Socio-Economic Impact of Refugees on Host Communites. The Case of Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge District, Zimbabwe

Master's Thesis, 2018

78 Pages






List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Purpose of the Research
1.4 Primary objective
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Assumptions of the Study
1.7 Justification of the study
1.8 Research Methodology

2.1 Introduction
2.1.1 What is a refugee?
2.1.2 Evolution of the Refugee Camp and Concept
2.1.3 New York Declarations for Refugees and Migrants
2.1.4 Theoretical Framework
2.1.5 Historical Perspective on the Refugee Situation
2.1.6 The Refugee Situation in Africa
2.1.7 Protracted Refugee Situations in Africa/ Refugee Crisis
2.1.8 International Organizations in Refugee Assistance and Administration
2.1.9 The Refugee Situation in Zimbabwe
2.1.10 Refugee Adminstartion in Zimbabwe Socio-Economic Impacts of Refugees on Host Communities Positive Social and Economic Impacts of Refugees in Host Communities Negative Economic Impacts of Refugees in Host Communities Socio-Cultural Conditions of Tongara Refugee Camp and the Host Community

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Study Area
3.4 Research Philosophy
3.5 Research Design
3.6 Sampling
3.7 Instruments for Data collection
3.8 Data Analysis

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Social Impacts
4.2.1 Positive Relationships Amongst the Refugees and Local Population
4.2.2 Negative Social Impacts
4.2.3 Conflicts between the Locals and Refugees
4.2.4 Economic Impacts
4.2.5 Negative Economic Impacts
4.2.6 Mitigating the Negative Impacts of TRC
4.2 6 Conclusion

Chapter Five: Summary
5.1 Summary
5.2 Recommendations




This research is concerned with refugees and their impact on the host community. In refugee hosting areas, the local communities face various economic, social and cultural challenges as they interact with refugees. This study investigated the socio-economic impact of refugees from Tongogara refugee Camp on the host community of Chipinge District, Zimbabwe. A qualitative approach was used to conduct the research and the researcher used focus group discussions, interview guides and questionnaires. Since the research was qualitative, the researcher obtained data from key informants and the units of analysis included the refugees who are mostly involved in business, the host population who interacts with the refugees, the local authorities, UNHCR and other representatives of Organizations working in the Camp. The research established that despite the Zimbabwe Government’s encampment policy, the refugees were free to interact with the local communities and to trade in the District. The research found that there were both positive and negative social and economic impacts associated with the presence of the Tongogara Refugee Camp. Some of the positive impacts included infrastructure development, provision of transport services and creation of market places for both the locals and refugees. Negative impacts included deforestation, theft, social ills like prostitution and alcohol abuse. The study also found that there was a good social relationship between the refugees and the host community on the whole. However, competition for common property resources proved to be a key source of tension between the two groups. The researcher gathered that the Government of Zimbabwe and other local authorities had to revisit some of their policies as well as to support both the refugees and the locals for them to fully utilize the economic and social benefits that the presence of refugees bring and also mitigating the negative impacts that they also bring. This can be done by integrating the refugees into the formal employment working system, providing working permits for the refugees so that they can freely work, extend projects to the host communities which are specifically for them and also to provide financial assistance to refugees so that they can engage in income generating projects that sustain them.


First of all. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the almighty God for guiding me this far through my academic career. I also wish to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Mrs. B Sibanda for her unwavering support and guidance throughout the research.

I further acknowledge all the lectures from the Institute of Development Studies whose teachings and contributions during the lectures gave me much theoretical and practical ground to write my dissertation.

I would also want to thank the Commissioner for Refugees Office for granting me permission to conduct my research and also my informants for the role they played especially Mr Johannes Mhlanga, the Tongogara Refugee Camp Administrator, Mr Masvino, Representatives from UNHCR, JRS, GOAL Zimbabwe, the refugee community and the local authorities from the community of Chipinge District.

Finally, I thank all my friends and colleagues for their invaluable support and encouragement throughout the work especially Darlington Nyabiko and Kudakwashe Mutandi. I thank you all abundantly and whole heartedly for your encouragement and support during the study.


I dedicate this research to all the refugees and mostly those in Tongogara refugee Camp where the research was undertaken. The researcher was moved by the plight of the refugees from their journey from the country of origin to the host country, their protracted situation and their uncertainty about being resettled to a third country, being repatriated or re-intergrated in the country of host. The research sought to find out the social and economic impacts the refugees from Tongogara Refugee Camp have on the host community of Chipinge District.

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Chapter One: Introduction

According to Gil (1992: 28), the majority of mass movements, especially contemporary refugee movements in the Third World are caused by war, ethnic strife and sharp socio-economic inequalities. The responses of host countries to these mass influxes have varied greatly, both between states and for single governments overtime and by refugee group. Some governments have received refugees with generosity, providing them with assistance and others are treating them harshly (Jacobsen 1996; Aristotle 1992). According to UNHCR (2014) host communities are often the first and primary responders, particularly in the initial phases of a refugee influx when the national authorities or international actors have not yet arrived. Where social services and natural resources, are already strained they are put under additional pressure, engendering frustration or hostility among the local community. Despite these efforts the impacts of refugee presence has not been systematically addressed even by refugee programmes with remedial components such as reforestation which aims to compensate the negative perceptions and pressure on resources brought about by the presence of refugees on the host communities. Therefore, this research seeks to investigate the socio- economic impact of refugees in the host community in Chipinge District in Zimbabwe and also assess the relationships between the refugees and the hosts in the District.

1.1 Background

In 2015, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees accommodated over 15 million refugees, mostly in refugee camps in developing countries. Crisp (2002) highlighted that wars, human rights abuses and protracted refugee situations have also become endemic in parts of Africa because of International Community’s failure to bring them to an end. A large proportion of Africa’s refugee situation have become protracted because of armed conflicts which originally forced people to leave their own country which has dragged for many years making it impossible to go back to their own countries. For example, in Angola, Burundi, DRC, Liberia and Somalia they have been characterized by intense ethnic and communal antagonisms, high levels of organized violence and destruction. Kayongo-Male (1989) echoed the same sentiments that war and conflict are major causes of massive refugee flows and that additional factors included restrictions on or violations of human rights, fear of losing cultural or religious identification, oppressive and segregationist regimes.

Refugee resettlement approaches include camps, formal, informal and self-settlement; however, the difference amongst them is a bit challenging in defining them. According to Schmidt (2000) the notion of camps covers a much wider range of situations, and apart from the relatively clear-cut distinction between planned and self-settlement, definitions of refugee situations frequently lack objective criteria and clear demarcations. Schmidt (2000) further on to say that a number of characteristics underlies the usage of the terms and these include freedom of movement, the more this is restricted, the more a refugee settlement is generally seen to take a character of a camp (Malkki 1995). Mode of assistance is also viewed as another characteristic distinguishing camps and settlements, in camps generally only limited income-generating programs are permitted, while self settled refugees will tend to be more integrated into the local economy, be it with government or without governmental permission. Camps are also defined as ‘sites in colonial power-relations where refugees are counted, their movements monitored and mapped, their daily routines disciplined and routinised by the institutional machinery of refugee relief agencies (Hyndman 1997).

Refugee populations bring both benefits and disadvantages to the host populations. Whitaker (2002) have it that the influx of refugees and relief resources into western Tanzania significantly altered economic opportunities for the host communities. With the increased local market, there was an upsurge in business and trade conducted by both local hosts and refugees. Tanzanian entrepreneurs from around the country also flocked to the area and trade also increased significantly at the village level. In terms of agricultural opportunities, local farmers generally hired refugees to do agricultural work and also to build houses, tend livestock and fetch water and firewood. Whitaker (2002) goes on to say, the massive influx of refugees increased the size of the local market and the pool of labor. Refugee labor was attractive to local farmers because it was cheap and readily available.

According to UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service (2008), one of the most frequently cited negative impacts emphasized by the host country governments, is environmental degradation and natural resource depletion. However, it is not only the host governments that claim that refugee camps cause environmental degradation; over the past several decades, there has been a growing acceptance by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other organizations working with refugees, as well as by independent researchers, that the presence of refugees often leads to environmental degradation and natural resource depletion both within and around the refugee settlements (UNHCR 2008). Environmental degradation and the associated resource depletion have been shown to sometimes create or exacerbate conflict between groups competing for these increasingly scarce resources (Homer Dixon, 2000; Schwartz, et al, 2001; Kahl, 1999). Khulman 1994 et al also highlighted that it is clear that refugee migrants bring both costs and benefits to host countries. Refugees generally impose a burden on local infrastructure, the environment, and resources, but they also provide cheap labor, expand consumer markets, and justify increased foreign aid. Refugees are assumed to have a different impact on diverse classes, genders, sectors, and regions within the host country (Chambers 1986; Khulman 1990; Sorenson 1994). Whitaker (2002) alludes that between 1993 and 1998, nearly 1, 3 million people from Rwanda, Burundi and DRC sought refuge in Western Tanzania. In Tanzania, the sudden population increase affected food security in local villages, particularly at the beginning of the influx. With the huge increase in demand for local crops, food prices skyrocketed especially for cooking bananas, which were the desired staple of both refugees and hosts (Whitaker 2002). The refugee presence in Tanzania also negatively affected local access to environmental resources and deforestation was also said to have accelerated (ibid). Despite the benefits of refugee labor, many villagers blamed theft, particularly of food crops, on such workers. They claimed that refugees worked on local farms during the day and scouted out which crops were ready to harvest, only to return later at night and take what was ripe.

