All posts by mmillard

February 4, 2021: 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. 101


This webinar will focus on capitalizing the scholar’s responsibility as a witness, maximizing its potential and benefits for institutional and social change, and tracing and teaching an ethics of witnessing in its most adequate and resonant forms. Overall, if we are to defend a theory of ethics that is focused on the scholar’s role in enhancing human dignity and rights against all odds, we must start with providing a road map for our students. The webinar will provide select case studies and examples of engaged research in dealing with humanitarian crises, rights abuses and in general situations of gross human vulnerabilities as they pertain to the specific context of forced migration. It will also showcase some of the publicly accessible methods and models of knowledge mobilization and sharing. 

Guest speaker: Professor Nergis Canefe (PhD & SJD) is a Turkish-Canadian scholar of public international law, comparative politics, forced migration studies and critical human rights.

Register here

Recent Publications and New Research

Foroutan, Y. (2020). Ethnic or Religious Identities?: Multicultural Analysis in Australia from Socio-Demographic Perspective, Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 7 (1): 1-19. Focusing on the data of ethnic and religious identities in a multiethnic and multicultural context, this paper provides research-based evidence to explain whether and how significantly such data could be reliable from a social and demographic perspective. The explanation is based on population census that also provides unique nation-wide data sources on ‘religious affiliation’. The field of this study is the multiethnic and multicultural context of Australia that holds a large variety of ethnic, religious and cultural groups from throughout the world. According to the findings, this paper argues that if ethnic migrants belonging to the same category of religious affiliation are considered a single group without taking their ethnic origins into account, this will lead to insufficient, incomplete, and misleading knowledge. Read more.

Beyond 2020: Renewing Canada’s Commitment to immigration, Metropolis eBooks – Volumes 1 & 2. Selected presentations from the 22nd Metropolis Canada Conference. The articles in Volume I deal with the nuts and bolts of integration and settlement questions, drawing on the insights of research and practice in the field from several forward-looking studies and pilot projects. Volume II looks at the role of media and digital technologies and takes a broader national and international policy perspective. Download Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Garcia, S., & Barclay, K. (2020). Adapting Research Methodologies in The Covid-19 Pandemic, Resources for researchers 2nd edition, Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center. This document is the second edition of a compilation of resources addressed to junior researchers whose social research projects have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It includes insights from academics and junior researchers on the opportunities and challenges involved in conducting social research in the context of COVID-19. The document has three parts. The first section offers an overview of qualitative, semi-qualitative and quantitative methodologies and methods that may provide feasible research design and data collection alternatives. The second part contains insights from researchers gathered through interviews with PhD candidates, researchers, and supervisors; finally, it lists a selection of online discussions and resources on how this adaptation is taking or may be taking place in the near future. Access here.  

Averhed, Y. (2020). The breathing space or impact of temporary protection on integration from the perspective of refugees. School of Advanced Study, University of London.  In July 2016, the Swedish government adopted temporary legislative changes to the asylum regulation in force, significantly limiting the possibility of being granted a permanent residence permit. The government presented the temporary law as an incentive for the immigrants to focus on employment, leading to permanent residence. This study exploits the impact of temporary protection on labour market integration and social inclusion from the perspective of refugees and subsidiary protection holders. Applying the ground research methods, the data was collected via focus group and in-depth face-to-face interviews with both temporary and permanent protection holders. The main conclusion is that temporary residence hinders the labour market integration of refugees and subsidiary protection holders, potentially leading to higher levels of social exclusion. Read here.

BRMC Research Digest – Winter 2021: Newcomers’ perceptions and experiences of their reception, Avenues of reflection on the Photovoice method, Building Migrant Resilience in Cities (BMRC), January 11, 2021. For a research project aiming to explore newcomers’ perceptions and experiences of their reception in two Montreal districts, the research team used the Photovoice method. The questions guiding this research were: What spaces are perceived as welcoming or less welcoming by newcomers? According to immigrants, what characterizes a welcoming district? This document proposes avenues of reflection on the advantages and challenges of this method in the search for answers to these questions. Read here.

Reports, policy briefs and Blogposts

From Displacement to Development: How Colombia Can Transform Venezuelan Displacement into Shared Growth, By Martha Guerrero Ble, Izza Leghtas, Daphne Panayotatos, & Jimmy Graham, Refugees International and Center for Global Development, October 28, 2020. This case study is part of the “Let Them Work” initiative, a three-year program of work led by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Refugees International and funded by the IKEA Foundation and the Western Union Foundation. The initiative aims to expand labor market access for refugees and forced migrants, by identifying their barriers to economic inclusion and providing recommendations to host governments, donors, and the private sector  to overcome them. The primary focus is on refugees and forced migrants in Colombia, Peru, Kenya, and Ethiopia, with other work taking place at the global level. Read here.

At the Starting Gate: The Incoming Biden Administration’s Immigration Plans, by Doris Meissner & Michelle Mittelstadt, Migration Policy Institute, November 9, 2020. This policy brief outlines some of the incoming administration’s top immigration priorities and examines challenges and opportunities ahead. Drawing on existing and forthcoming policy ideas from MPI’s Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy initiative, the brief sketches several proposals that could begin to shape a U.S. immigration system that advances the national interest going forward. View or download full report here.

