All posts by mmillard

Jan 17, 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. 55

Recent Publications and New Research

Peter Nyers (2019). Irregular Citizenship, Immigration, and Deportation, London: Routledge. 

The book brings deportation and anti-deportation together with the aim of understanding the political subjects that emerge in this contested field of governance and control, freedom and struggle. It looks at the ways that citizens get caught up in the deportation apparatus and must struggle to remain in or return to their country of citizenship. The book features stories about struggles over removal and return, deportation and repatriation, rescue and abandonment. It features eleven ‘acts of citizenship’ that occur in the context of deportation and anti-deportation, arguing that these struggles for rights, recognition, and return are fundamentally struggles over political subjectivity of citizenship. More information available at:  (A google preview is also available).

Elisabeth Olivius (2018) Time to go home? The conflictual politics of diaspora return in the Burmese women’s movement, Asian Ethnicity (19)1.

This article explores how return to Myanmar is debated within the Burmese women’s movement, a significant and internationally renowned segment of the Burmese diaspora. Does return represent the fulfilment of diasporic dreams; a pragmatic choice in response to less than ideal circumstances; or a threat to the very identity and the feminist politics of the women’s movement? Contrasting these competing perspectives, the analysis offers insights into the ongoing negotiations and difficult choices involved in return, and reveals the process of return as highly conflictual and contentious. In particular, the analysis sheds light on the gendered dimensions of diaspora activism and return, demonstrating how opportunities for women’s activism are challenged, debated and reshaped in relation to return. Available at:

Dustin, N. Ferreira, S. Millns (2019). Gender and Queer Perspectives on Brexit, Palgrave Macmillan.

This book explores the barely recognised gendered and queer dimensions of Brexit while offering a multidisciplinary, policy-oriented and intersectional analysis. It examines the opportunities and challenges, rights and wrongs, and prospects and risks of Brexit from the perspectives of gender and sexuality. The collection explores how Brexit might change the equality, human rights and social justice landscape, but from the viewpoint of women and gender/sexual minorities. The book contains several chapters directly related to asylum and refugees, in particular: Unaccompanied Migrant Children and the Implications of Brexit and The Impact of Brexit on Gender and Asylum Law in the UKas well as a section in Queering Brexit: What’s in Brexit for Sexual and Gender Minorities? More information available at:

Note: the book editors have kindly shared a Special offer to receive 20% off the printed book or eBook. Use the following token on K4PMf2Y9ckCTexG (Valid Jan 8, 2019 – Feb 5, 2019)

Susana de Sousa Ferreira (2019). Human Security and Migration in Europe’s Southern Borders

This book examines the management of migratory flows in the Mediterranean within an international security perspective. The intense migratory flows registered during the year 2015 and the tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea have tested the mechanisms of the EU’s immigration and asylum policies and its ability to respond to humanitarian crises. Moreover, these flows of varying intensities and geographies represent a threat to the internal security of the EU and its member states. By using Spain and Italy as case studies, the author theorizes that the EU, given its inability to adopt and implement a common policy to effectively manage migratory flows on its Southern border, uses a deterrence strategy based on minimum common denominators.   More information available at:

Kerwin, D., Alulema, D., & Nicholson, M. (2018). Communities in Crisis: Interior Removals and Their Human Consequences. Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2331502418820066.

This paper examines the characteristics of deportees from the United States and the effects of deportation on deportees, their families, and their communities. It analyzes the findings from 133 interviews with deportees at a migrant shelter in Sonora, Mexico and interviews with family members of deportees and others affected by deportation in three Catholic parishes in the United States. These findings include: 1) the deportees had established long and deep ties in the United States, including strong economic and family ties, 2) deportation severed these ties and impoverished and divided affected families, 3) most deportees planned to return to the United States, and 4) the US deportation system treated deportees as criminals and the Trump administration sought to instill fear in immigrant communities. The paper concludes with policy recommendations to mitigate the ill effects of the administration’s policies and promote the integrity of families and communities, including: using detention as a “last resort”; reducing funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and limiting collaboration between police and ICE and Customs and Border Protection.  Available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Francisca Vigaud-Walsh, Still at Risk: Restrictions endanger Rohingya Women and Girls in Banglades, Refugees International.

In April 2018, Refugees International (RI) conducted a mission to Bangladesh, to research the GBV response for Rohingya women and girls. RI found that the entire humanitarian system is struggling under tremendous constraints in Bangladesh, and protection and health actors do deliver lifesaving services to survivors in an incredibly challenging environment. This report, however, focuses on key gaps and challenges in GBV programming, as communicated by practitioners deployed to Bangladesh at various stages of the emergency, by local organizations, and by the affected women and girls themselves. Available at:

Adam Fishman, SDG Knowledge Weekly: Looking towards Humanitarian Efforts, Climate Impacts and Adaptation in 2019, January 8, 2019

The SDG Knowledge Hub ( is an online resource center for news and commentary regarding the implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This policy brief reviews priorities for aid in the coming year and efforts towards SDGs on humanitarian issues such as modern slavery. It also summarizes articles and knowledge products on climate adaptation, impacts and finance released around the Katowice Climate Change Conference at the end of 2018. Available at:

News reports and Blog post

2018: A Year of Reporting Deeply on Refugees and Migration by Charlotte Alfred, Daniel Howden, Tania Karas

In this article the editors select 2018’s best stories and commentary on Refugees Deeply. The selections include stories about Refugees from Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, as well as the African Migrants to Europe, Afghan child soldiers, Migrant domestic workers in the gulf, and smuggling in Libya. It also covers topics around UNHCR funding, the global compact, using AI in refugee determination, and including refugees in policy discussions. Available at:

Are women escaping family violence overseas considered refugees?, The Conversation,  January 8, 2019,  by Tamara Wood

With the global attention the Saudi teenager has caught recently, this report reflects on the predicament of women like al-Qunun under international refugee law. It highlights the unique range of legal and practical hurdles Women fleeing family and domestic violence must deal with. Available at:

Digital and social media

The Right to Remain Toolkit

This toolkit is a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It gives an overview of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at key stages, and actions you can take in support of your claim, or to help someone else. Available at:

Dec 13, 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. 54

Recent Publications and New Research

Christopher G. Anderson and Dagmar Soennecken, “Taking the Harper Government’s Refugee Policy to Court,” in Policy Change, Courts and the Canadian Constitution, ed. E. Macfarlane, University of Toronto Press, 2018.

In this chapter, the authors focus on changes that occurred to Canada’s inland refugee policy with two larger goals in mind. First, they de-mystify the role of the courts in shaping refugee policy in Canada. Second, they contribute to a growing body of work that reflects on the contentious relationship between the Harper government and the courts. In particular, the chapter examines the mobilization that occurred through and beyond the courts in response to the government’s 2012 cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) for refugees. The research shows that while the role of the courts in overseeing Canadian refugee policy is generally quite limited, significant mobilization on behalf of refugees inside and outside the courts occurred in response to the Harper government’s particularly rights-restrictive approach. Overall, the authors argue that in order to understand the relationship between the courts and public policy, it is necessary to appreciate the broader policy and political contours within which court rulings emerge, and the specific contexts that prompt court involvement in the first instance. More information about the chapter and the book available at:

Karimi, A. (2018). Sexuality and integration: a case of gay Iranian refugees’ collective memories and integration practices in Canada.  Ethnic and Racial Studies, pp 1-19 
During the past two decades, Canada has accepted hundreds of LGBT asylum seekers, including gay Iranian men. Sociologists of sexualities and migration have yet to study this group as immigrants whose sexualities play a central role in their social interactions, immigration, and integration practices. Taking integration as a category of practice and relying on Halbwachs’s theory of collective memory, the author provides an empirical study of integration practices of gay Iranian refugees in Canada. He draws on 32 interviews with gay Iranian refugees to analyse their interactions with Canadian society at large, the Canadian gay community, and Iranian Diaspora. The findings indicate that memories play the role of proxies that inform gay Iranian refugees’ interactions in Canada at the intersection of race-ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and nationality. Available at:

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethnic and Racial Studies on 28 NOV 2018, available online at:

Gordyn, C. (2018). Pancasila and Pragmatism: Protection or Pencitraan for Refugees in Indonesia?. Journal of Southeast Asian Human Rights, 2(2), 336-357.

Since the 1970s Indonesia has been a transit country for refugees searching for resettlement. While it has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, Indonesia does allow the UNHCR to operate within its borders. Furthermore, Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently pledged humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. This paper asks what motivates Indonesia to assist refugees, despite not being a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention? What principles underlie Indonesia’s approach to refugees? Based on interviews conducted with government officials, practitioners, activists and academics in Indonesia, this paper finds that Indonesia is guided by Pancasila (Indonesia’s state ideology) and the preamble to its constitution in playing a humanitarian role in international society. At the same time, however, this humanitarian imperative is in tension with pragmatism. This means that there are a number of problems for refugee protection in Indonesia. This paper argues that while Indonesia is driven by humanitarian ideals in assisting refugees, it must sign the 1951 Refugee Convention to endorse its commitment to Pancasila and the preamble to the constitution, otherwise it risks using these foundations as simply pencitraan, or ‘window dressing’. available at:

Sarah Khasalamwa-Mwandha (2018): Geographical versus social displacement: the politics of return and post-war recovery in Northern Uganda, Development in Practice

The civil war in Northern Uganda in the period 1986–2006 fundamentally altered former ways of life and created diverse and complex needs. Protracted conflict and displacement create, reveal, and enforce vulnerability, which can undermine resilience. Based on in-depth interviews with internally displaced persons and returnees, both before and after their return to Amuru District and Gulu District, this article argues that war and displacement constitute more than a temporary disruption. The physical and social wounds of war are engraved and embedded in people’s lives. Therefore, recovery interventions must take these effects into account to forge a new post-war future.Please see the complementary link:

Migration Policy Practice, Special issue on Global Compact Migration Vol. VIII, Number 4, November 2018–December 2018

This issue of Migration Policy Practice examines a specific aspect of the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration: that of migration research and analysis. While  acknowledging that migration research output has significantly increased in volume and diversity globally, as outlined in the IOM World Migration Report 2018, the natural starting point for an examination of this issue in the context of the Global Compact and international migration governance more broadly is the Migration Research Leaders’ Syndicate. Full issue available at:  

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

M.Gkliati, H. Rosenfeldt, Accountability of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency: Recent developments, legal standards and existing mechanisms, RLI Working Paper No. 30, 2018

This working paper looks into the increased capacities, tasks and competences of Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency), brought about by the 2016 legislative reform. It examines whether this development was accompanied by an accountability regime of equal strength. The existing accountability mechanisms are measured against the standards of European Union (EU) primary and secondary law. The paper assesses the political, administrative, professional and social accountability of Frontex, including parliamentary oversight and the newly introduced individual complaints mechanism. The final part of the paper focuses on legal accountability, a strong, yet highly complex, form of accountability. There, we introduce the concept of systemic accountability and investigate possible courses of legal action against Frontex. In sum, Frontex is subject to moderately increased scrutiny under its renewed founding Regulation and to various EU accountability mechanisms of general application. But several procedural and practical hurdles could render legal accountability difficult to achieve in practice. available at:

Focus Canada – Fall 2018: Canadian public opinion about immigration, refugees and the USA, Environics Institute for Survey research

As part of its Focus Canada public opinion research program, the Environics Institute updated its research on Canadian attitudes about immigration and about the USA. Results show that Canadians are more likely than not to be positive about immigration and its impact on making Canada a better place. However, opinions appear to have hardened a bit since February, in terms of the overall level of immigration, its contribution to the economy, and perhaps most noticeably the legitimacy of some refugees. Regarding the US, Canadians pay close attention to events in the USA, and this year they have also found their country in the crosshairs of an aggressive US administration over the renegotiation of a new continental free trade agreement. Not surprisingly, general opinion of the USA has declined sharply in 2018, with fewer than four in ten Canadians holding a favourable view; now at its lowest level since Environics began tracking this opinion in 1982. Available at:—final-report.pdf?sfvrsn=fe91cb12_0

Global Migration Indicators 2018, IOM and Global migration data analysis centre

This report is a snapshot of what we know about migration today. The data is organized along 17 key migration themes and based largely on data taken from Global Migration Data Portal – IOM’s one-stop-shop for international migration data. The report aims to provide a baseline for objectives in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and migration-related targets included in the Sustainable Development Goals.” available at:

News reports and Blog post

Taha, D. (2018). Ethical Reflexivity and Decolonizing Refugee Research: Reflections from the Field, CARFMS blog
The blog proposes reflexivity, or asking how the researcher’s position and positionality implicates the research process and the researcher’s interpretations, as a tool not only to sustain rigorous methodological and empirical practices but also as means to decolonizing research. it aims to extend the notion of ethical reflexivity to unravel how research can further marginalize the “Othered” stories by replicating colonial assumptions and reinforcing hegemonic discourses. In addition to reflecting on microethics or ethics in practice, ethical reflexivity thus should strive for a more egalitarian research experience which ensures that the researcher’s interpretations are not made in isolation from the research participants, their worldviews and ways of knowing. the author uses examples and interactions with her respondents during my fieldwork in 2017, where she interviewed Syrian refugee women in Egypt who married Egyptian men often as a coping strategy. available at:

The World has no protection for refugees of climate disasters, Lewis Gordon, The Outline, December 11, 2018

Legally speaking, people displaced by environmental disasters aren’t refugees, even if we recognise their temporary living conditions as reflective of such a definition. Neither are the 18.8 million people displaced by weather-related disasters in 2017, a figure that’s expected to rise sharply as the impact of climate change worsens. This article reflects on the realities of those people all over the world and points towards a platform on disaster displacement. available :

Digital and social media

The Number One Ladies’ Landmine Agency, BBC sounds

After Donald Trump’s recent call for Spain to build a wall across the Sahara Desert to curb African migration into Europe, this documentary follows a unique group of Sahrawi women working alongside the world’s longest minefield, the 2,700km sand wall or berm built by Morocco across the region. Number One Ladies’ Landmine Agency reveals a story of hope and tolerance embodied by a group of young women redefining the stereotype of the veiled, subjugated Arab woman, whose shared mission is to tear down barriers in all their forms. Available at:

Nov 29, 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. 53

Recent Publications and New Research

Journal issue: International protection and SOGI, Genius: Journal of legal studies on sexual orientation and gender identity – November 2018

This Issue explores some of the problematic aspects raised by sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) asylum claims. Going beyond the studies available in this field, which are often focused only on the refugee status determination, the contributions published in this issue scrutinize the entire process of claiming asylum undertaken by SOGI people in need of international protection. Adopting different perspectives based on international, EU and domestic law, all authors advance appropriate proposals to overcome the legal obstacles that prevent, to this day, the protection of SOGI claimants and the full enjoyment of their human rights in Europe and beyond. Articles are available in English and Italian at:

Enns, T. (2017). The Opportunity to Welcome: Shifting responsibilities and the resettlement of Syrian refugees within Canadian communities, Dissertation, University of Oxford

This dissertation asks: to what extent have local and individual resettlement efforts been shaped by a rhetoric of “welcome”, and to what extent have national policies and practices of refugee resettlement reconfigured the scales of responsibility? It starts by providing a revisionist history of refugee resettlement in Canada, it then contextualises the latter within the recent Syrian resettlement effort, and assess the national, community and individual responses and responsibilities—with a particular focus on the community-led response within the Region of Waterloo. It argues that the Syrian example has revealed manifestations of neo-liberalization, regarding who determines one’s right to resettlement, and on whose shoulders the moral and economic impact of resettlement rests. Available (with an account) at:

Akesson, B., Hoffman, D. A., El Joueidi, S., & Badawi, D. (2018). “So the World Will Know Our Story”: Ethical Reflections on Research with Families Displaced by War. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research (Vol. 19, No. 3, p. 19).

This article examines the ethical implications of a qualitative research study exploring the everyday mobilities of Syrian families displaced in Lebanon. The multiple methods of data collection—collaborative family interviews, children’s drawing and mapmaking, GIS-tracked neighborhood walks, and activity logging—encouraged children and family voices. At the same time, these methods provide an opportunity to explore family networks, relationships, and environments that are impacting their lives in the context of war and displacement. These methods, like all research with vulnerable populations, also raise several ethical questions. Using a process of ethical reflexivity, the authors discuss six ethical points related to both procedural and micro-ethics. In addition to shedding light on the importance of uncovering the everyday experiences of refugees using creative methods, they suggest broader ethical implications regarding how to respectfully work with vulnerable populations while still upholding research integrity. Available at:

d’Orsi, C. (2018). To Stay or to Leave? The Unsolved Dilemma of the Eritrean Asylum-Seekers in Israel. Harvard Int’l law Journal, Volume 59.

This work seeks to analyze the conditions of Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel in order to highlight gaps in their protection and to identify gap-filling solutions that would be amenable to both Israeli authorities and Eritreans asylum-seekers. Part I, focuses on the arrival of Eritrean asylum-seekers in Israel. Part II focuses on the reaction of Israeli authorities once the Eritreans have managed to enter the country. It will review attempts to remove the Eritreans as unwanted guests. Part III scrutinizes the conditions of the Eritrean asylum seekers that manage, at least temporarily, to remain in Israel. The analysis cover recent domestic legislation and the sort of “limbo” in which Eritreans find themselves, with very few rights, and with no clear future in Israel or elsewhere. Part IV examines the status of essential socio-economic rights (right to work and right to health) that Eritrean asylum-seekers can claim within Israel. The article concludes by illustrating the major challenges for the Eritrean asylum-seekers in Israel and by making recommendations to improve their situation in the country. Available at:

Camminga, B. (2019). Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa: Bodies over Borders and Borders over Bodies, Palgrave

This book tracks the conceptual journeying of the term ‘transgender’ from the Global North—where it originated—along with the physical embodied journeying of transgender asylum seekers from countries within Africa to South Africa and considers the interrelationships between the two.  The term ‘transgender’ transforms as it travels, taking on meaning in relation to bodies, national homes, institutional frameworks and imaginaries. This study centres on the experiences and narratives of people that can be usefully termed ‘gender refugees’, gathered through a series of life story interviews. It argues that the departures, border crossings, arrivals and perceptions of South Africa for gender refugees have been both enabled and constrained by the contested meanings and politics of this emergence of transgender. Some selections and previews are available at:

Gericke, D., Burmeister, A., Löwe, J., Deller, J., & Pundt, L. (2018). How do refugees use their social capital for successful labor market integration? An exploratory analysis in Germany. Journal of Vocational Behavior105, 46–61.

Using Germany as an example, this qualitative study explores how refugees use their social capital within and outside organizations to enter their host countries’ labor market. Following a grounded theory approach, it interviewed 36 Syrian refugees who had already secured employment in Germany. It aims to provide in-depth information regarding the available types, uses, and benefits of social capital with regard to their access and integration into the labor market. Results showed that refugees have access to different types of social capital and that these types can offer different forms of support to refugees during the labor market integration process. The findings provide insights into how different forms of social capital can facilitate labor market integration of refugees at different stages. Available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Akesson, B. and Coupland, K. (2018). Without choice? Understanding war-affected Syrian families’ decisions to leave home, Migration Research Series No. 54

This report addresses the factors that influenced displaced Syrian families’ decision to leave Syria for Lebanon and how this has impacted the time they took to decide to leave. The research is grounded in the experiences of displaced Syrian families who have left the Syria and fled to Lebanon in the past eight years since the start of the conflict in 2011. The findings indicate that there is much diversity in the decision-making processes that families engage in and underscore the importance of family agency in making decisions. Although many Syrians came to Lebanon to escape risk and find safety, they continue to manage the risks in challenging conditions. The findings counter common popular depictions of refugees as helpless and without agency. In fact, they are making difficult decisions and balancing equally difficult decisions to ensure their family’s survival. Available at:

Mixed Migration Review 2018: Highlights. Essays. Interviews. Data, Mixed Migration Centre

The Mixed Migration Review 2018 provides an overview of the latest evidence, research-based thinking, and specialist comment on the sector. It aims to promote understanding and stimulate discussion of a complex and increasingly politicized field. This report is based on a wide range of research as well as exclusive access to 4Mi data from over 10,000 interviews with refugees and migrants in over twenty countries along seven major migratory routes. In three major sections (the migrants’ world, the smugglers’ world and global debates), the report offers a deep analytical dive into the world of mixed migration. The report does not offer one-size-fits-all solutions or simple conclusions, instead it raises many difficult questions and treats the mixed migration phenomenon with the complexity it deserves. Available at:

Banulescu-Bogdan, N. (2018). When Facts Don’t Matter: How to Communicate More Effectively about Immigration’s Costs and Benefits, Transatlantic Council on Migration

This report explores why there is often a pronounced gap between what research has shown about migration trends and immigration policy outcomes and what the public believes. To do so, it explores the social psychological literature on why people embrace or reject information, as well as recent changes in the media landscape. The report concludes with a re-examination of what it takes to make the “expert consensus” on these issues resonate with skeptical publics, including recommendations for policymakers and researchers seeking to communicate more effectively the costs and benefits of immigration. Available at:

