To mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, this special issue of Disasters features a selection of the most relevant and original articles about refugee and displacement issues published by the journal over the past 35 years. These articles provide a rich source of informed thinking on humanitarian responses to the needs of populations fleeing persecution, war and disaster, with much to contribute to our understanding of refugee and displacement crises past, present and future.
Common to all these contributions are the complexities which arise when people are forced to flee en masse, and the challenges faced by humanitarian workers in providing assistance and protection following a crisis. Many of the articles address the immediate needs of security and shelter in situations of chaos and conflict, while others address the sometimes ruthless decisions which have to be made about who will and will not receive shelter and protection in the immediate aftermath of disaster.
We hope these contributions – made freely available as part of this special issue – will inspire and inform future planning and programming efforts to assist refugees and the displaced.