Over 50 million people have been displaced from their homes into refugee camps in countries around the world. Accounts of insecurity in refugee camps are pervasive. This insecurity is due to crime, the presence of military elements and (forcible) recruitment of refugees into rebel and military movements, and high rates of sexual and gender-based violence. Concern over personal security and fear is often high in these settings.

“Protracted refugee situations are a critical element in continuing conflict and instability and have obstructed peace and undermined economic development. The long-term presence of large refugee populations has engendered conflict by causing instability in neighboring countries, triggering intervention, and sometimes spurring armed elements within camps to begin insurgencies or form resistance and terrorist movements.”

Refugees’ experiences of persecution contributes to this fear and can combine with experiences of victimization to increase fear in camp settings. At the same time, research on justice and legal processes suggests that conflict resolution procedures that respond to criminal behavior may, when well conducted, play a role in alleviating fear.

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