Molnar, P. and Gill, L. (September 2018). BOTS AT THE GATE: A Human Rights Analysis of Automated Decision Making in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee System, International Human Rights Program

This report focuses on the impacts of automated decision-making in Canada’s immigration and refugee system from a human rights perspective. It highlights how the use of algorithmic and automated technologies to replace or augment administrative decision-making in this context threatens to create a laboratory for high-risk experiments within an already highly discretionary system. Vulnerable and under-resourced communities such as non-citizens often have access to less robust human rights protections and fewer resources with which to defend those rights. Adopting these technologies in an irresponsible manner may only serve to exacerbate these disparities. Available at:

News reports and Blog post

Aid emojis, El Nino warnings, and an Afghan summit: The Cheat Sheet, IRIN(November 23, 2018)

This is a weekly report where IRIN editors highlight some  of the most significant humanitarian news, trends, and developments from around the globe. This week’s report covers funding for Palestinian refugees, a UN-hosted conference addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, preparations for extreme weather alerts (El Niño) in many nations in the southern hemisphere, and emergency emojis: graphical icons that can be used in emergency-related reports, maps, and infographics. Available at:

Deportation Monitoring Aegean

This blog, run by an independent monitoring group of activists and scholars, documents deportations from Greece to Turkey. While the blog does not represent an all-encompassing documentation of all deportations from Greece to Turkey, it offers a data breakdown and analysis of deportations; and brings to the fore discrepancies between official information and the actual practices. Available at:

Digital and Social Media

Refugee Law Initiative’s 9th International Refugee Law Seminar Series, Speaker: Professor Penelope Mathew, Griffith University, Date: 19 November 2018

This podcast explores the approach of the final draft of the Global Compact on Refugees – due to be endorsed at the current session of the UN General Assembly – to its primary task of providing ‘a basis for predictable and equitable burden and responsibility-sharing’. Notwithstanding the disappointment expressed by some about the level of ambition of the Compact during its drafting, a careful reading of the final draft reveals the outlines of a firmer mechanism for responsibility sharing that is to be constructed in the future. The talk poses a deeper question concerning the viability of development as the critical vehicle for change. Speaker: Penelope Mathew is a research professor at Griffith Law School, where she served as Dean from June 2014 to June 2018. Her primary area of expertise is international refugee law. Available at:

Nov 15, 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. 52

Recent Publications and New Research

Orchard, Phil (2018) Protecting the Internally Displaced: Rhetoric and Reality, Routledge.

Orchard argues that while an international IDP protection regime exists, many aspects of it are informal, with IDP issues bound up in a humanitarian regime complex that divides the mandates of key organizations and even the question of IDP status itself. Through an in-depth examination of IDP efforts at the international level and across the forty states which have adopted IDP laws and policies, Orchard argues that while progress has been made, new and greater monitoring and accountability mechanisms at both the domestic and international levels are critical. This work will be valuable to scholars, students, and practitioners of forced migration, international relations theory, and the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. More information available at:

Abji, S. (2018). Postnational acts of citizenship: how an anti-border politics is shaping feminist spaces of service provision in Toronto, Canada. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 1-23.

Using interviews with feminist advocates in Toronto, Canada, this research examines how postnational challenges to state power are being mobilized in spaces of service provision addressing gender-based violence. It shows how, for some advocates, a postnational politics deeply informed their critiques of state borders and restrictive immigration controls as fundamental sources of gendered and racialized violence. However, postnational approaches were also limited in offering few concrete alternatives to state protection from domestic or interpersonal violence, particularly for women with precarious immigration status. Significantly, it was through advocates’ everyday practices of service provision that they blueprinted an alternative feminist ethics of solidarity. The author argues that these practices constitute postnational acts of citizenship, in so far as they attempt – albeit imperfectly – to de-border institutional spaces from within. Available at:   

Peterson, G. (2018). Forced Migration, Refugees and China’s Entry into the ‘Family of Nations’, 1861–1949. Journal of Refugee Studies.

This article is concerned with the broad imperial and colonial frameworks that have shaped forced migration and human displacement in Asia. What does it mean, for example, when the international jurisprudence surrounding asylum and refuge was formulated at a time when it was widely assumed—by international lawyers and states alike—that colonial powers could do more or less as they wished with the people under their control? This article argues that such contradictions were not peripheral or incidental, but central to the historical formation of the international regimes governing refugees and forced migrants. The goal is to put the cultural/civilizing discourses of colonialism into the heart of political and economic arguments over how to categorize the movement of people. It focuses specifically on China, and the experiences of Chinese migrants overseas, in order to reveal the complex interlocking of European colonialism in Asia around issues of political asylum, labour migration and a complex colonial apparatus of banishment, exile and deportation. Available at:   

Mcconnachie, K. (2018). Boundaries and Belonging in the Indo-Myanmar Borderlands: Chin Refugees in Mizoram. Journal of Refugee Studies.

This article examines the reception of Chin refugees from Myanmar in Mizoram State in north-east India through the framework of boundaries and belonging. Strong historical, cultural and ethnic connections between Chin and Mizo might suggest a strong claim to belonging. This has been true to some extent but the reception of Chin in Mizoram has also been shaped by perceived otherness. This article explores the co-existing discourses of Chin as other/brother in relation to processes of boundary-making, boundary policing and boundary manipulation. It argues that these contrasting narratives illustrate a dynamic relationship between national borders and boundaries of belonging that speak to deeper truths about the legitimacy of the nation state and the role of place, politics and identity in the construction of insiders and others. Available at:

Huennekes, J. (2018). Emotional Remittances in the Transnational Lives of Rohingya Families Living in Malaysia. Journal of Refugee Studies31(3), 353-370.

In this article, based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork carried out in an urban Rohingya community in Kuala Lumpur, the author illustrates how transnational remittance practices act as an important strategy for maintaining collective wellbeing, both emotionally and financially. However, although remittance practices are imbued with feelings of love and gratitude, they are also infused with feelings of resentment, obligation and guilt. Thus, while remittance practices are important for maintaining family ties and providing a buffer to the precariousness of life locally and transnationally, they also put additional financial and emotional pressure on family members, who remain stuck in protracted transit countries like Malaysia. Available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Atak, Idil and Nakache, Delphine and Guild, Elspeth and Crépeau, François (2018), ‘Migrants in Vulnerable Situations’ and the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration. Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 273/2018.

This Working Paper examines the concept of the vulnerability of migrants which has become a key term in the UN’s negotiations for a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The authors argue that the concept must be interpreted inclusively and related to the human rights obligations of states through the UN conventions. All too often migrants are vulnerable because of state action. States must ensure that they deliver on their human rights obligations in ways which reduce the vulnerability of migrants. Available at:

Communities in Crisis: Interior Removals and Their Human Consequences, a report by The Kino Border Initiative (KBI), the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), and the Office of Justice and Ecology (OJE) of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States
This report details findings from the CRISIS Study (Catholic Removal Impact Survey in Society), which interviewed deportees at KBI’s migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, and those affected by deportation in Catholic parishes in Florida, Michigan, and Minnesota. The interviews explored: (1) the impact of removals on deportees, their families, and other community members; (2) the deportation process; and (3) the relationship between deportees and their families. The report also includes policy recommendations to mitigate the ill effects of the administration’s policies and promote the integrity of families and communities, including: using detention as a “last resort;” reducing funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and limiting collaboration between police and ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Available at:

Human trafficking vulnerabilities in Asia: What’s the incentive? Comparing regular and irregular migrant work experiences from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to Thailand, International Labour Organization and United Nations Development Programme (2018)

The report provides a synthesised outline of the regulatory framework for labour migration between the two countries, evaluates that against the recruitment, work and life experiences reported by regular migrant workers, and compares these with the conditions faced by irregular migrant workers. It is divided into four sections, covering respondents’ background information and pre-departure conditions; the recruitment process; the working and living conditions in Thailand; and the end of their work and the return to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The study concludes that, overall, regular labour migration has yielded more positive migrant work outcomes than irregular channels in the sample. Available at:

From Europe to Afghanistan: Experiences of child returnees, Save the Children (2018)

This report assesses the impact on children who were returned from Europe to Afghanistan. Through interviews with individual children, their parents or guardians, and with governmental and non-governmental actors, it builds a picture of children’s material, physical, legal and psychosocial safety during the returns process. Returns processes implemented by EU member states and Norway are examined to analyse where European governments are failing to provide appropriate support. Available at: 

Summary Report: A Brief Timeline of the Human Rights Situation in the Calais Area, Refugee Rights Europe (2018)

On the occasion of the two-year milestone since the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp, Refugee Rights Europe and Help Refugees release a new report highlighting the human rights situation which has been unfolding in northern France over the past few decades. The report highlights many years of human suffering, characterised by precarity, rough-sleeping, dangerous and unauthorised border-crossings, and what appears to be excessive police violence. After decades of encampments and evictions, and two years on from the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp, it is evident that the state approach tried so far is simply not working. Available at:

Harm Reduction in Immigration Detention: A Comparative Analysis of Detention Centres in Europe, The Global Detention Project

This Special Report systematically compares conditions and operations at detention centres in five European countries – Norway, France, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland – to identify practices that may be used to develop “harm reducing” strategies in detention. Commissioned by the Norwegian Red Cross as part of its efforts to promote reforms of Norway’s detention practices, the report addresses several key questions:  In what ways has the Norwegian system met or exceeded internationally recognised standards? In what ways has it fallen short, especially when compared to detention practices of peer countries? And what are the key reform priorities going forward that may help reduce the harmful impact of detention? Available at:

News Reports and Blog Posts

Refugia: Answering the Critics, Nicholas Van Hear, (Oct. 29, 2018). News Deeply

It is three years since Nicholas Van Hear and Robin Cohen, two Oxford academics, floated the idea of Refugia: a transnational polity created for and governed by refugees. It was conceived as an archipelago of self-governing refugee communities spread around the world but interconnected, freed from territory. In this article, Van Hear responds to five main criticisms of his proposed Refugia in advance of a book on the subject due out later this year. Available at:

Digital and Social Media

Documentary: Harrell-Bond: a life not ordinary, Katarzyna Grabska.

