All posts by mmillard

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:

Supreme Court of Canada hearing on exclusion from refugee protection on the basis of serious non-political crimes

Very well argued submissions to the Supreme Court of Canada regarding Luis Alberto Hernandez Febles v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration concerning exclusion from refugee protection on the basis of serious non-political crimes. The CCR, among others, is arguing that Canada has been broadening this exclusion clause that is part of the Convention refugee definition, with the result that refugees are wrongly denied protection, on the basis of crimes that are not very serious.

The video of the hearing can be watched here:

Supreme Court’s summary of the case at The arguments of the CCR (and other interveners) are available here:


The Government’s Rhetoric About Bogus Refugees is Bogus

Nice blog on cuts to refugee health care by Alex Neve (Amnesty International Canada). Particularly like the section about using the term “bogus”:

Since it has no real meaning, what does the Minister mean when he uses it? Refugee claimants the government doesn’t like? Coming from countries the Minister wishes they wouldn’t leave? Whose claims get rejected?  Rejected on what basis? Because they weren’t believed? Because their problems, though genuine, don’t fit the legal technicalities of the refugee definition?  Because a decision-maker was not prepared to agree that human rights problems are real and serious in their country? Because they are a war criminal and thus, while having a valid fear of persecution, are not eligible for refugee status? Because conditions back home have changed since they left? Or because they couldn’t come up with enough documents to prove their story?


– a poem by Fady Joudah

My daughter

wouldn’t hurt a spider

That had nested
Between her bicycle handles
For two weeks
She waited
Until it left of its own accord

If you tear down the web I said
It will simply know
This isn’t a place to call home
And you’d get to go biking

She said that’s how others
Become refugees isn’t it?

–from “Alight” by Fady Joudah (2013)

(find it on Amazon:

About the poet:

Canadian Refugee Hearing May 13th, 2013- Urgently need a Gambia Expert

Please see request below. If you are able to respond, please contact Ana Teresa Rico directly at


 I am looking for an expert on Gambia country conditions. I have a refugee hearing on May 13th, 2013, and all supporting documentation must be in by May 2nd, 2013. 

Background Facts of the Case: 
My client was tortured for three weeks at a military barracks by what he called the Paramilitary. I have tried looking for information about the Paramilitary, but am unable to find anything. I did find some things about the Paramilitary Wing of the Police force in Gambia. My client is illiterate and has limited primary education. I believe he may have confused as to what type of military/paramilitary force captured him. He has the scars of torture throughout his body, but I am worried that he may be found not credible if I am unable to find any sources on the paramilitary in Gambia. I thought speaking to someone who knows about Gambia may assist me in finding sources, and figuring out if my client is confused as to what group captured him. Or possibly paramilitary is the nick-name given to a security force within Gambia. 

Anyway, any guidance or help you can provide in this area would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Ana Teresa Rico

Urgent Appeal: Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) – Egypt

AMERA is a human rights organization that provides free legal, social and mental health services to the hundreds of thousands of refugees in Egypt. For the last ten years, AMERA has tirelessly served people who have fled their home countries due to persecution, conflict, torture, trafficking, violence and terror. We work with refugees (mostly from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea) to rebuild their lives and provide safety to their families. If you would like to know more about our work, please go to:

TODAY, AMERA is threatened with imminent closure due to a lack of funding. Without us, thousands of refugees will be left without access to essential services that protect their rights.

Founded in 2003, AMERA continues to be the first and only organization in Egypt to provide legal, social and mental health services to refugees under one roof. This holistic approach, coupled with the collective expertise of our staff, enables us to quickly identify individual and community needs. In this way, we provide essential services in a safe space, treating refugees with dignity and respect.

AMERA is the ONLY organization in Egypt that offers:

. Legal advice and representation before the UNHCR, increasing their chances of protection from return to their home countries
. Direct resettlement referrals to foreign embassies for the most vulnerable refugees in Egypt
. Specialized assistance for children who have fled persecution without their parents, including victims of trafficking, who rely on AMERA for access to protection, education, healthcare and other basic services
. Advocacy for refugees in indefinite and arbitrary detention
. Community outreach programs, headed by refugee staff, to raise awareness and empower refugee communities, pioneering an emergency outreach response to the massive Syrian refugee influx since 2012
. A dedicated team working with survivors of sexual and gender based violence to help them access a full spectrum of medical, social, legal, and psychological services

AMERA in Numbers

1537 refugees provided with services in the last two months
3400+ refugees provided with community outreach services in the last 12 months, of whom 1200 are Syrians
15% of our clients are under 21 years old (not including family dependents), half are women
30% are survivors of torture
72% of our clients receive more

AMERA helps the survivors of Sinai’s ‘torture camps’: Every year, hundreds of refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia are trafficked to the Sinai region of Egypt. There, they are held in ‘torture camps’ and subjected to horrific physical, sexual and psychological torture in order to extort money from their families in their home country and abroad. In the past 12 months AMERA has provided advice, representation and care to over 100 survivors of Sinai’s torture camps. For more information on this practice see a BBC World Service program, ‘Escape from Sinai’ (

We are in URGENT need of immediate funding to continue serving our clients.
For every £2.25 donated, staffing costs are covered for each refugee provided with psychosocial support.
For every £2 donated, staffing costs are covered for each refugee accessing legal services.*
Any size donation will make a difference to a life today!

