Refugee Self-Reliance in Delhi: The Limits of a Market-Based Approach

By Jessica Field, Assistant Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University;

Anubhav Dutt Tiwari, Research Associate, Centre for Human Rights Studies, O.P. Jindal Global University;

Yamini Mookherjee, Research Associate, Foundation for Rural Recovery and Development

This study, conducted by Jessica Field, Anubhav Dutt Tiwari, and Yamini Mookherjee in Delhi, India, focuses on two particularly vulnerable refugee groups: stateless Rohingyas and non-Muslim Afghans. Their research explores the lived experiences of urban refugees attempting to survive and realise their aspirations. They found social hierarchies between refugees who have different levels of legal recognition and entitlements. Limited legal protection and an unclear understanding of rights has led to arbitrary treatment by state officials and exploitation by employers and landlords. In emphasising individual entrepreneurship and economic independence, humanitarian organisations can overlook other important dimensions of refugee well-being, and they can place additional burdens on women, who are often also responsible for domestic work.

Read the Delhi study.