This documentary explores the achievements of Barbara Harrell-Bond – academic, refugee activist and a life-long advocate of refugee rights. Available at:

The 9th International Refugee Law Seminar Series: Niger: The Making of a Model Transit Country, Speaker: Daniel Howden, Refugees Deeply (7 November 2018)

Howden argues that, though unfortunate, Niger is seen by many as the European Union’s “model” for how other transit countries should manage migration. Thus, A critical examination of Niger offers insight into what this model actually means for those in search of international protection and for the countries whose economies have long depended on human mobility. Available at:

Nov 1, 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. 51

Recent Publications and New Research

Bhabha, J. (ed.) (2018). Research Handbook on Child Migration. Edward Elgar Publishing.

This Research Handbook is a comprehensive and diverse collection of the best and most up-to-date research on global child migration. It covers a wide range of topics from the history of specific child migration flows, the ethnography of child migration, and child specific legal tools and challenges, to the psychological effects of migration on child migrants. More information available at:

Steele , Liza G. & Lamis Abdelaaty (2018) “Ethnic diversity and attitudes towards refugees.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 

This article highlights the impact of ethnic diversity on attitudes towards refugees. It argues that group threat theory and the contact hypothesis offer competing predictions: The former would expect diversity to be associated with opposition to refugees, while the latter would expect diversity to generate support for them. The authors explore individual-level attitudes in nineteen countries using the 2014 wave of the European Social Survey, combined with country-level data from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, the Manifesto Project Dataset, and five different databases of ethnic diversity measures. They conclude that greater ethnic diversity is associated with decreased support for refugees, but this relationship is not consistent across all measures of diversity. Free E-prints available at:

Mcnevin, A., & Missbach, A. (2018). Hospitality as a Horizon of Aspiration (or, What the International Refugee Regime Can Learn from Acehnese Fishermen). Journal of Refugee Studies.

In May 2015, Acehnese fishermen rescued over 1,800 displaced Rohingya who were stranded in the Andaman Sea. They did so in the face of a regional governmental stand-off that threatened to leave the Rohingya to drown. What compelled the fishermen and the villages from which they came to respond in this way? How might this example be instructive for an international refugee regime that failed in this case, as in others, to offer even the most basic form of protection to some of the world’s most egregiously displaced? This article responds to these questions showing how the Acehnese example speaks to a general paradox of hospitality that all potential hosts confront, including those states currently denying entrée to asylum seekers. Available at:

Raheja, N. (2018). Neither Here nor There: Pakistani Hindu Refugee Claims at the Interface of the International and South Asian Refugee Regimes. Journal of Refugee Studies.

Pakistani Hindu refugee claims in India are shaped by both the international refugee regime and the regional South Asian refugee regime, which have overlapping and diverging notions of what constitutes refugeeness. This article argues that an attention to the interfaces between refugee regimes, and refugees and their advocates, reveals the ambiguities and consequences for people trying to work in and through multiple socio-legal regimes. As Pakistani Hindus and their advocates juggle expectations of what constitutes a good refugee, they are unable to fully satisfy the conditions of either regime’s criteria for refugee recognition. Available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Martin, Susan, Elizabeth Ferris, Kanta Kumari and Jonas Bergmann (2018) The Global Compacts on Environmental Drivers. Knomad Policy Brief 11.

The Global Compacts on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and on Refugees hold the potential for addressing the causes of and improving responses to migration, displacement and relocation across borders as a result of sudden- and slow-onset natural disasters, environmental degradation, and the adverse effects of climate change. The compacts reference and, in the case of the migration compact, provide specific commitments to address the drivers of environmental mobility and to develop policies aimed at ensuring greater protection for those affected by these movements. This policy brief outlines the ways in which the compacts address these issues, identifies gaps and weaknesses in the current drafts of the compact, and makes recommendations to enhance the compacts’ provisions on environmental mobility. It recommends, among others, that the compacts should expand on the relationship between internal and international migration and displacement, committing, at a minimum, to bring states, experts and other stakeholders together to identify mechanisms to improve protection of the rights of internal migrants and displaced persons. Available at:

Defending Child Rights for Refugees and Newcomers, New Brunswick Child & Youth Advocate; Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights (Carleton University), October 10, 2018

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, in collaboration with the youth group East Coast Shaking the Movers, issued a report where the young participants provided 33 recommendations on the rights of the child while taking into consideration the context of immigration, the refugee process and the school environment. They also reported cases of discrimination towards newcomers and identified recommendations to break down stereotypes and foster respectful communities where rights are respected and individuals are free from racial discrimination. Full report available at:

Paradigm shift: How investment can unlock the potential of refugees, Refugee Investment network (RIN)

An initiative of the Global Development Incubator, the RIN has published its first major report offering impact investors, grant-makers, and development finance professionals the first landscape of the what, why, who, where, and most importantly, how, of investing in and with displaced people. The report presents data and case studies showing that innovative refugee investments are already taking shape using “creative financing structures” to mitigate the perceived risks. Much more can and must be done, concludes the report, which offers recommendations for the impact investment community, foundations and corporations. Full report available at:

Physical Fences and Digital Divides. A Global Detention Project Investigation into the Role of Social Media in the Context of Migration Control (Two parts)

This Global Detention Project Special Report is aimed at improving our understanding of how people use social media during their migration journeys, with a special emphasis on their use in the context of detention and migration control in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Two subsequent installments in this series will include on-the-ground reports of the diverse ways people put social media to use during their migration journeys and provide recommendations for human rights practitioners who wish to harness social media in ways that emphasise harm-reduction. Part I: Exposing the “Crisis”, available at:

Part II: “Why Would You Go?” available at:

Brittany Lambert, Protected and Powerful: Putting Resources and Decision Making Power in the Hands of Women in Conflict, Oxfam Canada, October 2018

This paper examines the challenges women and girls face in conflict settings and recommends concrete actions that the Canadian government can take to empower women in conflict. It suggests that Canada is well-positioned to make a strong contribution to world peace by tackling gender inequality before, during and after conflicts. To do this, the government must continue to transform the way it delivers humanitarian assistance—and adopt a coherent feminist foreign policy. Download the full report at:

News and Blog Posts

Yemen: The forgotten war, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International

For three years much of the world has ignored the war in Yemed and heard little about its devastating consequences. This report highlights the origins of the conflict and tracks how civilians are paying the price through the countless human rights violations from both sides. Available at: 

French offered €1,500 tax break to take in a refugee by Adam Sage, The Times, October 19, 2018. 

French households will be able to claim a €1,500 tax credit if they open their home to a refugee under a measure adopted by MPs. The government has been attempting to address a shortage of accommodation for asylum-seekers following a 17 per cent rise in asylum claims last year. A total of 80,221 beds are available in shelters intended for asylum-seekers, but that about 13,000 of these are occupied by people who already have refugee status, leaving thousands of newcomers sleeping rough in parks and on pavements. Full report for subscribers available at:

The Vulnerability Contest by Daniel Howden and Metin Kodalak, Refugees Deeply, October 17, 2018

This piece reports on a months-long investigation into the stories of three Afghan boys, whose lives as undocumented refugees in Iran led to them being forcibly recruited and sent to fight in Syria. It is the first detailed, personal account from child soldiers who have served in the Iran-backed Fatemiyoun Brigade. The boys are among an increasing number of ethnic Hazara Afghans whose asylum claims are being rejected. Europe granted asylum to just 44 percent of Afghan applicants in early 2018. Full report available at: 

From the ground up: Inside the push to reshape local aid

Local humanitarian aid includes a broad spectrum of potential on-the-ground responders to crises and disasters: local NGOs, civil society groups and community leaders, indigenous peoples, local governments, as well as people who are themselves affected by crises, including refugees, host communities, and everyday volunteers. In 2016, dozens of the world’s largest donors and humanitarian groups pledged to put more power – and funding – in the hands of local aid groups. But reforms have been slow. With humanitarian needs soaring and donor funding struggling to keep pace, local aid workers believe they are the key to a more sustainable future for humanitarian response. But is the global aid sector prepared to change? Here’s an overview of the push to reshape aid, and stories from our continuing coverage of local humanitarian response on the front lines of crises around the world. Available at:

How Syrian refugees have strained and strengthened Jordan. 

The Christian Science Monitor looks at how the large influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan since 2012 has impacted the country’s schools, hospitals and economy. Despite the obvious strain on resources, Jordanians have largely remained hospitable to the newcomers. But as donor funding for Syrian refugees dwindles, aid agencies warn that this hospitality has its limits. The CSM reports from Mafraq, near the Syrian border, which has seen its population more than double as refugees became a majority. Initially, rents rose, and the water supply was under strain, but the refugees also brought jobs and foreign investment in local infrastructure. Available at:

October 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. 50

Recent Publications and New Research

Forced Migration Review new issue: Twenty Years of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

In the 20 years since they were launched, the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement have been of assistance to many states responding to internal displacement and have been incorporated into many national and regional policies and laws. However, the scale of internal displacement today remains vast, and the impact on those who are displaced is immense. In this issue, authors acknowledge the applications and successes of the Guiding Principles while reflecting on their limitations, the challenges to their implementation, their relevance to contemporary incidences and difference drivers of internal displacement, future challenges that might have to be faced, and the potential application of new understandings and new approaches. Available at:

New Book: Leung, Linda (2018). Technologies of Refuge and Displacement Rethinking Digital Divides, Roman and Littlefield

This book aims to theoretically and practically understand technology access and use from the perspective of those on the “wrong” side of the digital divide. Specifically, it examines refugees as a group that has received scant attention as technology users, despite their urgent need for technological access to sustain tenuous links to family and loved ones during displacement. It draws from over 100 interviews and surveys with refugees conducted from 2007 to 2011 to interrogate well-known theories about technology and its users. In doing so, it seeks to rethink the popular model of “digital divide” and offer alternative ways of conceptualizing technology literacy and access. More information available at:

New Book: Garnier, Adele, Liliana Lyra Jubilut and Kristin Bergtora Sandvik (2018) Refugee Resettlement: Power, Politics and Humanitarian Governance. New York City: Berghahn Books.

This edited volume examines resettlement practices worldwide and draws on contributions from anthropology, law, international relations, social work, political science, and numerous other disciplines. It highlights the conflicts between refugees’ needs and state practices, and assesses international, regional and national perspectives on resettlement, as well as the bureaucracies and ideologies involved. It offers a detailed understanding of resettlement, from the selection of refugees to their long-term integration in resettling states, and highlights the relevance of a lifespan approach to resettlement analysis. The book is available for purchase here: some sections available on google books at:

Angulo-Pasel, C. (2018). The journey of Central American women migrants: engendering the mobile commons. Mobilities, 1-16.