In Zimbabwe, the overall responsibility for the protection of refugees lies with the Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare although there are other government departments and non- governmental organizations that provide both protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. The refugee programme in Zimbabwe is administered through the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees under the Department of Social Welfare. The department chairs the eligibility board called, the Zimbabwe Refugee Committee (ZRC) mandated to assess application for refugee status (Mhlanga and Zengeya, 2016). The ZRC is made up of various government departments such as state security, immigration, foreign affairs, defense and home affairs. The UNHCR is an observer in the committee and provides technical and legal advice to the committee on emerging trends in the refugee migration. Zimbabwe acceded to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the status of Refugees as well as its 1967 Protocol (ibid). The country also ratified the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of the Refugee Problems in Africa. The country also promulgated the 1983 Refugee Act Chapter 4; 03 and the Refugee Act borrows from the UN and OAU conventions (Mhlanga and Zengeya, 2016). The government opened Tongagrara Refugee Camp (TRC) in 1983 because it wanted to cater for the Mozambicans running from the FRELIMO/RENAMO war. The Camp is located in Chipangayi area, of Chipinge District, Manicaland Province, some 550 kilometers south-east from Harare and approximately, 80 km, using the main road, west of Chipinge town (UNHCR and WFP Joint Assessment Mission Report, 2014).

Tongogara Refugee Camp was adapted from a centre established in the 1950’s as an experimental station for agriculture for the surrounding farms. In 1980, at the time of Zimbabwe’s independence, the experimental station became an assembly point for the ex- ZANU forces and was by 1981 turned into a refugee camp for over 60 000 Mozambican refugees. The Camp was closed down in May 1995 however; it was re-opened in 1998 for refugees from different parts of Africa (UNHCR and WFP Joint Assessment Mission Report, 2014). According to Mhlanga and Muchinako (2017), Zimbabwe’s history of providing sanctuary to the Mozambicans dates back to the Renamo- Frelimo civil war which occurred in the early 1980’s and 1990’s. Due to the Mozambican crisis, Zimbabwe was obliged to open four refugee camps namely Chambuta, Nyamatiki, Nyangombe and Tongogara. However, at the end of the Mozambican crisis in 1992 all the refugee camps were closed and turned into vocational training centres funded by the National Organization for the Development of the Disadvantaged (NODED). However, with the genocide wars in Rwanda and Burundi that later coincided with the war in Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997, thousands of asylum seekers started pouring into Zimbabwe the government reopened Tongogara Refugee Camp (ibid). According to UNHCR (2018) Tongogara Refugee Camp hosts 7798 refugees the majority of which come from DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Mozambique. The refugees are outnumbered by the local population by 291,043 considering that the population of Chipinge District is 298, 841 (Zimbabwe National Statistics, 2012). However, it should be highlighted that not everyone interacts with the refugees taking into account age groups and occupations. They have been at the Camp since 1998; that is 20 years making it a protracted refugee situation.

TRC is a formal camp settlement which is formal in terms of its establishment in which it registers the persons of concern, allocate them with stands and land for farming. The refugees are free to move within Chipinge District, they are only required to use gate passes when they are moving beyond the District. The refugees interact with the businesses and people within the District since they purchase most of their goods from the town and sell their wares as far as Checheche growth point. Refugees also benefit from the nearby villages by trading their monthly cash and in-kind with the locals to diversify their food basket. Other locals who reside in the communities adjacent to TRC which include the villages of Musapingura, Maronga, and Kondo frequent the refugee camp in search of menial jobs, selling their farm produce and interacting with the refugee community. The locals who frequent the camp sell vegetables, tomatoes and the leafy vegetable, rape. Some of them also sell oranges, sweet potatoes and bananas. Many women from the local community are also given jobs like fetching water, watering gardens and doing laundry by the refugees. There are no meaningful economic activities in the area apart from subsistence farming. The local population depends heavily on subsistence rain fed crop production, livestock production and casual labor at the nearest sugar cane plantation known as Chipanagayi Estate. Traditional livelihoods strategies in the East that combined animal rearing with agriculture have been undermined by recurrent droughts and are no longer able to ensure adequate household income (Mhlanga and Muchinako 2017). Despite the paucity of natural resources, the region has a long and generous history of hosting refugees.

Editorial note: Figure 1 was removed due to copyright issues.

