April 18, 2018: 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. 40

Recent Publications and New Research

New Book: Rajan, S. I. (Ed.) (2018). India Migration Report 2017: Forced Migration. Taylor & Francis.

The India Migration Report 2017 examines forced migration caused by political conflicts, climate change, disasters (natural and man-made) and development projects. India accounts for large numbers of internally displaced people in the world. Apart from conflicts and disasters, over the years development projects, often justified as serving the interests of the people and for public good, have caused massive displacements in different parts of the country, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. The interdisciplinary essays presented here combine a rich mix of research methods and include in-depth case studies on aspects of development-induced displacement affecting diverse groups such as peasants, religious and ethnic minorities, the poor in urban and rural areas, and women, leading to their exclusion and marginalization. The struggles and protests movements of the displaced groups across regions and their outcomes are also assessed. Available at:


Zelalem B. Mengesha, Janette Perz, Tinashe Dune, and Jane Ussher (2018), Preparedness of Health Care Professionals for Delivering Sexual and Reproductive Health Care to Refugee and Migrant Women: A Mixed Methods Study, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 15(1), 174

Past research suggests that factors related to health care professionals’ (HCPs) knowledge, training and competency can contribute to the underutilisation of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care by refugee and migrant women. The aim of this study was to examine the perceived preparedness of HCPs in relation to their knowledge, confidence and training needs when it comes to consulting refugee and migrant women seeking SRH care in Australia. The majority of participants (88.9% of nurses, 75% of GPs, and 76% of health promotion officers) demonstrated willingness to engage with further training in refugee and migrant women’s SRH. The findings point to the need to train HCPs in culturally sensitive care and include the SRH of refugee and migrant women in university and professional development curricula in meeting the needs of this growing and vulnerable group of women. Available at: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/1/174/htm

Ghezelbash, D., Moreno-Lax, V., Klein, N., & Opeskin, B. (2018). Securitization of Search and Rescue at Sea: The Response to Boat Migration in the Mediterranean and Offshore Australia. International & Comparative Law Quarterly, 1-37.

This article compares the law and practice of the European Union and Australia in respect to the search and rescue (SAR) of boat migrants, concluding that the response to individuals in peril at sea in both jurisdictions is becoming increasingly securitized. This has led to the humanitarian purpose of SAR being compromised in the name of border security.  Part I contrasts the unique challenge posed by SAR operations involving migrants and asylum seekers, as opposed to other people in distress at sea. Part II analyses the relevant international legal regime governing SAR activities and its operation among European States and in offshore Australia. Part III introduces the securitization framework as the explanatory paradigm for shifting State practice and its impact in Europe and Australia. The article examines the consequences of increasing securitization of SAR in both jurisdictions and identifies common trends, including an increase in militarization and criminalisation, a lack of transparency and accountability, developments relating to disembarkation and non refoulement, and challenges relating to cooperation and commodification. Available at:


Reports, working papers and briefs

Virtual Brief: Immigration Detention: Recent Trends and Scholarship by J. Rachel Reyes, Center for Migration Studies

Over many years, human rights and government watchdog organizations have reported on appalling conditions and abuses in immigration detention centers, particularly privately-owned and/or operated facilities. These conditions have included inadequate medical and mental health care, physical and verbal abuse, sexual violence, and punitive disciplinary procedures. Despite these reports, the Trump administration has aggressively sought to expand the US immigration detention system, and nations increasingly mimic the US detention model. In this “virtual brief,” the author outlines recent detention developments and CMS’s relevant publications and resources on detention conditions; privatization of the detention system; and the growth of immigration detention in the United States and globally. The brief also provides statistics on the expansion of this system, despite the problems and abuses that characterize it. Available at: http://cmsny.org/publications/virtualbrief-detention/.

Rights in Exile policy paper: Host Community Perspectives of Uganda’s Lamwo Refugee Settlement, International Refugee Rights initiative.

This paper focuses on an area in northern Uganda where the government opened a refugee settlement in April 2017, without the inclusive consent of the community. It examines the process by which land was acquired from customary Acholi landowners in Lamwo district to open “Lamwo refugee settlement”. In December 2017, the international refugee rights initiative (IRRI) interviewed customary land owners, local government officials and broader host community members in order to examine aspects of Uganda’s refugee policy throughout the perspective of the host community who deals with the daily implications of sharing resources with refugees. Available at: 


Alarm Phone Report: “The Struggle of Women across the Sea”, Watch The Med Alarm Phone

The Watch The Med Alarm Phone was started in October 2014 by activist networks and civil society actors in Europe and Northern Africa. The project set up a self-organized hotline for refugees in distress in the Mediterranean Sea. It offers the affected boat-people a second option to make their SOS noticeable. The alarm phone documents and mobilises in real-time. This latest Alarm Phone report focuses on the stories and experiences of migrant women, but also explores recent developments in the three Mediterranean regions and gives an account of the 25 emergency cases the initiative has worked on over the past 6 weeks. available on the website at: https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/03/22/the-struggle-of-women-across-the-sea/?post_type_release_type=post And on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/watchthemed.alarmphone/posts/2082619308678968

News reports and blog posts

Still in Talks With Uganda, Israel to Release Asylum Seekers Jailed for Refusing Deportation, By Lee Yaron

On Friday, Uganda announced it was “positively considering” taking in up to 500 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers from Israel, provided their relocation was voluntary. But with no final agreement by Sunday, Israel’s High Court ordered that 207 asylum-seekers jailed for refusing to leave Israel for Uganda should be released . The High Court also extended the suspension of the government’s deportation plan by two more weeks. More available at: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-still-in-talks-with-uganda-israel-to-release-jailed-asylum-seekers-1.6000121 

How Canada’s immigration detention system spurs violence against women by Petra Molnar and Stephanie P. Silverman

The authors reflect on an April 2018 consultation with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. Through their project, they highlight what an application of gender analysis reveals about the ripple effects of immigration detention on women and children. They demonstrate how Detention affects thousands, if not tens of thousands, of women in Canada. Detained women face trauma first-hand. Women are also negatively affected by the detention of family and community members. More available at:


Deeply Talks: Facebook and the Smugglers, by Charlotte Alfred

Europol, the E.U. law enforcement agency, says social media use in people smuggling witnessed “exponential growth over recent years.” This latest Deeply Talks spoke with IOM’s Leonard Doyle and transnational crime expert Tuesday Reitano about how companies like Facebook should respond to the use of their platforms by people smugglers. More available at:


NO ENTRY: How Japan’s shockingly low refugee intake is shaped by the paradox of isolation, a demographic time bomb, and the fear of North Korea, by Tara Francis Chan

Japan has the third-largest economy on the planet, but in the last five years, has granted refugee status to fewer than 100 people. Despite signing onto the 1951 Refugee Convention, Japan only recognizes refugees who are individually targeted and persecuted, regardless of whether they belong to a persecuted minority, or are fleeing war or conflict. This article looks into some factors that have shaped the current strict and hesitant asylum seeking policies in Japan. More available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/why-japan-accepts-so-few-refugees-2018-4

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