UN High Commissioner for Refugees


Melvin Kan
Hong Kong

Cite as

Committee: High Commission for Refugees

Country: The Federal Republic of Germany

School: The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Topic A: Social and Economic Integration of Protracted Refugee Populations

Statement of the Problem

Over the past several years, the refugee crises of Syria, Yemen and Myanmar have caught the world’s attention. As these crises have gone on for several years, millions of refugees from these countries are now considered to be in protracted refugee situations. It is crucial that we do not forget that there are plenty of other protracted refugee situations that remain unresolved after decades, including Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Fearful that refugees could pose security threats to communities and could steal jobs from the local population, many host countries refuse to integrate the protracted refugee populations. Particularly as most protracted refugee populations reside in developing countries, these host states struggle to allocate sufficient resources to integrate them. Refugees are often treated poorly, being encamped in an isolated environment and largely rely on the support of humanitarian agencies. As such, Kane et al. (2014) found that refugees are much more likely to suffer from mental health problems. Human Rights Watch (2015) also pointed out that protracted refugee populations are often denied of their social, economic, civil and political rights. While UNHCR has worked tirelessly to assist these populations, more must be done to provide long-term solutions to facilitate their social and economic integration in their host countries.

Germany’s Stance

Germany is proud to have been one of the 26 member states that participated in the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in 1951 and played an active role in drafting the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Germany also prides itself as parties to both the aforementioned Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Germany is absolutely committed to upholding our international obligations to protect refugees and assist them to integrate into their host state. Since 2015, Germany saw a dramatic rise in refugee influx due to the Syrian refugee crisis, receiving over 1.3 million refugees. (DW, 2018) As such, Germany reviewed its integration efforts and adopted new policies. In 2016, a new Integration Law was passed. One of the key emphases of this bill was to expand the mandatory integration courses that would allow refugees to learn about German culture, society and values. Refugees are also allowed to apply for language courses, which would be crucial to help them integrate into the society and be able to get a job to support themselves. The law also introduced work programs, relaxed existing labor laws for refugees, and authorized regional governments to allocate refugees a place to live. (Gatestone Institute, 2016) Germany has spent over €16bn on refugees in 2015, accounting for 0.5% of the GDP. Funding for ...