Figure 1: Tongogara Refugee Camp Map

The World Food Program provided the refugees with food aid, in cash or in kind, from the World Food Program. As noted previously, they often exchange these with the hosts in order to diversify their food basket. They also receive second hand clothes from UNHCR and government which they often sell to the locals.

There has been rising attention in various refugee hosting countries in which UNHCR, hosting governments and other International and local NGOs try to balance the approache in assisting both refugees and hosting communities for peaceful coexistence between the refugees and the host community. In Zimbabwe, UNHCR and government take into account the need to balance the needs of both the refugees and the host community. According to the UNHCR and WFP Joint Assessment Mission Report (2014) to ensure environmental conservation and peaceful co-existence with the local community, adequate supplies of firewood and shelter material must be provided to refugees. There are two pre-schools, a primary school and a secondary school in the camp. Ten percent of the pupils in these schools are from the host community and are assisted with stationery and school uniforms like their refugee’s counterparts. There is a well equipped, well, well- stocked and adequately staffed health clinic which serves the camp residents and some of the surrounding community and offers preventative and curative health services. Ten percent of the locals are also given a piece of land and inputs in the irrigation scheme which is in TRC and benefit the same as the refugees.

Refugees like any other migrants, attempt to take advantage of economic opportunities at their destination, especially in the informal sector, and their pursuit of livelihoods invariably leads to interactions with host populations (Whitaker, 1999, Zakaria and Shanmugaratnam, 2003). According to Jacobsen (2003) refugees pursue normal economic activities which helps them to recreate social and economic interdependence as well as new social networks within and between communities through exchange of labour and social interactions. Relations between host populations and refugees have over the years been over romanticized with the assertion that once refugees are willing to integrate locally, there will be little resistance from the host population (ibid). But recent literature has been more realistic and has revealed that conflicts, especially those that emanate from the use of local resources by refugees, have brought to the fore host populations’ reluctance to accept local integration of refugees as a durable solution (Agblorti, 2001; Martin, 2005; Kibreab, 2003). In a study of the refugee- host interaction in the Krisan refugee settlement in Ghana, the presence of the refugees had helped to revive fishing and farming activities which had declined in the communities due to shortage of labour (source). Community leaders indicated that refugees were prepared to offer labor more cheaply than the indigenes in the farming and fishing activities. In terms of socio-cultural interactions, five changes were identified with the coming of refugees in Ghana which included the creation of more social networks, availability of potential spouses, new ways of doing things, and the adulteration of indigenous languages in public schools.

UNHCR and the government of Zimbabwe try to balance their approaches in terms of addressing the needs of the refugees as well as of those of the host populations. According to UNHCR and WFP Joint Assessment Mission Report (2014) to ensure environmental conservation and peaceful co-existence with the local community, adequate supplies of firewood and shelter material must be provided to refugees. There are two preschools, a primary school and a secondary school in the camp. Ten percent of the pupils in these schools are from the host community. There is a well equipped, well-stocked and adequately staffed health clinic, which serves the camp residents and some of the surrounding community, offers preventative and curative health services. Ten percent of the host populations are also provided land in the irrigated schemes which are allocated to the refugees.

1.2 Problem Statement

Several researches have been conducted on refugee life, refugee education, the elderly refugee, the rights of refugees, effectiveness of foster care in Tongogara Refugee Camp (Mhlanga, 2017), psychosocial support to refugees (Mhlanga, 2017; Mhlanga and Muchinako, 2017; Godo, 2016). However, the issues surrounding the socio-economic impact of refugees and the host population has not been studied in Zimbabwe. The current situation is such that refugees are not paying levies to the Chipinge Rural District Council while the host population is paying levies and development fees. Because the refugees are exempted from payment of the fees and levies, business owners among them are able to charge lower prices for their products and this has drawn many customers from among the host population, negatively impacting businesses in the host community. On the other hand, because the refugee households receive monthly cash transfers, they are able to pay more for the products sold by the host population. Moreover, the local communities rely on food produced in the eastern highlands due to the harsh climatic conditions in their area and food prices have risen due to demand from the refugees. This creates an additional burden on a local population already living in abject poverty. The refugees are also blamed for causing deforestation in the area by cutting down trees to produce charcoal. They have also been blamed for undermining the customs of the area by desecrating sacred shrines and trees. This situation creates animosity between refugees and the hosts. It is therefore important that the socio-economic impact of refugees on the host population be studied to provide a basis for policies that will promote peaceful and mutually beneficial interaction between the refugees and their hosts.