This article delves into the concept of the ‘mobile commons’ which is articulated within the Autonomy of Migration (AoM) approach. The AoM literature focuses on migrant agency by advocating that migrants practice ‘escape’ and ‘invisibility’. However, drawing on the stories of women migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras travelling through Mexico, this article aims to engender and thereby trouble the concept of the mobile commons by questioning several taken-for-granted assumptions that are based on gender-neutral knowledge and dichotomous ways of thinking. The analysis first focuses on explaining the mobile commons as a theoretical concept. It then discusses how conceptualizing the mobile commons through a feminist perspective challenges the ideas of invisible knowledge and trust often integral to the ways in which the concept of the mobile commons is used. Finally, it outlines the survival strategies that migrant women may use given their own knowledge of the migration context in Mexico, and reflect on what this means for the scholarly understanding of the ‘mobile commons’. Available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Research Brief: Clemens, Michael, Cindy Huang and Jimmy Graham, The Economic and Fiscal Effects of Granting Refugees Formal Labor Market Access, The Center for Global Development

In this brief the authors argue that granting refugees formal labour market access (LMA) has the potential to create substantial benefits for refugees and their hosts. Global businesses can also benefit and can help to shape government policy related to the rights of refugees to work and own businesses. Problems associated with increased competition for jobs tend to be more pronounced when refugees are pushed into small corners of the informal sector, according to the paper which previews the economic effects of granting formal LMA to refugees and the policies that can help maximise the benefits and avoid any potential costs. Available at:

Global Detention Project Report: Immigration Detention in Egypt: Military Tribunals, Human Rights Abuses, Abysmal Conditions, and EU Partner

Egypt has long been a destination and transit country for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants from across the Middle East and Africa. Its Mediterranean coast has served as an important staging point for people attempting to reach Europe irregularly. Observers have repeatedly expressed concerns about Egypt’s use of police stations and prisons for immigration detention purposes. With the jurisdiction of Egypt’s military substantially expanded since the military coup in 2013, military officers can arrest people for migration-related offences and place them before military tribunals that do not meet international fair trial standards. Despite on-going government repression of civil society organisations and the dire conditions migrants face in detention, Egypt remains a key EU partner in Mediterranean migration control policies. Read the full report at: 

IWYS Knowledge Synthesis Reports

CERIS has released four knowledge synthesis reports on Immigrant Women, Youth, and Seniors (IWYS). The reports survey existing research and services for these groups across Canada, focusing on what impact services have on immigrant outcomes. The review of recent research on and existing services for immigrant women, youth, and seniors in Canada addresses three main questions. First, what do we know about the settlement experiences—particularly outcomes—of these diverse groups of immigrants? Second, what is out there in terms of services specifically targeting them? Third, what impact, if any, do existing services have on immigrant outcomes? The report tackles each question in four substantive areas of settlement: (a) labour market participation and income; (b) education and language training; (c) health, mental health, and well-being; and (d) social and civic participation. Available at:

News and blog posts

Introducing the Refugees and Migrants Page, By Refugees and Migrants Page Editors

This Refugees and Migrants Project (RAMP) page is designed to encourage readers to re-think how we conceive the movement of people, within and between states, in the twenty-first century. It addresses the phenomenon of population movements, emergent policies, as well as humanitarian aid practices and policies toward refugees and migrants, legal and not. Most importantly, RAMP seeks to re-center the narrative about refugees and migrants onto the impacted communities thus disrupting their characterization as “crises” or “problems.” Instead, it will focus on their rights and contributions; highlights how their challenges inform the adequacy of the state and international norms and documents the conditions that create their situations. It also focuses on documenting the various strategies and tactics displaced people use to access housing, urban services, jobs, and leisure in cities, towns, and regions, against multiple odds. Available at:   

The UN Refugee Agency’s report shows that Canada should welcome more refugees, by Didem Dogar

According to the Global Trends report, how well did Canada do in welcoming refugees compared to other countries in the world? Considering all these numbers, is Canada doing well in opening its doors to refugees? The author argues that the answer depends on where we look from. It argues that on a national level, Canada did relatively well in welcoming refugees in comparison to its approach in the previous years and, especially, in comparison to the Trump Administration’s policies in the US. However, on a global level, Canada’s position does not seem as positive. Available at:

Almost 6,000 Australian doctors call for removal of children from Nauru.

The doctors signed a letter, to be delivered to Prime Minister Scott Morrison today, demanding the government remove 80 children from Australia’s offshore processing facility on Nauru due to serious mental and physical health concerns. it was reported that almost all refugee children there were traumatized and needed to be assessed and treated “as a matter of urgency”. On Friday, UNHCR called for all refugees and asylum-seekers to be evacuated from Australia’s offshore facilities. Available at:

Re-opened border with Ethiopia sees spike in Eritrean arrivals by report from Norwegian Refugee Council 

One month after the re-opening of two border crossing points between Ethiopia and Eritrea, more than 10,000 Eritreans have crossed into Ethiopia. Most are women and children wanting to reunite with family members already in Ethiopia. UNHCR and the NRC said reception centres have become over-crowded as an average of 390 people arrive every day. The Guardian reports that young Eritrean conscripts and their families are still waiting in hope that their government will announce an end to indefinite national service following the peace deal with Ethiopia. Eritrea’s compulsory national service has been one of the main reasons young people have fled the country in recent years. More available at:

Ferreira, Nuno and Denise Venturi (2018) Testing the untestable: The CJEU’s decision in Case C-473/16, F v Bevándorlási és Állampolgársági Hivatal. European Database of Asylum Law. June 28.

This blog post considers the case of a claim for asylum by a Nigerian man in Hungary on the basis of sexual orientation, a claim that was initially denied and then appealed to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The authors argue that this case brought the matter of sexual orientation asylum claims back into the EU arena and offered the court an opportunity to improve some of the shortcomings of its own previous decisions on this type of claim. The authors start with the premise that law should be about people, not (just) about abstract notions and fuzzy values. Available at:

October 3, 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. 49

Recent Publications and New Research

Kutscher, Nadia and Lisa-Marie Kreß (2018) The ambivalent potentials of social media use by unaccompanied minor refugees. Social Media & Society 4(1).

This study focuses on the question of how unaccompanied minor refugees use digital (social and mobile) media in the context of their forced migration to Germany. It explores how they use these media to stay in contact with family and friends in their country of origin and beyond, to establish new relationships, to orient themselves in the receiving country, and to search for (professional) support. The authors present key findings and their theoretical implications as well as a methodological and ethical reflection on this research into how minor refugees maintain transnational social networks through their use of digital media. This article is part of a special collection edited by Koen Leurs and Kevin Smets entitled “Forced migration and digital connectivity in(to) Europe”. All articles are freely available in open-access format here:

Carastathis, Anna, Aila Spathopoulou and Myrto Tsilimpounidi (2018) Crisis, what crisis? Immigrants, refugees, and invisible struggles. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees 34:1.

This article reflects on the use of the term ‘crisis’ in relation to recent events in Greece, including both the financial crisis and the refugee crisis. The authors ask: What are the different vocabularies of crisis? The paper explores whether the invocation of the term crisis has facilitated an institutional response in Europe and beyond. The authors conclude that the everyday reality is invisible in these representations and call for a shift away from a state-devised category and towards an examination that understands the categories of ‘immigrant’ and ‘refugee’ as part of the larger category of groups who have been made precarious through capitalist oppressions. This paper is part of a special issue on intersectional feminist interventions in the “refugee crisis” edited by Anna Carastathis, Natalie Kouri-Towe, Gada Mahrouse and Leila Whitley. An open access version of this paper is available here:

Saunders, Natasha (2018) Beyond asylum claims: refugee protest, responsibility, and Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The International Journal of Human Rights. Published online: June 26.

This article provides an analysis of the substantive content of recent protests by refugees and asylum seekers that goes beyond the growing body of literature focused on the refugee or asylum seeker as political subject. The author explores the claims and demands of refugees and asylum seekers in two long-running protest movements, in Austria and Germany. The article argues that the protestors’ demands go beyond claims for asylum and are better understood as rights claims that correspond to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 28 – demands for a social and international order suitable to the realization of human rights. As such, the author argues that these claims are not addressed by an approach based on the concept of responsibility for forced migration but instead correspond to the conception of political responsibility for structural injustice advanced by Iris Marion Young.

The article can be accessed here:

A limited number of free e-prints are available at this link: 

Young, Julie E. E. (2018) The Mexico-Canada border: extraterritorial border control and the production of ‘economic refugees’. International Journal of Migration and Border Studies (IJMBS) 4(1/2).

This author argues that the interplay between discourses of the ‘bogus economic refugee’ and Canada’s extraterritorial bordering practices is crucial to understanding human security in North America. This article proposes the concept of the Mexico-Canada border as shorthand for how Canadian policies and practices aim to police Mexico’s borders. The paper considers the specific example of Canada’s implementation of a visa requirement in 2009 in response to a so-called ‘surge’ in refugee claims by Mexican nationals. The author also examines how Mexico has been constructed as the focus of regional migration management, including through Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program to support policing and border security efforts within Mexico. The paper concludes that both initiatives contribute to a broader Canadian strategy of Mexican refugee deterrence. This paper is part of a special issue entitled ‘Borders, (Dis)Order, And Exclusion: Mapping Migration Governance From the Margins,’ edited by Cetta Mainwaring and Margaret Walton-Roberts. Sadly, the full article is not open access:

Easton-Calabria, Evan and Naohiko Omata (2018) Panacea for the refugee crisis? Rethinking the promotion of ‘self-reliance’ for refugees. Third World Quarterly.

This article provides a critical examination of the current promotion of ‘self-reliance’ for refugees. The authors argue that existing scholarship largely ignores the unsuccessful historical record of international assistance to foster refugees’ self-reliance and has failed to consider its problematic linkages to neoliberalism and the notion of ‘dependency’. In this article, the authors show that the current conceptualisation and practice of self-reliance are largely shaped by the priorities of international donors that aim to create cost-effective exit strategies from long-term refugee populations. They argue that where uncritically interpreted and applied, the promotion of self-reliance can result in unintended and undesirable consequences for refugees’ well-being and protection. Sadly, not open access:

New Books

Chatty, Dawn (2018) Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refugee State. London: Hurst Publishers.

