Social Categorization and Local Humanitarian Help: The Limitations of Legal Categories for Refugees

In: Utafiti
Opportuna L. Kweka Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography College of Social Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam Dar es Salaam Tanzania

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The legal categorization of refugees in Tanzania has resulted in the requirement that they maintain residence in camps, and in the restriction of their movements. Refugees residing in designated camps are supposed to receive full support through humanitarian aid. However, the protracted nature of refugees’ stay in Western Tanzania has resulted in a decline of monetary and practical support, as well as donor fatigue over time. A review of the literature about humanitarian aid reveals a widely shared misconception that most humanitarian support for refugees in Tanzania generates from the global North. This false assumption is challenged by showing how refugees and their host communities take part in everyday humanitarian practices. Refugees are compelled to socially re-categorize themselves in order to access the local assistance provided by their host communities.

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