Supporting Central African refugees in Cameroon: policy and practice in response to protracted displacement

Working and discussion papers
August 2017

Since the mid-2000s, 259,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) have left due to violence in search of safety in Cameroon. The majority of refugees (70%) have settled in communities rather than refugee camps. Although the legal and policy framework governing refugees is conducive to them enjoying rights, in practice, many refugees have struggled to find their feet in the face of poverty, chronic under-development, weak governance and corruption. 

This working paper is the second part of a two-stage research project exploring the livelihoods of CAR refugees in Cameroon. It explores the perspectives of the institutions, networks and individuals that shape the displacement environment and how they interact with each other and with refugees.

It highlights how initially welcoming attitudes from within host communities and the local authorities have soured over time. As official attitudes became more controlling of refugee movements, and limited the choices and opportunities available to them, a facilitating policy framework has not been enough to guarantee support to refugees.