The world is experiencing a crisis of forced displacement. The global population of persons displaced from their communities by armed conflict, persecution, atrocity risk, natural disasters, economic desperation, climate change, or some combination of all these factors, has doubled over the last ten years to a record of over 100 million in 2022 – equivalent to the sixth most populous nation on earth.
A routinely overlooked factor unites this enormous and diverse populace – even when fleeing from authoritarian or failed states and arriving at democratic ones, displaced persons experience a comprehensive exclusion from democratic politics. Even in cases where the host country is relatively welcoming, it frequently regards its population of displaced persons as passive, needy recipients that require aid and government services. Translated into refugee policy, this view of displaced persons contributes to the loss of individual and collective political agency that the displaced have already experienced. Often greeted with fear and suspicion, displaced groups' own initiatives for self-organisation and agency frequently fail.
Displaced persons need access to democracy. But what paths are open to more inclusion? What novel political and policy experiments might identify these paths? What could help build host countries' political will to accept more democratic inclusion of their refugee populations?