Reports, Studies, Reviews and Research

No place to go but up. Urban Refugees in Johannesburg, South Africa

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Women's Refugee Commission

Johannesburg is home to more than 450,000 forced migrants, including 51,300 legally recognized refugees, 417,700 asylum seekers and others in refugee-like circumstances. As part of a year-long study on urban refugee livelihoods, the Women’s Refugee Commission undertook a field assessment trip to Johannesburg in March/April 2011, focusing on refugees‘ economic coping strategies, associated protection risks and potential market opportunities. The study concentrated on four urban communities: Somalis and Congolese in the inner city and Zimbabwean and South Africans in Alexander township. Forced migrants, compared to South Africans, are more likely to be vulnerable to poverty and violence. Those living in the townships, relative to those in the inner city, are more likely to be unemployed, live in poor housing conditions, have minimal access to services and be more vulnerable to violence.

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