October 25 2017: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 22

Recent Publications and New Research

Speaking Back to a World of Checkpoints: Oral History as a Decolonizing Tool in the Study of Palestinian Refugees from Syria in Lebanon by Mette Edith Lundsfryd

This article questions the validity of conventional notions of borders as fixed territorial areas. It examines the narratives of eight persons who are Palestinian stateless refugees from Syrian who have escaped to neighboring Lebanon since 2011. The narrators often experience border crossing as a pervasive part of their reality one that can be described as “social death,” a result of the limitations imposed by borders on the lives of stateless people. The article argues that the accounts presented speak back to a world of borders whilst challenging the nation-state driven order of borders as fixed spaces. The authors also use reflexivity to discuss how to use privilege, for example the privilege of possessing a European passport, and having the recourses to document experiences across geographical areas, as a way of speaking back to a world of checkpoints whilst advocating a process of research decolonization. Available at:


Groningen Journal of International Law vol. 5, ed. 1

This edition on Migration and International Law was published on 20 September 2017 and all content is provided free of charge. In this issue the Journal aimed to highlight scholarship on a broader spectrum of international migration law rather than to merely focus on the global refugee crisis of recent years. The articles cover topics such as the development of the right to nationality and statelessness under the international migration law framework as well as the omission of development-induced displacement in Colombian internal displacement policies and look at factors beyond the internal armed conflict at the root of Colombia’s record number of internally displaced persons. Some articles propose strategies such as those to enhance the protection of migrants through international law by shifting the discussion from regulation of migration to protection of migrants using human rights, soft law and regional approaches. More articles and details available at: https://grojil.org/volume-5/issue-1-migration-and-international-law/

The Dominant Discourses of Refugees, Recognition, and Othering in Malaysia: Regimes of truth versus the Lived Reality of Everyday Life by Gerhard Hoffstaedter

Refugees in Malaysia rely on the UNHCR for recognition and on the Malaysian authorities for tolerating them. The paper argues that in Malaysia newcomers such as refugees are usually cast into subjectivities that either align or juxtapose with a particular Malaysian identity. In addition, the socio-legal indistinctiveness of refugeeness in Malaysia has resulted in several regimes of truth that capture refugees of varying religious and ethnic backgrounds differently. This paper will unravel the current discourses that engage refugees based on their ethnic and religious background differently. The paper also demonstrates ways and practices refugees themselves employ that circumvent, challenge, and acquiesce to these discourses. Available at:


New book: Challenging Immigration Detention: Academics, Activists and Policy-makers. Edited by Michael J. Flynn and Matthew B. Flynn

Immigration detention is an important global phenomenon increasingly practiced by states across the world in which human rights violations are commonplace. Challenging Immigration Detention introduces readers to various disciplines that have addressed immigration detention in recent years and how these experts have sought to challenge underlying causes and justifications for detention regimes. Contributors provide an overview of the key issues addressed in their disciplines, discuss key points of contention, and seek out linkages and interactions with experts from other fields. More details available at:


Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

 Never in a child’s best interests: A review of laws that prohibit child immigration detention, International detention coalition

This briefing paper reviews the applicable human rights standards regarding child immigration detention, highlighting expert clarifications that the detention of children in the context of migration is never in their best interests and always a child rights violation. The paper then reviews the ways in which this standard is implemented in legal frameworks by describing laws in over 15 countries that establish safeguards against child immigration detention. Available at: https://idcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Briefing-Paper_Never-in-a-childs-best-interests_June-2017.pdf

Urban refugees in Delhi: Identity, entitlements and well-being by Jessica Field, Anubhav Dutt Tiwari and Yamini Mookherjee

This detailed report reflects on the study of two connected, contemporaneous realities in India – urban refugees in India (in this case, specifically, refugees in India’s capital city of Delhi), and India’s lack of a legal framework, domestic or international, that guarantee their protection. Seeking to understand the aspirations and desires of Sikh and Christian Afghan refugees and Rohingya refugees leading incredibly precarious lives in Delhi, the study engages in an exploration of the various factors that contributed to their state of insecurity, and proposes its own take on Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach to formulate long-term, sustainable development and security goals for urban refugees based on the notion of ‘self-reliance’. Available at: https://refugeewatchonline.wordpress.com/2017/10/22/urban-refugees-in-delhi-a-report/

News Reports and Blog posts

The Balkans: Children repeatedly abused by border authorities

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has exposed the violence that continues to be perpetrated on children and young people by European Union Member State border authorities and police on Serbia’s borders with Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia in a new report titled Games of Violence. The report uses medical and mental health data and the testimonies of our young patients in detailing the violence. Available at: http://www.msf.org/en/article/balkans-children-repeatedly-abused-border-authorities

 Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Pledging Conference

A ministerial-level pledging conference was held in Geneva on 23 October. Co-hosted by the European Union and the Government of Kuwait, and co-organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and OCHA, it aimed to raise the necessary resources to enable the humanitarian community to meet the most urgent needs of Rohingya refugees who sought shelter and safety in Bangladesh. Available at: http://www.unocha.org/rohingya-refugee-crisis/rohingya-refugee-crisis-pledging-conference?utm_content=buffera9c9d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=bufferapp.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 Will DACA Parents Be Forced to Leave Their U.S.-Citizen Children Behind?

With the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an estimated 200,000 children are at risk of losing their parents. Available at:


Digital and Social Media

Movie review: ‘Human Flow’ Offers A Searing Look at The Global Refugee Crisis

Human Flow is a documentary directed by Ai Weiwei that explores the everyday lives of people fleeing various conflicts around the world. The review available at: http://www.npr.org/2017/10/13/555652263/-human-flow-offers-a-searing-look-at-the-global-refugee-crisis

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