1.3 Purpose of the Research

The research intends to investigate the social and economic impact of refugees residing in Tongogara Refugee Camp on the host community in Chipinge District. It will establish challenges which might be faced by the host community in hosting refugees with a view to informing policy. The study will also make recommendations to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and UNHCR Zimbabwe who administers the refugee programme in Zimbabwe for policy changes where necessary.

1.4 Primary objective

To investigate the socio-economic impact of refugees on the host community.

Specific Objectives

1. To investigate the social impact of refugees on the host population.
2. To investigate the economic impact of refugees on the host population.
3. To explore policy options to mitigate negative impacts of the refugees on the host population.

1.5 Research Questions

1. What are the social impacts of the refugees the host community in Chipinge District?
2. What are the economic impacts of the refugees on the host community?
3. What can the host country government do to mitigate the negative impacts of the TRC on the host community?

1.6 Assumptions of the Study

The assumption of the research is that the host population will be forthcoming to participate in the research and that the key informants from the refugee camp will be willing to participate in the research. Musoke (2004) alludes that most of the literature on the impact of the refugees to host communities are guided by the population theory by Thomas Malthus (1798) that population growth generally affects the natural resources of a country. However, a counter thesis developed by Ester Boserup (1965) allude that population growth rather has a positive effect on agriculture which brings most of the socio-economic change of the community or country. Chambers (1986) also presents a theory of refugee impacts based on contextual conditions. He argues that in areas where access to natural resources is limited it is likely that host communities will be negatively impacted by the increase in competition for these resources, following the arrival of refugees. Chambers (1986) claims that overexploitation of common property resources (CPRs) in host communities are likely due to camp development Since the study would also want to make recommendations, the institutions in Zimbabwe that deal with refugee issues is the Ministry of Labor will and Social Welfare and UNHCR Zimbabwe will be the institutions recommended to for policy changes.

1.7 Justification of the study

This research is of fundamental importance because it will assist government and refugee agencies to understand the socio-economic impact of refugees on the host population. This will enable the partners to come up with evidence-based policy and programme interventions. The study would also make recommendations to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and UNHCR Zimbabwe who administers the refugee programme for policy changes where necessary. Since the study would also want to make recommendations, the institutions in Zimbabwe that deals with refugee issues is the Ministry of Labor will and Social Welfare and UNHCR Zimbabwe will be the institutions recommended to for policy changes.

1.8 Research Methodology

The research will use a qualitative research method and the techniques used for sampling will be judgmental, purposive and snowball sampling as it will mainly target opinion holders in the community and district. It will also use observation, in depth interview techniques and desk review of available literature. Amongst the Chipinge District, those who will be interviewed are the District Administrator, 3 councilors mainly from the wards adjacent to the refugee camp, 3 Business people from Chipinge Town, 4 farmers in the commercial farms in the wards adjacent to the refugee camp, 5 community members from the villages surrounding the camp. In Tongogara Refugee camp, 3 Business people will be interviewed, 4 refugee farmers, 16 refugee community leaders representing all the nationalities in the camp will be interviewed. The camp administrator and one representative from the Implementing Partners in the Camp which include UNHCR, Department of Social Welfare, GOAL Zimbabwe, JRS, TDH, St Michaels secondary school, Tongogara primary school and Chipinge College of Horticulture. There will be use of open ended questionnaires and focus group discussions. The research will also use the focus group discussions and key informant interviews for the units of analysis.


2.1 Introduction

This chapter of the research is going to look at the areas under research, theoretical framework and the rest it will review the literature in connection with the research topic.

2.1.1 What is a refugee?

According to Mokira (2000) the modern legal concept of a refugee traces back to 1921 when the League of Nations created a high commissioner for Russian refugees, which led to the development of a specific travel document. However, these legal steps were inadequate to deal with the massive refugee crisis as a result of persecutions and displacements of the Second World War. The War caused a serious humanitarian and refugee crisis that forced the post-war European and US governments to have one binding legal term that governs every nation. Christopher (1989) highlighted that the term refugee does not have a single meaning as different professionals define it in their expertise. Both the 1951 Convention and the 1969 protocol of United Nation related to the issue of refugees and the 1969 Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention for refugee problem try to address the issue.

The 1950 UNHCR Statute and the 1951 Refugee Convention defines a refugee as a person who, as a result of events occurring before 1951, is outside of his or her country because of a well- founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Shenoi (2017) also allude that refugees are defined and protected in international law as people who have been forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence. According to Kelley and Durieux (2007) the time limitation was lifted in the 1967 Protocol and that only a few states retained the geographical location, however the 1951 Convention remains focused on refugee status based on an individual fear of persecution for reasons of the grounds enumerated above.