This new book places the current displacement of Syrians within the context of other migrations that have marked the region since the 19th century. The author underlines that while the dispossession and forced migration of nearly half of Syria’s population now constitutes the greatest refugee crisis since World War II, Syria itself has also harboured millions of people from neighbouring lands in the past, and these diasporas have shaped Syrian society. The author explores how modern Syria came to be a refuge state through major forced migrations into Syria of Circassians, Armenians, Kurds, Palestinians, and Iraqis. The book outlines how a local cosmopolitanism came to be seen as intrinsic to Syrian society. The author characterizes the current outflow of people from Syria to neighbouring states as that of people seeking survival with dignity, and argues that though the future remains uncertain the resilience and strength of Syrian society and this history of cosmopolitanism provides hope that successful return and reintegration may follow the present-day Syrian civil war. The book is available through the publisher:

Bloch, Aice and Giorgia Donà (eds.)(2018) Forced Migration: Current issues and debates. Oxford: Routledge.

This book provides a critical engagement with and analysis of contemporary issues in the field using inter-disciplinary perspectives, through different geographical case studies and by employing a variety of methodologies. Through their review of key research and scholarship and insights from their own research, the contributing authors provide a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of current issues in forced migration.  The contributors to this edited collection include Paula Banerjee, Alice Bloch, Milena Chimienti, Anne-Laure Counilh, Giorgia Donà, Wenona Giles, Marie Godin, Jennifer Hyndman, Loren Landau, Nassim Majidi, Laurence Ossipow, Ranabir Samaddar, Liza Schuster Eftihia Voutira, and Roger Zetter. The book is available from the publisher (with a google scholar preview available without cost):

Garnier, Adele, Liliana Lyra Jubilut and Kristin Bergtora Sandvik (eds.)(2018) Refugee Resettlement: Power, Politics and Humanitarian Governance. New York City: Berghahn Books.

This edited volume examines resettlement practices worldwide and draws on contributions from anthropology, law, international relations, social work, political science, and numerous other disciplines. It highlights the conflicts between refugees’ needs and state practices, and assesses international, regional and national perspectives on resettlement, as well as the bureaucracies and ideologies involved. This book also offers a detailed understanding of resettlement, from the selection of refugees to their long-term integration in resettling states, and highlights the relevance of a lifespan approach to resettlement analysis. The book is available for purchase here:

An open-access version of the Introduction of the book is available here:

Chaudhury, Sabyasachi Basu Ray and Ranabir Samaddar (eds.)(2018) The Rohingya in South Asia: People Without a State. Oxford: Routledge.

This book examines the situation of the Rohingya in the South Asian region, primarily India and Bangladesh. The authors note that the Rohingya of Myanmar are among the world’s most persecuted minority populations without citizenship. They outline how after the latest exodus from Myanmar in 2017, more than half a million Rohingya in Bangladesh live in camps, often in abject poverty, while others have taken to the seas in search of a better life. This edited volume explores the broader picture of the historical and political dimensions of the Rohingya crisis, and examines subjects of statelessness, human rights and humanitarian protection of these victims of forced migration. Further, it chronicles the actual process of the emergence of a stateless community and the transformation of a national group into a stateless existence without basic rights. The book is available from the publisher:

Samaddar, Ranabir (ed.)(2018) Migrants and the Neoliberal City.  Orient Blackswan

This edited volume is the culmination of research conducted by the Calcutta Research Group on rural migrants as the core of the urban poor in India. The authors examine why and how this contradiction plays out in the lives of migrants, on whose labour Indian cities depend. They start with a view of cities as engines of economic growth but also as inadequate and contested spaces. This collection of twelve essays, based on extensive research and fieldwork, investigates the experience of migrating to three of India’s populous metropolitan cities: Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. The authors focus on the interrelations between urban policy, governance, forms of labour, migration and neoliberalism as the political ideology motivating increasing urbanisation of India. Noting that cities are increasingly turning into sites of conflict, fragmentation, gentrification, and acute class conflict, the authors document and examine the coping strategies of these migrants as well as new forms of urban struggles and resistances to legal and policy regimes that have emerged. The book is available through the publisher:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Cole, Georgia (2018) Questioning the value of ‘refugee’ status and its primary vanguard: The case of Eritreans in Uganda. Refugee Studies Centre (University of Oxford.)

This paper examines the perceived ‘value’ of refugee status for refugees and displaced communities in terms of accessing protection and longer-term solutions. Through empirical research with Eritreans in Kampala and Asmara, the author explores the taken-for-granted portrayal of refugee status as a necessary – or the best suited – gatekeeper to protection and enduring solutions. The paper seeks to reframe a frequent anxiety in forced migration studies, which centres on the question of whether there is something unique about refugees beyond their legal status that makes them a clear object of study. This research instead asks in what ways displaced individuals perceive that being assigned refugee status would make them different, and what they understand would follow from this in terms of securities and solutions. The author considers the role and value of refugee status not tin terms of its intended functions but rather through a grounded, granular analysis of people’s attitudes and responses to it. An open access version of this document is available here:

Bejan, Raluca (2018) Problematizing the Norms of Fairness Grounding the EU’s Relocation System of Shared Responsibility. European University Institute Working Papers. RSCAS 2018/35.

This paper problematizes the logic of the European Union (EU)’s provisional relocation system for internally redistributing asylum seekers. It argues that the tenets embedded in the current relocation scheme disregard the idea of distributive equity and apply the principle of solidarity and the fair sharing of responsibility asymmetrically between Member States. The paper asserts that equally matched levels of shared responsibility are not synonymous with fair responsibility and that Member States are not equal actors across the EU’s political, economic and social spheres. To achieve fairness, the author argues that the distribution of interstate responsibility must use unequal rather than equal scaling weights and proposes the concept of differing egalitarianism to guide interstate responsibility sharing efforts vis-à-vis the transfer of people in need of international protection within the EU. An open access version of this working paper is available here:

News and blog posts

Gordyn, Carly (2018) The Bali process and refugee protection in Southeast Asia. Asylum Insight.

This article explores the development of the Bali Process from a forum heavily focused on the securitisation of borders, to one that now considers refugee protection. The blog post is available here:

September 7, 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. 48

Recent Publications and New Research

Ekman, Mattias (2018) Anti-refugee mobilization in social media: The case of Soldiers of Odin. Social Media and Society Jan – Mar 1-11.

This article analyzes how racist actors use social media to mobilize and organize street politics targeting refugees and other immigrants. The author’s aim is to explore the relation between social media and anti-refugee mobilization in a time of perceived insecurity and forced migration. The study examines the vigilante network Soldiers of Odin as a specific case, looking at how they communicate through social media as well as at how right-wing online sites and traditional mainstream news represent them. The author proposes that although racist actors successfully utilize social media communication and protest logic, a lack of public support and negative framing in news media do constrain them. The article is part of a special collection on forced migration and digital connectivity. An open-access version of this article is available here:

Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación (2018) The coloniality of migration and the ‘refugee crisis’: On the asylum-migration nexus, the transatlantic white European settler colonialism-migration and racial capitalism. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees 34:1.

To make sense of Europe’s 2015 summer of migration, this article uses Quijano’s concept of the ‘coloniality of power’ to propose a new analytical framework dubbed the ‘coloniality of migration’. The author explores the connection between racial capitalism and the asylum-migration nexus through a focus on the economic and political links between asylum and migration. The author proposes that asylum and migration policies produce hierarchical categories of migrants and refugees as well as a nomenclature drawing on an imaginary that is reminiscent of the orientalist and racialized practices of European colonialism and imperialism. The article also outlines how these policies are inherent to a logic of racialization of the workforce as reflected in the racial coding of immigration policies related to White European migration to the Americas and Oceania in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and to migration policies in post-1945 Western Europe.

Open access versions of this article and the other papers included in this special issue are available here:

Oda, Anna, Michaela Hynie, Andrew Tuck, Branka Agic, Brenda Roche and Kwame McKenzie (2018) Differences in Self-Reported Health and Unmet Health Needs Between Government Assisted and Privately Sponsored Syrian Refugees: A Cross-Sectional Survey. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

This article reports on a study of physical/mental health status and healthcare access for Syrian refugees who resettled in Canada between November 2015 and January 2017. The results indicate that there are demographic and healthcare access differences between government assisted refuges (GARs) and privately sponsored refugees (PSRs). The authors found that GARs reported significantly lower physical and mental health, as well as, higher unmet healthcare needs compared to PSRs. GARs reported higher needs, more complex medical conditions and more difficulty re-settling. The authors conclude that while timely access to healthcare is essential for good health and successful integration, the support refugees receive differs depending on sponsorship program, something that may lead to differences in healthcare service access and needs. Unfortunately, this paper is not open access:

Carlaw, John (2017) Authoritarian populism and Canada’s Conservative decade (2006–2015) in citizenship and immigration: The politics and practices of Kenneyism and Neo-conservative Multiculturalism. Journal of Canadian Studies 51(3): 782-816.

This article examines the politics and policies of citizenship, immigration, and multiculturalism in Canada in the period 2006-2015 the Conservative Party of Canada governed the country. The author employs the concepts of Kenneyism (named after Jason Kenney, Canada’s then minister of citizenship, immigration, and multiculturalism) and neo-conservative multiculturalism to reconcile that political party’s long-term outreach efforts to incorporate new, ethnicized, and racialized Canadians with the exclusionary discourses and policies they espoused and implemented. The article draws on Hall’s authoritarian populism to outline the roots of Kenneyism and neo-conservative multiculturalism within a discussion of the party’s evolution. The author discusses five key characteristics and trends of the party’s political and governmental approach that demonstrate both their creative outreach and forms of disciplinary politics and social exclusion and comments on the future of Kenneyism. Unfortunately, this paper is not open access:

Bailey, Lucy and Gül İnanç (2018) Access to Higher Education: Refugees’ Stories from Malaysia. Baton Rouge, Florida: CRC Press.

This book contains stories from a small group of successful refugees who have managed to receive higher education in a context where their existence is not recognized and where most refugees lack access to even basic education. Until 2015, no refugees in Malaysia were able to access higher education, and they were unable to attend government schooling. Since then, six private higher education institutions have agreed to open their doors to refugees for the first time. This book identifies the factors that aided these refugees, and charts the challenges that they and their communities have faced. The stories are framed by a discussion of the situation that refugees face in accessing education globally. Details for obtaining this book available here (unfortunately, not open access):

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Collett, Elizabeth and Susan Fratzke (2018) Europe Pushes to Outsource Asylum, Again. Migration Policy Institute. June.

This commentary examines the preoccupation of European politicians with the idea of processing asylum claims outside Europe’s borders. These authors argue that this approach could spell the end for the key principle of global migration law that asylum claims must be processed in the territory where the application is lodged. The authors ask what these schemes would look like in reality, including who would pay for them, and where the legal responsibility would lie. They argue that such ideas are not new and have previously buckled under the weight of their own cost and complexity. The article underlines that it is vital that these proposals be scrutinized and critiqued. This commentary is available here:

Betts, Alexander, Remco Geervliet, Claire MacPherson, Naohiko Omata, Cory Rodgers and Olivier Sterck (2018) Self-reliance in Kalobeyei? Socio-Economic Outcomes for refugees in northwest Kenya. University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre and the World Food Programme.

