chapter  12
Refugees and Conflict Diffusion
BySeraina Rüegger
Pages 12

This chapter aims to advance understanding of the empirical relationship between refugees and political violence in the country of asylum (CoA). Forced displacement is currently at an all-time recorded high. The latest statistics show global totals of 21.3 million refugees and 65.3 million internally displaced persons as of December 2015. Displaced populations pose major challenges for sending and receiving countries, as well as for the international community. Governments, political parties and others in some countries, especially across Europe, have reacted harshly to sharp increases in irregular migration of people from places such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. The geographic clustering of civil conflicts in some regions of the world is undisputed in the literature. The risk of refugee-related conflict diffusion is elevated in ethnically or religiously divided societies with existing inter-group tensions. A more controversial claim is that refugees can contribute to the diffusion of conflict to neighboring countries where they seek asylum.