Rosalie Capps


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.


Law Department

Degree Name

MA in International Human Rights Law

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2014

First Advisor

Natarajan, Usha

Committee Member 1

Beckett, Jason

Committee Member 2

Sayed, Hani


66 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Refugees -- Civil rights.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Asylum, Right of.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item