This thesis explores the structure and maintenance policies of camps as forces driving gender-based violence. People in camps find themselves in a state of utter dependence on UNHCR or whatever state or NGO actor is providing for them. This experience deprives individuals of their identity and creates and environment that exacerbates gender-based violence. In order to effectively address this issue, perceptions of camps must change. While they are often considered temporary reactions to exceptional situations, they are in fact part of a larger policy implemented by developed countries to confine displaced people from the developing world to their own regions. Some form of camp is therefore a permanent reality, as there is no reason for them to vanish if the desire behind their creation never does. Once this policy of containment is recognized, ways of making its methods more humane can be explored. I propose an absolute right to work for all displaced people, promoted by both host states and UNHCR. By turning camp maintenance over to residents, UNHCR can better fulfill its mandate to protect refugees and reduce some of its financial burden. By allowing displaced people who cannot find work in camps to seek employment elsewhere, the host state will lessen its own financial burdens and benefit from displaced peoples’ contributions to its economy. Such a policy will, most importantly, return a sense of agency and identity to displaced people, thereby reducing GBV and making camps safer places for women and children.
MA in International Human Rights Law
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
Refugees -- Civil rights.
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Asylum, Right of.
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(2014).Permanent exile, permanent fear? gender-based violence in refugee camps [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Capps, Rosalie. Permanent exile, permanent fear? gender-based violence in refugee camps. 2014. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.