Living beyond the Bound: A Human Rights Perspective towards Habitat of a Refugee Camp

  • Yasmin Ara Lecturer, Department of Architecture, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Keywords: Refugee Camp, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Housing Rights, ICESCR


Currently, there is widespread international attention to the issue of the quality of treatment accorded to the refugees
by states and humanitarian agencies. The level of importance attached to addressing the predicament of refugees is
due mainly to several human rights declaration, like Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other major
international treaties on human rights. However, the laws and covenants about human and civil rights that consider
housing, healthy living environment and identity become forged when people and condition of the refugee camps all
over the world come into discourse. Since the camps are purpose-built to temporarily accommodate displaced
persons, in the long run they usually fail to fulfill even the most basic long-term requirements of such shelter.
Bangladesh had been hosting about 2,40,000 stranded ‘Pakistani’ refugees since the liberation war of 1971. Since
then, they are located in several camps, of which Geneva Camp in Dhaka is the largest. This camp area holds one of
the examples of how, in real life, people are being dealt with when they are in crisis. It is the purpose of this paper to
highlight a few selected habitat issues with special focus on housing and environmental condition of the camp. The
paper aims to analyze the situation in relation to the international human and housing rights, treaties and standards for
refugees in a global context.