Mobility and agency in protracted displacement

Special feature in the Forced Migration Review

FMR 68, November 2021

The latest issue of the Forced Migration Review includes a special feature on mobility and agency for those living in protracted displacement, produced in collaboration with TRAFIG.


Displaced persons’ mobility and their translocal networks can provide important resources in the search for durable solutions.

Millions of Eritreans and Congolese find themselves in situations of protracted displacement. A more nuanced understanding of how physical and social mobility affects their daily lives is crucial to developing more effective tailor-made interventions.

Syrian refugees’ aspirations to move contradict the notion that those refugees who are ‘stuck’ in displacement are passive victims without agency. Rather, in the absence of viable options for physical mobility, refugees may still engage in aspirations to ‘move on’ even when they are not able to do so physically.

People living in protracted displacement in Italy and Greece are frequently more mobile than is generally recognised in public discourse and policy.

Recent research explored how refugees make use of their networks to escape from protracted displacement. Germany’s Humanitarian Admission Programmes have been able to provide legal ‘complementary’ pathways for Syrian refugees who had transnational ties. The effectiveness and reach of these schemes, however, are constrained by various factors.


The Forced Migration issue is available in two formats: a 68-page magazine and a 6-page Editors’ briefing, both online at A standalone 20-page PDF of the feature on Mobility and agency for those living in protracted displacement will be available in English, Arabic and French. The individual articles of this feature will also be available online in Arabic and French.

This feature has been supported with funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant no 822453.

The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the TRAFIG Consortium or the European Commission (EC). TRAFIG is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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