2.1.2 Evolution of the Refugee Camp and Concept

Camps for refugees and the internally displaced are meant to provide spaces of security for individuals and communities when they are in their most vulnerable state. The camps exist explicitly to provide for those who are in their greatest need and to protect their survival and wellbeing as shelter is the critical determinant for survival in the initial stage of disaster (Shenoi 2017). Beyond survival, shelter is also necessary to provide security, personal safety and protection from the climate and is also important for human dignity, to sustain family and community life and to enable affected populations to recover from the impact of disaster. Camps are also meant to replicate an entire support system as the programs within camps are directed to build, encourage and foster community (Shenoi 2017). Feldman (2007) adds on to say that since the inception of the refugee protection regime in 1951, refugee camps have been its central organizing concept. In the camp-based model, refugee producing crises are supposed to be temporal but in reality, most refugee situations last much longer. While camps are necessary in the emergency phase of a refugee crises, reliance on a camp-centric policy in protracted refugee situations is an efficient use of resources, it causes tension between refugees and local populations, keeps refugees dependent on aid, can lead to health and security crises and prevents refugees from reentering society and pursuing livelihoods (Feldman 2007).

UNHCR states that a camp is any purpose-built, planned and managed location or spontaneous settlement where refugees are accommodated and receive assistance and service from government and humanitarian agencies (UNHCR 1999). Refugee camps also come in a variety of forms, each is a diverse construction that differs from the next. According to Shenoi (2017) refugee camps are locations where refugees reside and where, in most cases, host governments and humanitarian organizations provide assistance in an organized manner. However, they constitute some degree of limitation on rights and freedoms of refugees and their ability to make meaningful choices about their lives such as their ability to move freely, choose where to live and work as well as where to access protection and services (ibid).

2.1.3 New York Declarations for Refugees and Migrants

On 19 September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly hosted a high-level summit for Refugees and Migrants that aimed at improving the way in which the international community responds to large movements of refugees and migrants. At the summit, all 193-member states of the UN unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (Resolution 71/7). The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants addresses the situations faced by refugees and by migrants. It lays the groundwork for further action to improve the situation of refugees and migrants by laying out a process for the development of two “global compacts” one on refugees and the other for safe, orderly and regular migration, which are to be adopted in late 2018 (UNHCR 2018).

The New York Declaration is a milestone for global solidarity and refugee protection at this time of unprecedented displacement. The set of commitments, agreed by member states, reflects an understanding that protecting those who are forced to flee and supporting the countries that shelter them, are shared international responsibilities that must be borne more equitably and predictably. In the Declaration, all 193-member states of the UN reaffirmed their commitment in respecting the rights of refugees and migrants, pledged to provide sustainable support to refugees and the communities that host them and agreed to expand opportunities to achieve durable solutions for refugees (http;// Persons who are forced to flee or are displaced across borders in the context of sudden or slow onset disasters, or in the context of the effects of climate change, who are not refugees are also covered by the New York Declaration (ibid).

The member states committed to the development and application of a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) for large refugee movements, applicable to both protracted and new situations.

The framework presents a comprehensive response designed to ensure rapid and well- supported reception and admission measures, support for immediate and ongoing needs like protection, health, education, assistance to national/ local institutions and communities receiving refugees and expanded opportunities for durable solutions. These elements are designed to ease pressures on countries that host large numbers of refugees to enhance refugee self-reliance, expand third-country solutions and to support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity (http;// The CRRF engages a much broader group of stakeholders, government at national and local levels, international and regional financial institutions, UN Agencies and NGO partners, refugees themselves, the private sector and civil society actors (ibid).

According to Clarkson (2017), although the CRRF represented a major achievement by consecrating basic principles of refugees’ rights and by securing cooperation and commitment to cooperate more on refugee issues, potential host countries, above all the US and Germany, are becoming more resistant to calls to lower the burden on developing countries like Lebanon which already hosts 85% of the world’s refugees.

2.1.4 Theoretical Framework

According to Gorman (1994), over the last two decades the debate on refugee situations has shifted slightly from concentrating on only refugees and their welfare towards both refugees and their impact on host communities. The debate has in fact shifted towards a clear understanding of underdevelopment and refugee movements, which has led to the assumption that they are linked and must be addressed together. The arrival of the 21th century did not mark significant new positive directions in the asylum and protection picture in industrialized states. While the right of the state to control their borders and ensure the security of their populations is legitimate, the means to do so have been challenged as unnecessary narrowing the reach and scope of the Refugee Convention at considerable cost to persons in need of protection (Kelley 2007) This has witnessed many hosting nations changing their policies and reception towards receiving and caring for the refugees and asylum seekers. According to Musoke (2004), the last few years following the massive influx of refugees from Rwanda and other streams from Rwanda, Burundi and DRC into Tanzania, led to subsequent hostility and at least ambivalence towards the continued presence of refugees on the part of a significant number of Tanzanian citizens, their leaders and government. This shift of attitude on the part of the Tanzanians and other refugee hosting nations has led to researches and debates on whether refugees bring positive impacts to their hosting nation.

