Rebuilding your life involves more than just having a roof over your head and a safe place to sleep. It means regaining control of your future.
A powerful way to do this is to work for yourself. Through decent work, refugees and displaced persons can provide for the needs of their families, maintain their dignity, become resilient, and have the power to shape their future. Being able to work and use their talents and talents also enables refugees to contribute to their host communities.
How does UNHCR help?
We help people who were forced to flee their homes and now live in a new society by promoting their economic participation and advocating for their right to work. We support refugees to gain access to the labor market in their host communities, which in turn enables them to seize economic opportunities.
- Economic participation: How can this be achieved? Read more
- Global Compact on Refugees: Roadmap Read more
- Do refugees have the right to work? Read more
As part of our work, we work with a wide range of partners, including governments, development and humanitarian organizations, the private sector and civil society, to promote economic outcomes for refugees and host communities:
- Inclusive marketing systems – When designing effective interventions that support refugees to work in local markets, a comprehensive understanding of the market system and barriers to refugee participation is key. We work with the International Labor Organization and other partners to promote an inclusive market system.
- Financial participation – Most refugees do not have access to financial services that limit their ability to earn a living. We work with financial service providers and relevant partners to remove these barriers.
- Poverty co-operation – Many refugees live in extreme poverty and vulnerability. The Poverty Alleviation is an international organization of non-governmental organizations led by the UNHCR, as well as a co-operation on the World Bank’s economic integration. The coalition aims to enable the poorest refugees and their host communities to escape poverty through the graduation system.
- Agriculture and food security – Refugees in rural areas rely on subsistence farming. We work with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other partners to support the participation of refugees in the value chains of agriculture and to improve their income while ensuring healthy and nutritious food for all.
- MADE51 -To show what an innovative, market-based model for the economic participation of refugees could look like, we developed the Made51 international brand of craft furniture and accessories made by refugees.
- Data and analysis -Data is important for strategy and programming. We work with partners to improve the collection and analysis of socio-economic data and build a useful database.
Refugee economic participation: How can this be achieved?
Encouraging refugees to earn a decent living and participate in local economies requires the participation of a variety of stakeholders. The role of the Refugee Agency is to work for and bring together different stakeholders and strengthen co-operation between them. To this end, we are building partnerships with financial service providers, development agencies and companies in the private sector. In an environment where efforts are already being made to strengthen the livelihoods of refugees, we are coordinating with governments, humanitarian and development agencies, the private sector and other partners to increase refugee segregation and access to employment and entrepreneurship and related services and programs.
In December 2018, the UN General Assembly ratified the International Refugee Convention – a blueprint for governments, international organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that host communities receive the support they need and that refugees can live productive lives.
The agreement underscores the growing recognition of the development challenges posed by the large-scale refugee situation and the need for inclusive facilities in refugee-hosted areas to build resilience between municipalities and refugee communities. It challenges all sectors of society to help build refugee self-confidence.
The agreement positions itself as a way to mobilize support to ensure that refugees and their host communities participate in the country’s progress towards sustainable goals.
Learn more about Global Compact on Refugees.
The right to work includes opportunities for people to earn a living through self-selected or approved employment. The right to work covers all types of work, from self-employment to paid work or wages. The result of the right to work is the right to fair and favorable working conditions. In other words, these two rights give everyone, including refugees, equal access to decent employment opportunities without discrimination and regardless of legal status and documents.
According to international law, decent work for all is provided through Article 23. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its binding obligations under Articles 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Economic and Cultural Rights. In addition, the International Labor Office (ILO) had developed international labor standards that apply to all workers, including refugees.
In Articles 17, 18 and 19 The 1951 Refugee Convention explicitly recognizes the right of refugees to access the labor market, which prescribes a relative level of refugee treatment that is linked to their legal connection to the country of asylum. Article 24 provides for the right of refugees to benefit from employment legislation and social security.
To facilitate access to decent work, states need to take systematic, tangible and targeted steps to stimulate economic growth and development, raise living standards and overcome both unemployment and unemployment. States must also pursue full and productive employment while safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedom and reducing the informal economy.
Developed countries with limited resources may gradually provide refugees with access to employment opportunities if necessary. These countries still need to take steps to realize access to decent work for all, including refugees, for example by seeking international assistance and cooperation.
In order to get a decent job, refugees need to be able to exercise their right to freedom of movement, form and join trade unions and other trade unions, receive recognition of previous skills and access to vocational training and other training opportunities. Refugees also need to be able to contribute and benefit from social security benefits, in addition to having access to effective resources to enforce their right to decent employment opportunities.
Further resources and materials: