Walking with broken crutches : exploring the effects of host-state fragility upon refugees : a research project presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Development, School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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This research report explores the relationship between state fragility and the hosting of refugees in the context of the protracted Afghan refugee crisis, where fragile state Pakistan hosts Afghan refugees. The reality for the majority of the world’s refugees is that their hosts are neighbouring countries which are in varying conditions of state fragility. Some states are bearing the brunt of the global refugee burden despite their general struggle to provide basic services and livelihood opportunities for their own citizens. For these ‘fragile hosts’, providing for an influx of refugees would be untenable without significant international assistance. Following a comprehensive literature review looking at the complex interplay between conflict, state fragility, underdevelopment and forced migration, the report case study is prefaced by background chapters surveying the factors which triggered Afghan forced migration, and Pakistan’s fragile status as host respectively. This report then offers an analysis of two region-specific UNHCR documents which explores the relationship between Afghan refugees and Pakistan as ‘fragile host’. Various host-state incapacities were found to entrench endemic poverty and insecurity in the Afghan refugee population in Balochistan due to a lack of livelihood opportunities, and availability and access to quality services. These issues have also created barriers to local refugee integration, and the fluctuating interest of international donors has historically served to exacerbate these challenges. This report argues that a much-improved understanding of the multi-layered and complex regional, national and local relationships between protracted conflict, state fragility and refugee-host dynamics is needed in order to approach a sustainable solution.
Political refugees, Afghanistan, Pakistan