This research on the socio- economic impact of refugees from TRC to the host community of Chipinge District is guided by the demographic theories based on the assumptions of Thomas Malthus (1766-1836) and Ester Boserup (1965) and Chambers (1986). The Malthusian school, argues that an increase in population would overburden and deplete the country’s national resource base, overstretch the structure or social service system and physical infrastructure available thereby leading to economic deprivation, hardships, poverty and hunger. This would lead people to compete for the scarce resources available and the competition would lead to environmental degradation damage. According to Musoke (2004), proponents of Boserup’s theory such as Leah (1994), Davis (1995) and Black (1998), advance the argument that rapid population increase is developmental and leads to judicious exploitation or utilization of available natural resources and hence sustainable management of the environment.

Boserup School argues that, if at all there are any negative effects brought by the presence of refugees, such effects could have been caused by any sudden mass migration whether domestic or foreign in origin,the suddenness of which would have precluded any advance preparation. In such a situation, the mass of refugees would be left with no option but to turn to the host environment for building materials, firewood, water and other basis of livelihood. In the process, they would definitely degrade the physical environment and overburden the available governance, security, judicial systems and basic social amenities (Musoke 2014).

Chambers (1986) presents a theory of refugee impacts based on contextual conditions. He argues that in areas where access to natural resources is limited it is likely that host communities will be negatively impacted by the increase in competition for these resources, following the arrival of refugees. Chambers (1986) claims that overexploitation of common property resources (CPRs) in host communities are likely due to camp development. The Tongogara Refugee Camp area fits Chambers (1986) description of a region where CPRs such as trees as sources of energy and soil for brick molding and construction are limited. According to this theory the influx of refugees would result in the locals adjacent to and hosting TRC losing out on these vital resources. On the other hand, Chambers (1986) points out that host communities may benefit from the presence of refugees following the development of social services such as schools and health services in the refugee camps to which they are given access. He is among the first researchers to point out both burdens and benefits of refugees on the local population.

Musoke (2004) highlights an “in between” paradigm put forward by Black (2001) which argues that rapid population growth can lead to either negative or positive impacts depending on the conditions prevailing in the host country and the nature of the composition of the people moving into the new area. These conditions include the nature and size of the economic and resource base, the existence or lack of sound national economic and development policies and programmes including those relating to the environment, whether the refugees are housed in a fragile environment, the presence or lack of regulatory and institutional mechanisms and frameworks to mitigate against any negative developments. Also included are size of the refugee population, duration of their stay, their education, awareness levels and the existence of specific programmes to create awareness and mitigate against the actual and potential negative socio-economic and environmental impacts (Musoke 2004).

In summary, the Black school propounds that neither an increase in population nor the presence of refugees would necessarily lead to negative physical or environmental and socio-economic consequences; they can happen under certain conditions especially when and where governments and local communities do not have in place specific development projects and programmes to mitigate against such consequences. Boserup states that population growth will provide the impetus for development and the Malthusian school states the opposite namely that a population increase will overburden a community’s natural resources, engendering poverty and hardships. This research is based on these theories to investigate the social and economic impact of the refugees from TRC on the host community of Chipinge District recognizing the double-edged effects of the refugee presence.

2.1.5 Historical Perspective on the Refugee Situation

The United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees adopted in 1951 is the centerpiece of international refugee protection around the world today. This convention and the 1967 Protocol related to the status of the refugees have their roots in the Second World War refugee crisis in Europe (UNHCR, 2004). The predecessor of the 1951 Convention, the International Refugee Organization (IRO) constitution of the United of Nation, only aimed at addressing European refugees. After three years the 1951 came into force on 22 April 1954, and it has been subject to only one amendment in the form of a 1967 Protocol, which removed the geographical and temporal limits of the 1951 Convention written into the original Convention under which mainly Europeans involved in events occurring before 1 January 1951 could apply for refugee status. The United Nations established the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to practically implement its principles related refugees (UNHCR, 2004).

According to the United Nation 1951 convention article 1 of sub Article A, 2 the term refugee shall apply to any person who “ as a result of the events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it”.