You can make a donation towards the work of AMERA Egypt by giving to AMERA UK, a registered UK charity (Charity Number: 1098788, Company Ltd by Guarantee: 4644642)
Please donate with JustGiving or PayPal by clicking the link below:

From the UK: you can also donate to AMERA by texting AMER01£ (and the amount you wish to donate) to 70070
If you are a UK Tax Payer, please visit our website to learn about maximizing your gift at no additional cost.
If you would like to make a donation of £1,000 or more, we’d be happy to discuss with you the intended focus of your donation. Please feel free to contact us at

Thank you,

Requests for info: do you have experience of reintegration programming with children who have become separated from their families and communities?

The Centre for Rural Childhood, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Scotland is developing a toolkit to help organisations monitor and evaluate reintegration programmes for children. This project is funded by the Oak Foundation and is part of a larger project on recovery and reintegration ( This work is being supported by an inter-agency steering group including representatives from EveryChild, Save the Children, Mkombozi and IOM.  
If you or your organisation has experience of reintegration programming with children who have become separated from their families and communities, please help us by answering our short questionnaire. The responses to this questionnaire will provide information that will contribute to the development of the toolkit.

The questionnaire should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.

The questionnaire can be accessed here  and will close on the 29th April.
Please feel free to circulate this information to others who may be involved in reintegration programming or have experience of evaluating such programmes.

Claire Cody

Requests for info: Searching for CAT decisions / jurisprudence

From: Chris Strawn <>

I was wondering if anyone might be able to point me in the direction of an easily searchable database for UN CAT jurisprudence, if one exists? I’m talking at the national AILA conference (American Immigration Lawyers Association) about CAT claims in the U.S., and while this is mainly focused on U.S. law, I’d like to point people to international materials. As far as I can tell, there is no easily searchable database for CAT jurisprudence (like westlaw or lexis for those of us in the U.S.). Below is a basic set of links I’m planning to give to attendees, and I’d be happy to include any other materials that are useful. Thanks for any suggestions.

Select international materials on CAT

Books, treatises, and guides

Manfred Nowak and Elizabeth McArthur, The United Nations Convention Against Torture: A Commentary (2008)

J. Herman Burgers & Hans Danelius, The United Nations Convention Against Torture: A Handbook on the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or PUnishment (1988).

Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Torture in International Law, a guide to jurisprudence (2008)

Finding UN CAT materials: country reports and individual complaints under Art 22 of the CAT (jurisprudence)

UN Committee Against Torture (starting place for reports and publications)

Special Rapporteur on Torture (useful for country reports)

Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (useful for country reports)

Finding jurisprudence
(recent decisions – decent descriptions)
(poor search but should be comprehensive)
(UNHCR database, individual complaints generally up to 2011- good for country research as well)
(Individual complaints to 2011)

(Individual complaints to 2009)
(private site on UN decisions and reports)

Request for information: Inter-agency research on reintegration

The Inter-agency Group on Children’s Reintegration is currently carrying out desk based research on reintegration.  The group is headed by Family for Every Child and others members include representatives from BCN, UNICEF, USAID, the CPC Learning Network, World Vision, IRC, UHI Centre for Rural Childhood, Save the Children and Maestral International. 

We are seeking published and unpublished research reports on reintegration or evaluations of reintegration interventions spanning the full range of separated children, including those affected by emergencies, in alternative care, and trafficked/ migrant children. 

We are also requesting practitioners to complete a short survey on reintegration to complement this literature review.  The survey should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete.   It aims to: identify commonalities and differences in reintegration programming for children in different contexts; draw out unpublished literature; identify major areas of concern for those working to improve practice in reintegration, and identify potential participants for key informant interviews. 

Please send all relevant literature by 15thof March to:

Please complete the survey by 15th of March following this link:
Emily Delap
Head of Policy
Family for Every Child

Harvard and M.I.T. Team Up to Offer Free Online Courses

In what is shaping up as an academic Battle of the Titans — one that offers vast new learning opportunities for students around the world — Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Wednesday announced a new nonprofit partnership, known as edX, to offer free online courses from both universities.

View the full article here: