24 May 2004 -- A major charity working with refugees said in a report issued today that more than 7 million refugees worldwide have spent at least a decade relegated to life in camps.
The Washington-based U.S. Committee for Refugees accused the international community of often "warehousing" people who have fled war, persecution, or famine.
Such policies have denied refugees' freedom of movement and violated their rights to education and property.
Merrill Smith, editor of the committee's "World Refugee Survey 2004," said warehousing is the practice of keeping refugees in protracted situations of restricted mobility, enforced idleness, and dependence.
Smith said the practice is in violation of their basic rights under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
She said warehousing is "unnecessary, wasteful, hypocritical, counterproductive, unlawful, and morally unacceptable."