This study compares outcomes for refugees from South Sudan who are now in two places in northwest Kenya, the Kolobeyei settlement established in 2015 using a self-reliance model and the older Kakuma camp that uses more of an ‘aid model’. The authors consider how to assess self-reliance of refugees in the two locations, examine to what extent self-reliance is greater in the new Kolobeyei settlement compared to the old Kakuma camp, and how to enhance self-reliance. The report is available here:

Kerwin, Donald (2018) The US Refugee Resettlement Program – A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen, and Revitalize the United States. Report. Center for Migration Studies.

This report describes how the US refugee program serves US interests and values and raises concerns regarding the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken and undermine the program. The author outlines how the program saves the lives of the world’s most vulnerable persons, promotes a stable world, reduces unregulated arrivals, encourages developing nations to remain engaged in refugee protection, and promotes cooperation in regards to US military and counter-terrorism strategies. The report outlines the achievements, contributions and integration of 1.1 million refugees who arrived in the United States between 1987 and 2016 and asserts that the US refugee resettlement program should be a source of immense national pride because it has saved countless lives, put millions of impoverished persons on a path to work, self-sufficiency, and integration, and advanced US standing in the world. The author laments that the current administration has taken aim at this program as part of a broader attack on legal immigration programs. The open-access report is available here:

Marwah, Sonal (2018) Untangling the Current U.S. Refugee Program. Project Ploughshares.

Canadian policymakers, civil society organizations and immigration attorneys are scrambling to navigate the new and frequently altering immigration landscape in the U.S. This brief provides an overview of the U.S. refugee program at the present time. The article is available here:

News and blog posts

Yaxley, Charlie (2018) UNHCR Team Hears Accounts of Barbaric Violence in Eastern Congo’s Ituri Region. UNHCR. July 13.

A UNHCR team has recently been able to obtain access to DR Congo’s Ituri region where they met some of the 150,000 people formerly displaced people who are now returning in hope of finding their homes. The UNHCR team has learned that conditions are grim, that around 350,000 people have fled the violence, and that those who have returned so far are in many cases finding that their villages and homes have been reduced to ash. The report is available here:

Silverman, Stephanie J. (2018) The disgrace of detaining asylum seekers and other migrants. The Conversation. July 15.

The author, a well-known expert on the detention of refugees and asylum seekers, argues that we must not lose sight of how the Trump administration is steadily expanding its detention arsenal under the cover of massive changes to its immigration and asylum architecture. The article is available here:

Desmarais, Anna (2018) Analysis: Debunking Canada’s responsibility to the United States under the Safe Third Country Agreement. iPolitics. July 16.

This article examines key arguments that propose that Canada ends its Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States. An open access version of this article is available here:

Turse (2018) A slaughter in silence: How a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign in DRC was made worse by Trump’s “America First” policies and the world’s neglect. Vice News. August 1.

This in-depth article describes a wave of massacres and related forced displacements the Democratic Republic of Congo in early 2018. The author laments that the wave of massacres was ignored by the world, and that the humanitarian crisis that followed was amplified by international neglect. The author also argues that the Trump administration’s “America First” agenda played an important part in this disaster, nothing that the abrupt change to U.S. support for peacekeeping efforts in 2017 contributed to the constellation of catastrophes that enabled militiamen to kill with impunity and led to the forced displacement of more than 350,000 people from the Hema ethnic group. The open access article is available here:

Brandt, Jessica and Claire Higgins (2018) Europe Wants to Process Asylum Seekers Offshore – The Lessons it should Learn from Australia. Brookings. August 31.

These authors outline how costly Australia’s offshore system for processing asylum seekers has been. They warn that even if Europe is able to find a country in North Africa willing to take on this role that it is likely to be as costly as in the Australian case. The article is available here:

Alexander, Christopher (2018) Asylum seekers must be invited to use Canada’s front door. Globe and Mail. August 3.

The author of this article is a diplomat and politician who was Canada’s minister of citizenship and Immigration from 2013 to 2015. He calls for the suspension of the U.S. Canada Safe Third Country Agreement. The article is available here:


August 23, 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. 47

Recent Publications and New Research

Twigt, Mirjam A. (2018) The mediation of hope: Digital Technologies and affective affordances within Iraqi refugee households in Jordan. Social Media and Society Jan – Mar 1-14.

 The author of this article draws on ethnographic fieldwork conducted among Iraqi refugees in Jordan’s capital Amman to further understand their use of digital technologies in everyday experiences of prolonged displacement. The author argues that “affective affordances”—the potential of different media forms to bring about affects like hope and anxiety—enable Iraqi refugees to reorient themselves to particular places and people. The author has found that digital technologies serve as orientation devices that enable the refugees to imagine futures elsewhere when faced with no hope of a future in Jordan. The paper concludes that transnational digital connections may be crucial to making Iraqi refugee life in Jordan bearable. This paper is part of a special collection titled “Forced migration and digital connectivity in(to) Europe”. An open access version of this article is available here:

Albahari, Maurizio (2018) From Right to Permission: Asylum, Mediterranean Migrations, and Europe’s War on Smuggling. Center for Migration Studies

This article argues that the European Union and its member states have transformed what has been understood as the right to asylum into what is now merely a state-granted permission. Efforts to curb unauthorized maritime migrant arrivals through a security-focused plan of action that includes deterrence, surveillance, border enforcement and policing motivated by containment policies have meant that paying smugglers has become the only viable way to seek refuge in Europe. The author furthermore provides evidence that state actors’ deployment of an anti-smuggling discourse has not significantly curbed maritime arrivals but has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. An open access version of this paper is available here:

Gilman, Denise and Luis A. Romero (2018) Immigration Detention, Inc. Center for Migration Studies.

This article draws the connection between economic inequality and U.S. system-wide immigration detention policy. The authors argue that the extensive use of detention in for-profit prisons by the US department of Homeland Security raises issues of economic power and powerlessness. The authors link the influence of wealthy private prison corporation to the expansion of detention in facilities that are akin to those offered by the private prison industry.

An open access version of the article is available here:

Lenner, Katharina and Lewis Turner (2018) Making Refugees Work? The Politics of Integrating Syrian refugees into the Labour Market in Jordan. Journal of Middle East Critique.

This article outlines how refugee response planners no longer frame Syrian refugees merely as objects of humanitarian care. Increasingly, they are portrayed as enterprising subjects, whose formal integration into labour markets can simultaneously create self-sufficient actors and cure the economic woes of host countries. This paper considers the Jordan Compact, a political commitment to integrate Syrian refugees into the formal Jordanian labour market. An open access version of this article is available here:

Carastathis, Anna, Natalie Kouri-Towe, Gada Mahrouse and Leila Whitley (2018) Introduction to Special Issue: Intersectional Feminist Interventions in the “Refugee Crisis.” Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees.

These authors argue that while scholars have paid attention to the declared global “refugee crisis”, there has been insufficient focus on the intersecting dynamics of oppression, discrimination, violence, and subjugation. In this article, they define feminist “intersectionality” as a research framework and a no-borders activist orientation in trans-national and anti-national solidarity with people displaced by war, capitalism, and reproductive heteronormativity, encountering militarized nation-state borders. They provide a survey of work in migration studies that engages with intersectionality as an analytic and offer a synopsis of the articles in the special issue they have curated. Open access versions of this article and the other papers included in this special issue are available here:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Bose, Pablo and Lucas Grigri (2018) PR6: Refugee Resettlement Trends in the [US] West. Refugee Resettlement in Small Cities Reports. University of Vermont. May.

This report is the sixth in a series of six reports. This particular report examines refugee resettlement trends from FY2012-2016 for the West region of the United States. Historically, the Western U.S. has had extensive experience with migration, especially immigrants from Asia and Latin America. California is the state in this region – and in the entire U.S. – with the highest level of foreign-born people, though Arizona and Washington also have sizeable immigrant populations. Refugee resettlement now extends to other parts of this region that have had less experience with immigration in recent decades. The open-access report is available here:

Amnesty International (2018) Forced and Unlawful: Israel’s Deportation of Eritrean and Sudanese Asylum-seekers to Uganda. June 18.

According to Amnesty International’s report, since 2015 Israel has deported hundreds of Sudanese and Eritrean asylum-seekers to Uganda where they have encountered a chaotic reception that leaves them without protection or resources. Many flee to other African countries or Europe. This report argues that Israel is violating their rights under international law and is abdicating its responsibilities and shifting them to countries with fewer resources and larger refugee populations. This report is available here (open access):

International Organization for Migration/Samuel Hall (2017) Migrant Smuggling to Canada – An Enquiry into Vulnerability and Irregularity through Migrant Stories. IOM (Accra, Ghana.)

This study focuses on assessing migrant vulnerabilities, protection needs and exposure to exploitation before migration, during transit, and upon arrival. The researchers used qualitative research based on migrants’ experiences of irregular migration to Canada, with a focus on Afghan and Syrian migrants. They exam the factors that lead to irregular migration, why particular routes are chosen over others, conditions of the journey, methods of coercion used against smuggled migrants, the profile of the smuggled migrants, the perceptions of migrants regarding reception processes and legal frameworks available, as well as the role of social media in smuggling. The research involved interviewing the same people at several stages of their journey in order to assess the smuggling practices that migrants experience. The publication is available here (open access):

Multi-Agency Partnership – British Columbia (2018) Report and Action Plan resulting from the 10 May 2018 “A Forum Focused on Solutions:  Addressing the Urgent Shelter and Housing Needs of Refugee Claimants in BC.” July 10.

This Report and Action Plan is the outcome of a forum held in May 2018 that brought together over sixty community leaders, decision makers and refugee claimants to develop strategic actions to address the housing needs of refugee claimants in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. The report seeks to address a situation marked by low-vacancy rates and high housing costs that leave refugee claimants especially vulnerable. The report identifies several short-term and long-term actions to address this situation and underlines that a multi-stakeholder approach is needed to tackle the housing and resettlement needs of refugee claimants. The report is available here (open-access):

News and blog posts

Rehaag, Sean and Sharry Aiken (2018) Canada a world leader in preventing arrival of refugees. Toronto Star. May 25.