Starting Early to Address Migration-Related Trauma by Caitlin Katsiaficas, Refugee REACH Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, January 14, 2021. There is a growing understanding among researchers and practitioners of the effects of trauma on young children. However, there is a critical gap in attention to and services for young refugees and immigrant children. This blog highlights the importance of taking a whole-family approach to trauma and ramping up services for immigrant parents and their children through early childhood services and cross-sectoral collaboration, citing examples in the United States and Canada. Read here.

The pandemic is no excuse to shut the door on refugee resettlement, by Evan Jones & Nadjeeba Wazefadost, The New humanitarian, January 25, 2021. Many refugees have lost access to their livelihoods and have been pushed to the brink of destitution. Some have even been forced to return to the country they fled through deportation, or due to a lack of options in their host country. By and large, resettlement and other migration pathways have become increasingly limited during the pandemic. The authors explain why countries should be expanding, not reducing, refugee numbers in 2021. Read here.

Digital and social media

Temporary by Kaldor Centre. This project is a rich storytelling hub revealing the experiences of refugees in Australia who are under temporary protection. It explores – in long-form stories, podcasts, art and photography – the lives of people who came to Australia seeking refuge, and the laws that entangle them in an endless uncertainty. Their journeys come to life in powerful stories, vividly illustrated by refugee artists and photographers. Their voices rise from an eight-episode podcast series, co-produced with UNSW Centre for Ideas and Guardian Australia, with a soundtrack created by an award-winning composer currently seeking asylum. Start with the full stories, or with the podcasts

January 21, 2021: RRN Research Digest – 100th Issue

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. 100

A note from RRN Founder, Professor Susan McGrath

Launched in 2008, the Refugee Research Network (RRN) has been a global network of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers that strives to have a wide-ranging and progressive impact on refugee research and policy in Canada and globally. We have continued to try to support the mobilization of new and existing refugee research knowledge to make it more accessible. In May 2017, we created the Refugee Research Digest to circulate up-to-date refugee research and related activities albeit in English only. This is our 100th edition!

As most academic endeavours, we have relied heavily on the expertise of staff and students. I want to recognize the valuable contributions of Michele Millard, the Coordinator of York’s Centre for Refugee Studies, and students William Payne, Dina Taha and Irina Osminin.

Please continue to send us your research so that we can continue to share it. If you haven’t yet, please complete the 3-min survey as your feedback is instrumental in improving the digest.

Much thanks,

Susan McGrath C.M. Centre for Refugee Studies, York University

Recent Publications and New Research

Special Issue: Shuayb, M., & Crul, M. (2020). Refugee Children, Status, and Educational Attainment: A Comparative Lens: Special Issue Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees. While covering different geographic areas and educational systems, the findings from the articles in this special issue highlight common challenges to refugees in crisis. In both the Global North and South, policies remain hostile to refugees, pushing them further into the margins. At best, they are seen as providers of skilled labour for  the  aging  European  communities  or  a   burden  surviving  on  the host community’s generosity  and  thus  should  be  grateful  for  whatever  they  receive.  Yet, the marginalization, exploitation, and  discrimination  that refugees  experience  is  part  of  a  structural  system  plagued by  racism,  discrimination,  and  injustice  in  both  the  Global  North and South. These structural inequalities led the authors to adopt a wider lens in the study of refugees beyond the emergency and humanitarian scope to a justice -oriented approach. Access the special issue here.

Martin, S., & Bergmann, J. (2020). (Im)mobility in the age of COVID-19. International Migration Review. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted global human mobility dynamics. This IMR Dispatch examines the historical, bidirectional links between pandemics and mobility and provides an early analysis of how they unfolded during the first nine months of the COVID-19 emergency. Results show, first, that international travel restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus are not a panacea in and of themselves. Second, the analysis demonstrates that the pandemic, government responses, and resulting economic impacts can lead to at-risk populations’ involuntary immobility. Similarly, stay-at-home measures have posed dire challenges for those who lack options to work from home, and migrants living in precarious, crowded circumstances. Moreover, the global economic contraction has increased involuntary immobility by reducing labour demand and people’s resources to move. Third, the authors show that people’s attempts to protect themselves from the virus can shift patterns of mobility, such as increases in cross-border return migration and urban-to-rural movements. Read here.  

Easton-Calabria, E. & Skran, C. (Eds) (2020) Special Issue: Rethinking Refugee Self-Reliance. Journal of Refugee Studies, 33(1). This special issue on Rethinking Refugee Self-Reliance brings together a collection of 13 articles (11 academic and 2 field reports) critically examining the potential for, past precedents, and current state of refugee self-reliance, including novel tools to measure it and research presenting self-reliance as defined by refugees themselves. Read more.

Glorius et al. (2020): Is Social Contact With the Resident Population a Prerequisite of Well-Being and Place Attachment? The Case of Refugees in Rural Regions of Germany. Frontiers in Sociology (Section Migration and Society), 1-13. This paper addresses the quality and quantity of social contact between refugees and resident populations as a prerequisite for integration and long-term migration-development effects from a social, geographical perspective. Drawing from survey data and qualitative interviews with residents and refugees, it examines expectations, perceptions and experiences of everyday encounters and social relationships in neighborhoods in small rural towns and villages. The results support arguments from research literature for faster social inclusion in rural areas due to greater nearness, and obstacles toward the integration of foreigners due to higher homogeneity of rural neighborhoods and only a few experiences of positive everyday contact with foreigners among rural residents. Nevertheless, more in-depth research is needed to consider the interrelations of both structural contexts and complex and changing needs for personal development in the future, also from an intergenerational perspective. Read more.

Weidinger, T. & Kordel, S. (2020): Access to and Exclusion from Housing over Time: Refugees’ Experiences in Rural Areas. International Migration, 1-18. Taking the example of recognized refugees in rural Germany and following the housing pathways approach, the paper addresses the complex interplay of individual and family-related residential preferences over time and structural factors regarding access to housing and associated settlement and integration. Results are from a long-term empirical study that encompassed both refugees’ and local actors’ views. Mechanisms and practices of exclusion that prevent refugees from accessing appropriate private housing are related to the negotiation of residential preferences about where and how to live, as well as to structural aspects such as the pattern of local housing markets, accessibility of infrastructures, or the unwillingness of landlords to let to refugees. The paper concludes to highlight the role of place in housing trajectories and the significance of social resources within refugees’ practices and local intermediaries’ strategies to overcome exclusion and access to rural housing.  Read more

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Carlaw, J. (2021). Unity in Diversity? Neoconservative Multiculturalism and the Conservative Party of Canada John Carlaw Working Paper No. 2021/1, Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement. This paper outlines characteristics and realities of neoconservative multiculturalism, including references to the conservative time in office and dynamics since their defeat in the 2015 election. These characteristics include 1) pragmatically adapting themselves to common sense notions of multiculturalism and immigration in Canada while also seeking to shift the politics of multiculturalism in Canada rightward by 2) seeking to empty it of anti-racist content and bind its remnants to a neoconservative worldview and 3) engaging in practices and discourses of exclusion, including a) engaging in clash of civilizations and Islamophobic discourses and policies, b) re-ethnicizing Canadian citizenship, c) targeting asylum seekers and 4) bolstering and collaborating with anti-multicultural civil society voices and actors. Read the working paper.

Cone, D. (2020). Critical Advice for President-elect Biden: A Comprehensive Approach for Displaced Women and Girls, Refugees International. This report outlines a pragmatic agenda for the incoming Biden administration to dramatically improve the lives of displaced women and girls while re-establishing desperately needed U.S. leadership and credibility on these issues. Read the report.

Panayotatos, D. (2020). Blocked at Every Pass: How Greece’s Policy of Exclusion Harms Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Refugees International. Greek authorities have denied or undercut access to asylum for those seeking safety. The report lays out a framework for how Greece—with the support of the EU—can reverse course and fulfill its international commitments to asylum seekers and refugees. Read the report.

News reports and blog posts

‘The asylum process broke my dream … now I have a new one.’ The refugee entrepreneurs by Michelle Richey (December 3, 2020) The Conversation. As the world struggles amid pandemic uncertainty, there may be no other group better suited at finding ways to cope than refugees. Restrictions on movement, working, and property ownership inhibit refugees’ freedom globally, pushing many into poverty. Nevertheless, against this oppressive backdrop, refugees show tremendous ingenuity, creating businesses and livelihoods from whatever is available to them. This news report outlines inspirational refugee initiatives in entrepreneurship. The refugee community has shown that entrepreneurship is not exclusively the domain of people with extensive networks – it also can help people build new networks. It is not only for those with abundant self-confidence and opportunities – it can also be for those who wish to build self-confidence to change their lives. Seen in this light, refugee entrepreneurs and communities are trailblazing paths out of uncertainty and can provide tremendous insight and inspiration at this unique and challenging time. Read here.

Journeys of hope: what will migration routes into Europe look like in 2021? By Lorenzo Tondo (January 14, 2021) The Guardian. As a new year begins, so do the journeys of tens of thousands more people seeking a new life overseas. The Guardian has spoken to experts, charity workers, and NGOs about the challenges and risks they face on the main migration routes into Europe. This news report summarizes the previous use of prevalent refugee routes to seek asylum while also outlining predictions for future use. Read here.

Digital and social media

LERRN Virtual Conference: 70 Years Protecting People Forced to Flee – North American Panels. January 21, 2021 at 12:30 PM-4:15 PM.  Two panels will consider North American perspectives on the “who, what, and how” of realizing protection and solutions, both within North American and through North American engagement in the global refugee regime. Register for both panels here. This panel is part of the virtual academic conference, “70 years protecting people forced to flee”, taking place on 18, 19, 21, and 27 January to mark the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. For more information, click here.

Video recording: Stakeholder Meeting on Refugee Resettlement in the United States. This stakeholder meeting brought together migration researchers and representatives of U.S. voluntary resettlement agencies to consider the role of migration research in informing programs serving refugees and migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on bringing global learning to those on the ground working with refugees. The discussion at the meeting was framed by the results of a scientific workshop, “Forced Migration Research: From Theory to Practice in Promoting Migrant Well-Being,” organized in May 2019 by the Committee on Population (CPOP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with dedicated support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Watch here.

Video: A Refugee’s Resettlement Journey to Canada. IRCC produced an animated video to provide refugees resettling to Canada with an overview of what to expect, including services and supports provided to help them get settled in Canada. Watch here. It is also available in different languages.

December 11, 2020: 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. 99

Recent Publications and New Research

Forced Migration Review – FMR 65: Recognising refugees, November 2020. FMR issue 65’s main feature on Recognising refugees explores shortcomings, challenges and innovations (and their consequences for refugees/asylum seekers) in refugee status determination processes worldwide. A second feature offers reflections on lessons and good practice emerging from the 2018–20 GP20 Plan of Action for IDPs. Read here.

Jutvik, K., & Robinson, D. (2020). Permanent or temporary settlement? A study on the short-term effects of residence status on refugees’ labour market participation. Comparative Migration Studies, 8(1), 1-19.  Using a sudden policy change as a natural experiment combined with detailed Swedish registry data, the authors examine the effect permanent residency on three measures of labour market inclusion in the short-term. The findings are twofold. On the one hand, we find that temporary residents that are subject to a relatively less-inclusive situation have higher incomes and less unemployment. However, at the same time, they are less likely to spend time in education than are those with permanent residency. Read here.

New Book: Okafor, O. C. (2020). Refugee Law after 9/11: Sanctuary and Security in Canada and the United States. UBC Press. Refugee Law after 9/11 undertakes a systematic examination of available legal, policy, and empirical evidence to reveal a great irony: refugee rights were already so whittled down in both countries before 9/11 that there was relatively little room for negative change after the attacks. It also shows that the Canadian refugee law regime reacted to 9/11 in much the same way as its US counterpart, and these similar reactions raise significant questions about security relativism and the cogency of Canadian and US national self-image. Learn more.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

New Report: Blocked at Every Pass: How Greece’s Policy of Exclusion Harms Asylum Seekers and Refugees, December 2020, Refugees International. Throughout the year, an already dire situation for asylum seekers in Greece has continued to deteriorate. Authorities have physically pushed people back from Greece’s shores and undermined the asylum process. Individuals with refugee status have found themselves homeless and hungry in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its policies and actions, the Greek government is systematically closing the space for protection. The report outlines Greece’s efforts to deny access to asylum and services at every stage of an individual’s search for protection. It makes urgent recommendations for how Greece—with the support of the EU—should reverse course and fulfill its international commitments to asylum seekers and refugees. Read here.

Collins, J., Reid, C., Groutsis, D., Watson, K., Kaabel, A., Hughes, S. 2019, Settlement experiences of recently arrived refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in New South Wales in 2018: Full Report, Centre for Business and Social innovation, UTS Business School: Sydney. This report is the second of three place-based reports on the outcomes of the first year of a three-year research project – funded by the Australian Research Council – examining the settlement, employment and education experiences and outcomes of recently-arrived Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees. The focus of this second report is to explore the challenges and opportunities of settlement in Australia from the experiences of the Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees themselves in New South Wales. Ultimately, the aim of reporting on the outcomes of the research is not only to present evidence but also to spark a conversation about, and to contribute to an understanding of the contribution that refugees make to Australian society and how we can enhance the social well-being, employability prospects, economic security and educational opportunities of recently arrived refugees in Australia. Finally, the reports aim to inform policy and services to enhance the settlement experience of this group. Read here.  

Magdalena Perzyna, The Substance of Solidarity: What the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Says About the Global Refugee Regime Working Paper No. 2020/15 October 2020. By examining how Western nation states in the global North have responded to asylum seekers during the pandemic against the backdrop of existing international refugee law, practice, and policy, this essay seeks to evaluate the normative potential of the GCR and the GCM for the entrenchment of the principle of solidarity. Employing the theoretical framework of governmentality, it argues that despite the rhetoric of responsibility-sharing, the reactions of Western nation states reflect an existing trend toward exclusionary impulses, with countries reflexively reverting to patterns of state-centric, insular protectionism. Taking these issues into consideration, the essay goes on to focus on Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in light of its proximity to and relationship with the United States to illustrate how biopower is being deployed to exclude in line with neoliberal rationalities, even in a country that is usually heralded as a beacon of humanitarianism. The essay concludes with a guarded diagnosis that warns of the potential for an international protection crisis should civil society fail to challenge prevailing biopolitics. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

Why so many Syrian women get divorced when they move to western countries by Rola El Husseini, The Conversation, December 7, 2020. The author explores the increasing numbers of divorce among Syrian refugee and immigrant women. While this phenomenon has been disparaged among Syrians, it has been celebrated by some western commentators. They saw it as part of the western mission to “save Arab (and Muslim) women” from the Muslim men who oppressed them. The author scrutinizes this claim and makes the case that is would be a reductionist and Orientalist (western-centric) account of the situation. Read here.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted barriers to vital digital financial services for refugees by Daphne Jayasinghe, EuroNews, November 26, 2020. The economic shock of COVID-19 has made this dire situation even worse. It has revealed how easy it is for refugees to slip through social safety nets. The research outlined in this piece has found that, in the absence of sufficient humanitarian aid, many have been forced to cut back on meals or sell their belongings. In Jordan, many lost their incomes overnight while, in Kenya, large numbers have been evicted from their homes. Read more.

Digital and social media

REGISTER NOW: LERRN-IDRC Webinar: By Refugees, For Refugees: Refugee leadership beyond the pandemic. This webinar will explore the factors that influence the impact of refugee-led organizations (RLOs) as service-delivery providers in humanitarian settings before and during COVID-19. In the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, when international actors are limited in their mobility and access, RLOs are increasingly becoming frontline responders that provide vital assistance to displaced communities. This webinar aims to discuss how we can move the debate from a normative commitment to refugee participation and leadership to concrete measures that address the many barriers refugees-led organizations face in responding to local needs. Panelists include refugee leaders, donors, scholars, practitioners, and policymakers, who will consider innovative solutions with and for refugees and engagement of refugee-led organizations during the pandemic and beyond. Register here.

RRN Webinar Series: Ethics of Care and Knowledge Mobilization in Migration Contexts with Professor Christina Clark-Kazk. The second of the RRN webinar series explored the ways in which an ethics of care can complement dominant procedural ethics approaches to research and knowledge mobilization in migration contexts. Drawing on the Canadian Ethical Considerations: Research with People in Situations of Forced Migration, the International Association for Forced Migration Studies’ Code of Ethics, and participants’ own experiences, the webinar discussed key questions such as: To what extent can an ethics of care be practically applied in knowledge mobilization around migration issues? And What are the ethical opportunities and constraints of co-ownership and co-authorship in politicized migration contexts? Watch recording here.

November 26, 2020: 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. 98

Recent Publications and New Research

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (Ed.) (2020). Refuge in a Moving World: Tracing refugee and migrant journeys across disciplines, UCL Press. This volume draws together more than thirty contributions from multiple disciplines and fields of research and practice to discuss different ways of engaging with, and responding to, migration and displacement. Through interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies–including participatory research, poetic and spatial interventions, ethnography, theatre, discourse analysis and visual methods–the volume documents the complexities of refugees’ and migrants’ journeys. This includes a particular focus on how people inhabit and negotiate everyday life in cities, towns, camps, and informal settlements across the Middle East and North Africa, Southern and Eastern Africa, and Europe. Read more and Download free.

The new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the UN Global Compact on Refugees (September 2020), the ASILE Forum. The ASILE project studies the interactions between emerging international protection systems and the United Nations Global Compact for Refugees (UN GCR), with particular focus on the European Union’s role. The first ASILE Forum assesses the European Commission’s Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the UN Global Compact on Refugees and EU law. It examines the implications of the Pact’s dualistic understanding of individuals from the perspective of refugee protection, human rights and rule of law. The Forum is composed by a Kick-off Policy Insight by Sergio Carrera, which is followed by written contributions by a group of European and international scholars. Access the forum.

Ghoshal, A. (2020). Refugees, Borders and Identities: Rights and Habitat in East and Northeast India. Taylor & Francis. Drawing on extensive research and in-depth fieldwork, this book discusses themes of displacement, rehabilitation, discrimination and politicisation of refugees that preceded and followed the Partition of India in 1947. It portrays the crises experienced by refugees in recreating the socio-cultural milieu of the lost motherland and the consequent loss of their linguistic, cultural, economic and ethnic identities. The author also studies how the presence of the refugees shaped the conduct of politics in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura in the decades following Partition. Read more.

Abdelaaty, L. (2020). Rivalry, Ethnicity, and Asylum Admissions Worldwide. International Interactions. Why do countries welcome some refugees and treat others poorly? Existing explanations suggest that the assistance refugees receive is a reflection of countries’ wealth or compassion. However, statistical analysis of a global dataset on asylum admissions shows that states’ approaches to refugees are shaped by foreign policy and ethnic politics. States admit refugees from adversaries in order to weaken those regimes, but they are reluctant to accept refugees from friendly states. At the same time, policymakers favor refugee groups who share their ethnic identity. Aside from addressing a puzzling real-world phenomenon, this article adds insights to the literature on the politics of migration and asylum. Read more.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Technological Testing Grounds: Migration Management Experiments and Reflections from the Ground Up (November, 2020) Petra Molnar, Refugee Law Laboratory and EDRi (European Digital Rights. This report offers the beginning of a systemic analysis of migration management technologies, foregrounding the experiences of people on the move who are interacting with and thinking about surveillance, biometrics, and automated decision-making during the course of their migration journeys. The reflections highlight the need to recognise how uses of migration management technology perpetuate harms, exacerbate systemic discrimination and render certain communities as technological testing grounds. Read the full report.

Brief: Caught in the Crossfire: Averting Further Humanitarian Disaster in Ethiopia (November 23, 2020) Refugees International. In early November, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia sent the national army into the northern region of Tigray in response to a reported attack on an Ethiopian military base by Tigrayan authorities. The outbreak of hostilities marked the culmination of months of mounting tensions and deteriorating relations between Abiy’s government and Tigrayan leaders. This brief explores the humanitarian and regional dimensions of the conflict and proposes a way forward to de-escalate the situation and accelerate humanitarian aid delivery. Read here.

Report: Populations at risk: Implications of COVID-19 for hunger, migration and displacement. (November 2020) IOM. This joint study by the World Food Programme and the International Organization for Migration explores the impacts of COVID-19 and related containment measures on migrant workers, remittance dependent households and the forcibly displaced. It assesses the implications of the pandemic for people’s mobility, food security and other livelihood outcomes in major migration and hunger hotspots around the world. Read here.

Chew, V., Phillips, M. & Yamada Park, M. (eds) (2020). COVID-19 Impacts on Immigration Detention: Global Responses, International Detention Coalition and HADRI/Western Sydney University. The Australian Government has held firm to a position of mandatory immigration detention for many years despite regular attempts by civil society and the public to soften this hardline approach. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has now also failed to alter the government’s resolve to utilise indefinite detention despite clear and obvious risks to the health of detainees throughout the pandemic. This paper provides a summary of State and civil society activity in response to COVID-19 with specific reference to immigration detention in Australia. It does not have scope to explore offshore detention arrangements as these policies have remained unchanged and include jurisdiction of other governments. Read full report here.

A Restriction of Responsibility-Sharing: Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the Global Compact on Refugees (2020) Danish Refugee Council (DRC). This report examines the current and potential use of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) to address COVID-19 and its impacts, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the GCR itself. It provides analysis of and reflections on the effects of the pandemic and concomitant challenges on different aspects of the GCR, ranging from shrinking asylum space and restricted responsibility-sharing to how the Compact features in public advocacy surrounding pandemic responses. Questions explored in the report include: How is the GCR used to address COVID-19 and its impacts? What is the impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the GCR in terms of refugee protection? What might these impacts mean for the GCR’s short- and longer-term viability? It then offers key take-aways and recommendations aimed at a variety of actors. Read more (open access).

News reports and blog posts

Why Québec’s refugee sponsorship suspension is so misguided by Adèle Garnier and Shauna Labman (November 22, 2020) The Conversation. For more than 40 years, Canada has been at the forefront of private refugee sponsorship. But in October 2020, the Québec government announced a partial suspension of refugee sponsorships in the province. Until Nov. 1, 2021, sponsorship organizations are not permitted to sponsor refugees to Québec. Read more.

Rebalancing and improving refugee resettlement in Canada by Ervis Martani (November 2, 2020) Policy Options. The Canadian private sponsorship program is the oldest in the world and has offered protection to more than 350,000 refugees. But it is dependent upon the goodwill and resources of those sponsors. Concerns about the program have been raised as the incidence of sponsorship breakdown has grown, with sponsors unable or unwilling to provide the promised support until the end of the sponsorship period. The Quebec government moved last week to suspend private sponsorship by organizations for a year after receiving serious allegations about the program, though it didn’t provide details. Read the full article

In storm-hit Honduras, a climate crisis drives needs and fuels migration by Jared Olson. (November 18, 2020) The New Humanitarian. As Honduras endures its second major hurricane in as many weeks, international aid agencies and local volunteer groups are scrambling the best responses they can to assist people displaced by flooding and landslides. Read more.

First Central African refugees return from DRC since COVID-19 outbreak (November 16, 2020) UNHCR. This is a report of the first voluntary repatriation of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the Central African Republic (CAR) since the start of COVID-19 pandemic. About 475 refugees from the Mole camp in DRC were transferred by truck, bus and then boat to Bangui, capital of the CAR. Voluntary returns of refugees from DRC back to the CAR started in November 2019 but were suspended four months later when the borders closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read more.

Digital and social media

Video: Solutions for dealing with refugees, Professor Khalid Koser interviewed by Dr. Melissa Siegel (March 15, 2020). This interview is a discussion on durable refugee solutions; what they are and how they manifest in practice. Watch here.

November 11, 2020: 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. 97


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Recent Publications and New Research

Bradley, M. (2020). The International Organization for Migration: Challenges, Commitments, Complexities. Routledge. This book provides an accessible, incisive introduction to IOM, focusing on its humanitarian activities and responses to forced migration—work that now makes up the majority of the organization’s budget, staff, and field presence. IOM’s humanitarian work is often overlooked or dismissed as a veil for its involvement in other activities that serve states’ interests in restricting migration. In contrast, this book argues that understanding IOM’s involvement in humanitarian action and its work with displaced persons is pivotal to understanding the organization’s evolution and contemporary significance. Examining the tensions and controversies surrounding the agency’s activities, including in the complex cases of Haiti and Libya, the book considers how IOM’s structure, culture, and internal and external power struggles have shaped its behaviour. It demonstrates how IOM has grown by acting as an entrepreneur, cultivating autonomy and influence well beyond its limited formal mandate. Learn more (20% Discount Available – enter the code FLR40 at checkout).

Dennler, K. (2020). Challenging Un-Belonging and Undesirability. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 19(2), 501-518. This article uses qualitative research to examine how people with precarious immigration status exercise agency in the context of deportability, restrictions to their rights, and discourses that construct them as un-belonging and undesirable members of Canadian society. It also examines the extent to which agency transforms people’s everyday realities. The research identifies two ways that research participants exert autonomy over their lives: persistent presence and critiquing their construction as un-belonging and undesirable. While acts of autonomy made it easier for participants to sustain themselves, the research shows that participants internalized discourses hostile to people with precarious immigration status. This suggests that agency is necessary, but also limited in its capacity to mitigate the harm caused by enactments of immigration control. (Open access) Read here.

Khadka, R. K. (2020). The labour market negotiation of Bhutanese in the Canadian labour market, [Doctoral dissertation]. University of British Columbia. The Bhutanese refugees came to British Columbia from Nepal, between 2009 and 2015, and they experienced challenges in finding jobs. This study examined their employment experience in Canada. The findings show that they lacked language, job-search skills and work skills relevant to the labour market in Canada. They also experienced discrimination based on race, class and gender. A majority of Bhutanese refugees found jobs in meat packaging companies as cleaning staff, but they were temporary low paying jobs that were physically demanding. This study recommends policies and programs that could help Bhutanese refugee succeed in Canada. (Open access) Read more.

Forced Migration Review issue 65: Recognising refugee, November 2020. This issue includes two features. The main feature on Recognising refugees explores some of the shortcomings in refugee status determination systems worldwide, as well as the challenges faced by different actors and the consequences for asylum seekers and refugees. Authors also explore new developments and approaches. The second feature offers reflections on lessons and good practice emerging from the 2018–20 GP20 Plan of Action for IDPs. (Open Access) Read here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Improving the US Immigration System in the first year of the Biden Administration by T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Donald Kerwin, November 2020. This report co-published by the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility and the Center for Migration Studies New York highlights nearly 40 immigration reforms that should be prioritized by the Biden administration. The authors argue that Successful immigration policy reform will depend upon the quality and coordination of the top personnel in a number of federal agencies as well as effective leadership by the White House. Read here.

The Effect of Covid-19 On the Economic Inclusion of Venezuelans in Colombia by Jimmy Graham and Martha Guerrero Ble, Refugees International, October 2020. Colombia is the largest destination country for displaced Venezuelans, hosting almost 1.8 million as of May 2020. The Government of Colombia has maintained an open and constructive response, issuing residency and work permits and providing humanitarian relief. Yet Venezuelans in Colombia still face many obstacles to economic inclusion. COVID-19 has exacerbated these challenges, increasing Venezuelan unemployment and worsening their situation. This policy paper, part of the “Let Them Work” initiative, outlines the impact of COVID-19 on Colombians and Venezuelans alike, exploring the barriers both face to accessing the labor market. It then identifies practical ways in which the Government of Colombia, donors, international organizations, and NGOs, can overcome these barriers. Read more.

Human Mobility, Shared Opportunities: A Review of the 2009 Human Development Report and the Way Ahead, UNDP report, October 21, 2020. This UNDP publication recommends actions for policymakers to enhance the benefits and reduce the costs of human mobility to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The report finds that the reforms advanced by UNDP are as relevant as ever. Making migration work for sustainable development requires us to expand legal pathways, guarantee migrants’ rights and access to services, reduce transaction costs, foster integration and social cohesion, and mobilize diasporas, among others. Increased policy coherence and cooperation, in the context of the two Global Compacts – on Refugees and for Migration – and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are key to realize the potential development gains of human mobility. Read more.

Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families through Home Visiting: Innovative State and Local Approaches by Caitlin Katsiaficas, Migration Policy Institute, October 2020. For immigrant and refugee families, home visiting can offer integration-related supports by helping parents navigate unfamiliar early childhood, health, and social service systems. But even though they make up an important segment of the at-risk populations these programs aim to serve, immigrant and refugee families are less frequently enrolled in home visiting programs than families in which the parents are U.S. born. This brief highlights strategies adopted by some states and counties to address this gap. To do so, it explores four case studies. Read more.

News Reports and Blog Posts

 Voices in limbo: The plight of asylum seekers and refugees in Hong Kong in times of Covid-19 by Ka Wang Kelvin Lam, RLI blog, November 10, 2020. In the context of the current global pandemic, many residents of Hong Kong still recall the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, which caused more than a thousand infections and hundreds of deaths in the small city with a population of 7.5 million. With the lesson of SARS, Hong Kong people knew that they could not afford to drop their guard: the border soon closed, the city was placed on lockdown, people masked up and maintained social distancing. The author interviewed a number of asylum seekers and refugees stranded in the city to understand from their perspective how their lives were affected by the pandemic. Read more.