According to the UN, more than a million refugees had crossed into Europe by the end of 2015. The majority were fleeing conflict in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The desperate plight of people seeking safety in European countries, and the UN reports that more than 170 000 refugees and migrants reached Europe by sea in 2017 (CAFOD 2018).Moreover, the arrival of refugees in Europe in 2015 created a momentum behind global and local reform efforts and experiments, many of which face trials of political feasibility . According to Kelley and Durieux (2007;8) the burgeoning numbers of individuals in need of international protection around the world is a consequence of the grave human rights abuses that have characterizes the wars and communal violence that have marked the past of a quarter century. They also bear witness to global community incapable , and at times unwilling , to interfere to prevent the violations that have sparked so many of the world’s refugee tragedies. The 193-member nations of the UN General Assembly are working towards the conclusion of two global compacts at the UN General assembly in September, two years after they were set in motion by the New York Declaration. The Global Compact on refugees aims to establish better sharing of the responsibility for refugees (as 84 percent of them live in the developing world) and more effective responses to refugee crises as aid budgets struggle to keep pace with the growing numbers of displaced people. The Compact is being developed by UNHCR through a consultative process and the piloting of a new approach to refugee aid- the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) to be presented at the General Assembly (

In Africa, the Organization of African Unity adopted its own refugee convention which tried to deal with the refugee issues based on the African context. The 1969 OAU Convention Article 1 Sub article 1 and 2, defines a refugee as “every person who owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reason of race, religion, nationality, member of a particular social group or a political opinion, is outside of his nationality and unable or, owing to such fear is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country of his former habitual residences as the result of such fear, is unwilling to return to it”(Mekuira, 2013:page 21).

2.1.6 The Refugee Situation in Africa

Africa is a continent where most of the civil wars of the late 20th century and 21th century were erupted. In West Africa, the long erupted civil wars of Liberia, Sierra Leon and currently Mali, in Central Africa, in Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, and in East Africa in the Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Eritrea millions of civilians were displaced and moved to another place to escape the danger at home (Rutinwa 1991). Crisp (2002), notes that one of the two “principal sub-regions of displacement” in Africa is the “vast area of Central Africa which encompasses the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo Brazzaville, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia (2002:2). Rutinwa (1991) writes that the Southern African region has had a long experience with the phenomenon of forced migration. Forced population displacement is known to have taken place in the region even in pre-colonial and colonial times. More recently, the refugee phenomenon in the Southern African region can be attributed to wars of liberation from colonial and racial rules and civil wars (ibid).

At the beginning of the 1960s thousands of refugees fled from the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique to escape the impact of armed struggles for independence. Refugees from Angola moved mainly into Congo, Zambia and Botswana while the main destinations of Mozambican refugees were Malawi, Southern Tanzania and Zambia. The second cause of refugee flows in the Southern African region was wars of liberation from racist minority rule in the Republic of South Africa, South West Africa and Southern Rhodesia. The main host countries for these refugees were Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and later Mozambique when it attained independence in 1975. Some refugees moved further afield to other African states, Europe and North America (Rutinwa, 1991).

The attainment of independence in the entire Southern African Region and end of civil war in Mozambique led to the repatriation of virtually all refugees from the relevant countries. However, the region has continued to experience a significant refugee problem as a result of the continuing conflicts in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Moreover, the region continues to host refugees from countries outside the region such as Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda (ibid).

Kelly and Durieux (2007), note that while industrialized countries complain about the number of refugees crossing their borders annually, host countries in the developing world are increasingly dillusioned with the absence of effective burden sharing. The scholars argue that meeting the protection needs of refugees has always primarily rested on developing countries whose fragile economies, environments, and social and political stability have been threatened in the process of providing refuge to millions of refugees. Many states in the South now require refugees to remain in isolated and insecure refugee camps, cut off from the local community, and fully dependent on dwindling international assistance (Milner 2008).

For example, Kenya witnessed massive refugee influxes from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia in the early 1990s (Banki 2004).Prior to that, it had generous refugee policies which allowed successful integration of a number of refugees from Mozambique, Uganda and Rwanda (ibid).Banki 2004).With the arrival of hundreds of thousands of new refugees from neighboring countries during 1990s, the responsibility for the care of the refugees shifted from the Kenyan Government to the international community, and this has led to a change of welcoming policies which were there before 1991. The Government’s current refugee policy requires all refugees to live in camps, inhibiting their integration and significantly restricting their livelihood opportunities (ibid).


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Socio-Economic Impact of Refugees on Host Communites. The Case of Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge District, Zimbabwe
National University of Science & Technology Zimbabwe  (National University of Science and Technology Zimbabwe)
Master of Science in Development Studies
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socio-economic, district, chipinge, camp, refugee, tongogara, case, communites, host, refugees, impact, zimbabwe
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Terence Madzimure (Author), 2018, Socio-Economic Impact of Refugees on Host Communites. The Case of Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge District, Zimbabwe, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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