In this article, two renowned scholars say that the Canadian government’s announcement of its intention to apologize for Canada’s refusal to provide refuge to Jews fleeing the Nazis needs to be accompanied by a sincere commitment not to repeat the offence. They lament that in the present day Canada continues to do everything it can to prevent asylum seekers from reaching Canadian territory and that Canada has long been a world leader in developing and deploying tools to prevent such refugees from reaching Canada. The open-access article is available here:

Spagat, Elliot and Anita Snow (2018) New directive takes aim at immigrants fleeing gang violence. CTV News. June 16.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new directive declaring that gang and domestic violence will generally cease to be grounds for asylum. The Washington Office on Latin America expressed grave concern for those affected by the decision. The open-access article is available here:

FP Staff (2018) 2018 Career Diplomat of the Year Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: Read the Transcript. Foreign Policy. June 14.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, received a diplomatic award and gave a short but compelling speech regarding how the world is going backwards towards strident zero-sum nationalism. He calls for activism motivated by vision, energy and generosity of spirit to address this dire situation. The speech is available here:

Lenette, Caroline (2018) Refugee women use their voices through digital storytelling. The Conversation. June 17.

This article reports on the author’s research with women who had arrived in Australia on ‘women-at-risk’ visas. The author explains that while the interviews were recorded, the videos are not publicly available as part of an ethical research approach that avoids appropriating other’s stories. In this article, the author tells some of the stories the women had given her permission to share. The open-access article is available here:

July 17, 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. 46

Recent Publications and New Research

Leurs, Koen and Kevin Smets (2018) Five questions for digital migration studies: Learning from digital connectivity and forced migration in(to) Europe. Social Media and Society Jan-Mar: 1-16.

This article provides an introductory framework for a special collection on forced migration and digital connectivity in the context of Europe. The authors contend that digital migration – which they define as the relation between migration and digital media technologies – has emerged as a contentious topic during the so-called “refugee crisis” in Europe. The authors reflect on the main conceptual, methodological and ethical challenges faced by the emerging field of digital migration. The authors centre their discussion on five questions: 1) Why Europe? 2) Where are the field and focus of digital migration studies? 3) Where is the human in digital migration? 4) Where is the political in digital migration? and, 5) How can we de-centre Europe in digital migration studies? They call for a focus on social change, equity and social justice through the foregrounding of the lived experiences of refugees in particular cities and on particular migration routes. An open access version of this article is available here:

Khan, Adrian A. (2018) From the peaks and back: mapping the emotions of trans-Himalayan children education migration journeys in Kathmandu, Nepal. Journal of Children’s Geography. Published online: May 24.

This paper explores how children who have migrated to Kathmandu from Trans-Himalayan regions of Nepal experience conditions of emotional disconnect in the process of migration-for-education. Using a child-centred methodology, the author reviews children’s feelings of fear and moments of joy as they prepare to leave home at a young age. This paper depicts the heavily emotional journeys to Kathmandu, often done by foot and limited ground transport. The paper shows how children are often emotionally disconnected from their mountainous homelands after many years of separation and how disconnection creates complicated feelings. The author highlights children’s affective articulations of ‘return’, and their lived experiences of homecoming. Unfortunately, not open access:

Kordel, Stefan, Tobias Weidinger and Igor Jelen, Eds. (2018) Processes of Immigration in Rural Europe: The Status Quo, Implications and Development Strategies. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

This edited collection considers the ways in which immigration processes – from leisure-oriented movements to forced migration – increasingly affect areas in Europe that are considered peripheral or rural. The four sections of this book deal with a range of relevant topics through the examination of particular case studies. The first part reflects on relevant concepts related to migration and development in peripheral rural areas. The second part examines patterns and types of immigration processes at play. The third part considers integration, using the lenses of housing, economy and social life. Lastly, the fourth section pays attention to the role of management in this changing human landscape in rural Europe in relation to migration flows. An open-access extract of this book is available online from the publisher:

Sieglinde Rosenberger, Verena Stern, Nina Merhaut, Eds. (2018) Protest Movements in Asylum and Deportation. Springer – IMISCOE Research Series. 

This edited volume is based on a comparative research project regarding protests against deportations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The book deals with contextualizing asylum policies, and focuses on solidary protests and refugee activism as well as restrictionist movements against asylum seekers. The first part of the book contextualizes asylum related protest in relation to government policy in the three focus countries. The second and third sections provide detailed descriptions of the protest movements themselves, including their strategies and sections in relation to deportation and calls for inclusion. The fourth part of the book provides a look into social movement efforts against the inclusion of asylum seekers. The final chapter takes stock of this study of movement dynamics and protest outcomes in light of social movement theory and existing scholarship. The edited volume is open access: 

Ghezelbash, Daniel, Violeta Moreno-Lax, Natalie Klein, and Brian Opeskin (2018) Securitization of search and rescue at sea: The response to boat migration in the Mediterranean and Offshore Australia. International and Comparative Law Quarterly 67(2): 315-351.

This article provides a comparison of the law and practice of the European Union and Australia in respect to the search and rescue (SAR) of boat migrants in order to demonstrate the increasing securitization of such responses to individuals facing danger at sea. The authors argue that the humanitarian purpose of SAR has been compromised in the name of border security. In the first part, they contrast SAR operations involving migrants and asylum seekers with operations focused on other people in distress at sea. The second part reviews the relevant international legal regime governing SAR. The third part argues that shifting state practice is explained through a securitization framework and provides a discussion of the consequences of this shift in terms of increased militarization and criminalization, a lack of transparency and accountability, developments related to disembarkation and non-refoulement, and challenges related to cooperation. An open access version of the article is available here:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Bose, Pablo and Lucas Grigri (2018) PR5: Refugee Resettlement Trends in the South-Central US. Refugee Resettlement in Small Cities Reports. University of Vermont. May.

This report is the fifth in a series of six reports. This particular report examines refugee resettlement trends from FY2012-2016 for the South-Central region of the United States. The report considers the contrasting histories of migration within this region, including the long history of immigration to Texas and the much more recent immigration trends in Missouri among others. A common thread among the states featured in this region is that the majority of immigrants come from Latin America. This report is part of a larger project that analyzes resettlement on a regional scale, looking at cities listed as official resettlement sites within each of five broad regions in the continental US. An open access report is available here:

Lim, Miguel Antonio, Andreina Laera, Rebecca Murray and Soheil Shayegh (2018) Displaced migrants in higher education: Findings from a study on pathways and support. EuroScientist. Special Issue highlights sessions held at ESOF 2018 Toulouse, July 9-14.

This publication reports on a survey on the practices and attitudes in higher education institutions with regard to displaced students and academics. The aim of the survey was to identify the best practices to integrate displaced students and academics into higher education institutions and to investigate the difficulties encountered by displaced people in accessing higher education. The researchers found that most respondents were unaware of available pathways and support systems for forced migrants at their universities and research centers. Respondents identified several critical barriers to the integration of displaced students and academics into higher education systems, including language and cultural barriers, financial barriers, and migration status. The researchers call on academic institutions and organizations that deal with forced migrants to facilitate their integration into academic institutions.

Schulman, Susan (2018) Destination Europe: Homecoming – What happens when migrants end up back where they started. Special Report. IRIN. June 18.

This author considers the implications for sub-Saharan Africans following dreams northwards in face of new EU new policies and deals with African nations meant to deter hundreds of thousands of migrants from seeking new lives in Europe. The report examines the choices and challenges faced by returnees in Sierra Leone, refugees resettled in France, smugglers in Niger, and migrants in detention centres in Libya, among others. An open access version of this report is available here:

Käppeli, Anita (2018) The EU’s Answer to Migration Is to Triple Funding for Border Management. Will This Do the Job? Centre for Global Development. June 15.

In June 2018, the European Commission published its proposals on migration and border security for the next EU budget (2021–2027), which include nearly tripling financial support for migration, asylum and border management. This budgetary proposal was published amidst an unfolding humanitarian disaster in which EU states have shown themselves unable to act in concert. The author argues that while the unprecedented increase in funding for border management may seem to reflect the hope that more money will do the job in reducing internal tensions during the budgetary negotiations, that the absence of a legal migration mechanism and the EU’s difficulty in building a coherent asylum system could drive more people into risking the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean, irrespective of cutting-edge border management technologies. The open access publication is available here:

News and blog posts

Mattoo, Deepa and Sean Rehaag (2018) US still unsafe for refugees. Hill Times. June 22.

These authors argue that the United States remains unsafe for refugees, including women fleeing domestic violence, and that because of this Canada should suspend or scrap the Safe Third Country Agreement it has with the U.S. government. The article is available here:

Hounsell, Benjamin (2018) How to start a technology revolution for refugees in East Africa. News Deeply. May 7.

This author points out that a quiet revolution in information and communication technology (ICT) education is already underway in low-income communities in East Africa but that the main impediment is the lack of dependable infrastructure, including access to energy and internet connectivity in rural refugee settlements. The author proposes that governments should incentivize the installation of more mobile network towers and access to dependable energy through off-grid solar operators in order to foster the adoption of ICT services within refugee camps. The post is available here:

Deutsche Welle (2018) German Cabinet approves new refugee family reunification law. Deutsche Welle. May 5.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet has decided to resettle an additional 1,000 migrants per month, provided they are the direct relatives of refugees already living in Germany. The issue of migrant family reunifications has been a major sticking point in the German parliament and has exposed deep divisions inside Merkel’s governing coalition.

D’Orsi, Cristiano (2018) Why the election of the Nigerian-born Senator Tony Iwobi is not a symptom of progress in Italy. Open Democracy. May 3.

This author argues that the election of Senator Toni Iwobi represents the latest attempt by an Italian far-right party to show the world that it does not discriminate on the basis of geographical origin. The author says that this effort however brushes over salient details including the significantly increased complications that people migrating to Italy face today compared to when Senator Iwobi immigrated to Italy in the early 1980s. The open access article is available here:

Schuster, Liza (2018) A new bombing in Afghanistan and the tragedy of refugees. The Conversation. July 3.

In this blog post, a researcher reports on the tragic loss of life of a research project participant and the resultant trauma for family members and researchers due to a suicide bombing attack targeting Sikhs and Hindus in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The author then reflects on the recent meeting of EU heads of government in which they failed to reaffirm a serious and substantial commitment to offer asylum to people fleeing war and persecution but instead opted for appeasement and in doing so abandoned the core values on which the EU was established.

Digital and Social Media

 Aiken, Sharry (2018) The future of the Safe Third Country Agreement. Pod Cast. Policy Options. July 4.

In this podcast, associate professor of law at Queen’s University argues that the U.S. is currently unsafe for refugees and looks at the political implications of suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S. The podcast is available here: