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"All Day Waiting"—Konflikte in Unterkünften für Geflüchtete in NRW

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Release date: 2017-05

Germany's shelter system for refugees differs between its 16 federal states; this study focuses on the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), which hosts the highest number of refugees who have entered  Germany thus far. Using a qualitative approach, the study conducted by BICC researchers Simone Christ, Esther Meininghaus and Tim Röing is based on visits to 33 shelters and interviews with more than 200 participants within NRW.

BICC Working Paper 3\2017 “’All Day Waiting’-Conflicts in refugee shelters in NRW” argues that most conflicts that occur in refugee shelters have structural causes. These include the asylum system, the interdependent relationship between the design of physical space and social relations within the shelters, and the particular type of institution that refugee shelters are. Furthermore, there are other types of conflict which occur on a more individual level.

The authors analyse five types of conflict:

\ conflicts between individuals,

\ conflict among groups

\ aggressive and criminal behaviour

\ domestic and sexual violence

\ conflict with staff and institutional conflict

The results of the study confirm the hypothesis that conflicts do not represent a mere accumulation of individual incidents, but rather stem from a closely interrelated set of root causes. Strikingly, the actors involved are not often aware of the processes underlying such conflict. Effective conflict prevention should hence adopt a holistic approach addressing both structural and personal causes of conflict. In this way, the shelter system could be improved significantly for residents and staff.