Apr 25, 2019: 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. 62

Recent Publications and New Research

Lokot, M. (2018). ‘Blood Doesn’t Become Water’? Syrian Social Relations during Displacement. Journal of Refugee Studies. This article challenges simplistic descriptions of change during displacement, highlighting the powerful role of the family in Middle Eastern societies through an exploration of social relations among Syrian refugees in Jordan. It presents a more mixed picture of social dynamics within and outside the family, both before conflict and during displacement. It explores how the hold of the family among Syrians may limit social interactions with ‘outsiders’ during displacement, as well as how displacement may offer opportunities for tighter social regulations to be unravelled. These findings highlight that social relations among refugees must be analysed more carefully, and with consideration of intersectional power dynamics. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/jrs/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jrs/fey059/5233866

Domicelj, T. & Gottardo, C. (2019). Implementing the Global Compacts: the importance of a whole-of-society approach, Force Migration Review. The authors make the case that the global community must now take incisive, coordinated action through a whole-of-society approach to push forward the effective implementation of the two Global Compacts. A ‘whole-of-society approach’ presents important opportunities to embed the meaningful participation and leadership of refugees, migrants and host community members within the infrastructure developed for the Compacts’ implementation, follow-up and review. This applies to both operational and to policy contexts in local, national, regional and global arenas. They argue that achieving such will require the engagement of all actors in creating enabling environments that are safe, inclusive and sustainable. Available at: https://www.fmreview.org/education-displacement/domicelj-gottardo

Meléndez, E. (2018). Sponsored migration: The state and Puerto Rican postwar migration to the United States. The Ohio State University Press. Focusing on Puerto Rico’s migration policy, the author sheds an important new light on the many ways in which the government intervened in the movement of its people: attempting to provide labor to U.S. agriculture, incorporating migrants into places like New York City, seeking to expand the island’s air transportation infrastructure, and even promoting migration in the public school system. The book illuminates how migration influenced U.S. and Puerto Rican relations from 1898 onward. Available at: https://www.doabooks.org/doab?func=fulltext&uiLanguage=en&rid=26839

Jossen, M. (2018). Undocumented Migrants and Healthcare: Eight Stories from Switzerland (Vol. 6). Open Book Publishers. What do undocumented migrants experience when they try to access healthcare? How do they navigate the (often contradictory) challenges presented by bureaucratic systems, financial pressures, attitudes to migrants, and their own healthcare needs? This study explores the ways in which undocumented migrants are included in or excluded from healthcare in a Swiss region. Marianne Jossen explores the ways migrants try to obtain healthcare on their own, with the help of NGOs or via insurance, and how they cope if they fail, whether by using risky strategies to access healthcare or leaving serious health issues untreated. Jossen shows that even for those who succeed, inclusion remains partial and fraught with risks. https://www.doabooks.org/doab?func=fulltext&uiLanguage=en&rid=26882

Report, briefs and policy papers

 Investing in Refugee Talent Lessons Learned in Labour Market Integration (2019), Cities of Migration. With fewer people seeking protection in Germany today, it is time to leave behind the crisis management mode of recent years. Effective methods and strategies were developed over the last few years at short notice. This report aims to recognize the good practices and lessons learned from these “special” programs and integrate them into sustainable local and national governance systems. The report presents some projects and good practice examples as well as learning experiences. It is a valuable resource for employers and communities to helping refugee newcomers settle, find employment and re-start their lives. Available at: http://www.hireimmigrants.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/investing-in-refugee-talent_hire-immigrants.pdf

Field report: Izza Leghtas and Jessica Thea (April 2019). Hidden and Afraid: Venezuelans without status or protection on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao, Refugees International. Since the mass movement of people fleeing the crisis in Venezuela intensified in 2017, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have grappled with ways to meet the needs of this growing population. In displacement crises, the quality of services and assistance typically varies from one host country to another, but the fate of Venezuelans seeking refuge on the small island of Curaçao, only 40 miles from the coast of Venezuela, could very well be the worst in the Americas. A Refugees International team visited Curaçao in February 2019 to research the conditions of Venezuelans living there. They interviewed Venezuelans living in an irregular situation and representatives of civil society organizations and UN agencies. They described a dire situation in which no real opportunities exist for Venezuelans who seek to obtain international protection or other forms of legal stay, thus forcing them into irregularity. Available at:


Ala Al-Mahaidi, Léa Gross and David Cantor (February 2019). Revitalising IDP research A ‘state of the art’ review, Refugee Law Initiative. In July 2018, a special research workshop ‘Revitalising IDP Research’ was convened in London to mark 20 years of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (Guiding Principles). The event was convened with a view to consolidating and revitalising academic interest in IDP issues and promoting renewed research in the field. This report outlines the themes, presentations, discussions and conclusions of the nine thematic panel sessions at that one-day workshop. It also presents a ‘state of the art’ review of research to illustrate the wider context of the current literature and identify priorities for future research identified by each of the panels. Additional areas of contemporary IDP research and the relevant literature are summarised towards the end of the report. Available at: https://rli.sas.ac.uk/sites/default/files/files/Revitalising%20IDP%20Research_RLI%20Review.pdf

News Reports and Blog post

Canada Needs to End the ‘Indefinite Detention’ of Migrants: And, the Supreme Court Should Make it So by James C. Simeon (March 27, 2019), CARFMS blog. The author asks: Why is Canada one of the few countries in the world that still practices “indefinite detention”? He demonstrates how the policy and practice of holding undocumented migrants in “indefinite detention” has been criticized and takes a closer look at the matter which is now before the Supreme Court of CanadaThe question before the court is whether applications of habeas corpus (a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention), in the context of a lengthy detention of uncertain duration, are possible. The author cites evidence to support optimism that Supreme Court of Canada will find that holding someone in detention for an indefinite period, when it “no longer furthers the machinery of immigration control,” is unconstitutional and a breach of the person’s most fundamental Charter rights. Available at: http://carfms.org/canada-needs-to-end-the-indefinite-detention-of-migrants-and-the-supreme-court-should-make-it-so/

Refugees Deeply Review. Refugees deeply is sadly coming to an end. This is a twitter thread that highlights some of its contributions to refugee issues: https://twitter.com/daniel_howden/status/1114156827506282496?s=03

The web and digital and social media

Building Capacity Together – Online Resources. This is a Toronto Local Immigration Partnerships Workshop Series that aims to enhance the capacity of service providers to address the unique needs of refugee claimants and other vulnerable newcomers in Toronto. You may access resources from nine modules here, and protocols/guidelines showcasing best practices for newcomer mental health promotion here.

Cities of Migration – YouTube Channel. This YouTube Channel provides access to the latest and archived videos of Cities of Migration’s webinars, interviews, and events that showcase good ideas in immigrant integration and promote innovative practices that create inclusion and urban prosperity. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/user/CitiesOfMigration/videos

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