damn/fuck

a nother way


The day I left Shuafat camp was April 17. Fifteen days later, on May 2, Baha Nababta was murdered in the camp. An unknown person approached on a motorcycle as Baha worked with roughly a hundred fellow camp residents to pave a road. In front of this very large crowd of people, working together, the person on the motorcycle shot at Baha 10 times and fled. Seven bullets hit him.

It is now December. Baha’s wife, Hiba, has given birth to their son. His father is gone. His mother is widowed. But a baby — a baby can thrive no matter. A baby won’t even know, until it is told, that someone is missing


Oz Katerji (@OzKaterji) tweeted at 5:48 AM – 22 Dec 2016 :

Thousands of refugees left in cold, as UN and EU accused of mismanagement

Patrick Kingsley (@PatrickKingsley) tweeted at 4:42 AM – 22 Dec 2016 :

10000s of refugees remain in the cold in Greece, despite £££ allocated for “winterisation”. Our look @ where it went (


Cameron Sinclair (@casinclair) tweeted at 2:25 PM on Thu, Feb 02, 2017:
Spent day w/ unaccompanied teen refugees boys who have been told they’re the “bad guys”. In truth, they are the lost boys.


Noor Al Hussein (@QueenNoor) tweeted at 4:28 AM – 18 Feb 2017 :

Europe’s biggest paper ran a bogus refugee ‘sex mob’ story. What now? | Christian Christensen (


via craig calhoun rt

Protesters marched to the sea in Barcelona, demanding that Spain accept more refugees



2500 people arriving everyday in Baidoa, Somalia, seeking food…


The refugees in excruciating limbo who can’t move forward and can’t go back.

Original Tweet:

on hold ness – a nother way


Melissa Fleming (@melissarfleming) tweeted at 2:06 AM on Sun, May 07, 2017:
In Libya, “many have been held for ransom, kidnapped, made to perform forced labour & sold in markets as slaves.”


Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) tweeted at 10:44 PM – 10 May 2017 :

Policy in Greece of forcing asylum seekers to give up appeal rights or lose help to get home if rejected = unlawful (

Stephanie Nebehay (@StephNebehay) tweeted at 4:14 AM – 11 May 2017 :

ICYMI – Up to 450,000 civilians in #Mosul Old City face ‘stark choices’ for survival – @ICRC – (



Luma Mufleh


hungary transit zones


Doaa – (Melissa Fleming’s) hope


rohingya people


Kilian Kleinschmidt (@KilianK) tweeted at 2:56 AM on Sun, Sep 17, 2017:


The New York Times (@nytimes) tweeted at 9:42 AM – 16 Sep 2017 :

Bangladesh plans to build a refugee camp to house about 400,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar (



Olutimehin Adegbeye


drifting doc and human flow doc by ai weiwei