The humanitarian fallout of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by Andrew Connelly, The New Humanitarian, November 5, 2020. Battle for control of Nagorno-Karabakh has frequently plunged the South Caucasus into turmoil, but the latest hostilities are threatening to cause a regional humanitarian crisis, with tens of thousands of civilians displaced amid growing COVID-19 outbreaks and at the onset of winter. Read more.

New MP Ibrahim Omer’s election highlights the challenges refugees from Africa face in New Zealand by Samuel Judah Seomeng and Caroline Bennett, The Conversation, October 27, 2020. The election of Labour candidate Ibrahim Omer on October 17 makes him New Zealand’s first African MP and one of only two former refugees to sit in the New Zealand parliament. Read more.

Digital and Social Media

RRN webinar recording: Social Media Tools for Mobilizing Refugee Research. The Refugee Research Network hosted its inaugural webinar in October. A lot of the work of the RRN focuses on the value of using social media as a tool to disseminate knowledge about refugee and forced migration issues. The guest speakers, Michele Millard and William Payne argued that it is imperative that academics incorporate social media as part of their dissemination program and activities to have impact beyond specialized audiences. Watch recording, download the presentation or access webinar transcript.

Social Media Tools for Mobilizing Refugee Research

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The Refugee Research Network (RRN) recognizes the importance of using social media as a tool to disseminate knowledge about refugee and forced migration issues. Social media platforms have the potential of developing, supporting and strengthening diverse communities by spreading awareness about current issues to much broader audiences. The current “refugee crisis” is primarily a political problem, which will require political solutions. And lately, it seems that political leaders have not paid much attention to solid, evidence-based research.  We argue that it is imperative that academics incorporate social media as part of their dissemination program and activities to have impact beyond specialized audiences.


William Payne, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, York University
Michele Millard, Coordinator, Centre for Refugee Studies

William Payne is a doctoral candidate in critical human geography at York University, a graduate research associate at the Centre for Refugee Studies and teaches in the geography department at York University and in the Community Worker Program at George Brown College. Payne’s research examines human rights violations against sexual/gender minorities in Latin American contexts. He has worked as a human rights advocate in Mexico, Colombia, Canada, and Palestine.

Michele Millard, is the coordinator of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, and the former Project Coordinator of the Refugee Research Network where she managed the online networking, knowledge mobilization, and dissemination activities of the project. Millard has volunteered for organizations providing settlement, protection, and advocacy services to refugees and refugee claimants for a number of years. She is currently active as a volunteer in the Canadian Sanctuary Network.




October 22, 2020: 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. 96

Refugee Research Network Webinar: Social Media Tools for Mobilizing Refugee Research October 29, 2020 3:00-4:00 PM EST. Social media platforms have the potential of developing, supporting and strengthening diverse communities by spreading awareness about current issues to much broader audiences. The current “refugee crisis” is primarily a political problem, which will require political solutions. And lately, it seems that political leaders have not paid much attention to solid, evidence-based research.  We argue that it is imperative that academics incorporate social media as part of their dissemination program and activities to have impact beyond specialized audiences. Register here.

Recent Publications and New Research

Elcioglu, E. F. (2020). Divided By the Wall: Progressive and Conservative Immigration Politics at the US-Mexico Border. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. This book offers a one-of-a-kind comparative study of leftwing pro-immigrant activists and their rightwing anti-immigrant opponents. Drawing on twenty months of ethnographic research with five grassroots organizations in the borderlands between Arizona, US and Sonora, Mexico, Divided by the Wall demonstrates how immigration politics has become a substitute for struggles around class inequality among white Americans. Provocative and even-handed, this book challenges common perceptions of U.S. immigration politics in times of growing inequality and insecurity. Learn more (Use source code 17M6662 at checkout).

Bevelander, P. (2020). Integrating refugees into labor markets. IZA World of Labor. Only a minority of refugees seek asylum, and even fewer resettle in developed countries. They start at a lower employment and income level, but subsequently “catch up” to the level of family unification migrants. However, both refugees and family migrants do not “catch up” to the economic integration levels of labor migrants. A faster integration process would significantly benefit refugees and their new host countries. Link to open access here.

Omata, N. (2020). The myth of self-reliance: economic lives inside a Liberian refugee camp (Vol. 36). Berghahn Books. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative research, this volume challenges the reputation of a ‘self-reliant’ model given to Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana and sheds light on considerable economic inequality between refugee households. The introduction can be read here. If you are interested in considering this title for possible course adoption, there is a free digital copy option. Learn more here.

Abdelhady, D., Gren, N., & Joormann, M. (Eds.). (2020). Refugees and the violence of welfare bureaucracies in Northern Europe. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press. This book contributes to debates on the governance of non-citizens and the meaning of displacement, mobility and seeking asylum by providing interdisciplinary analyses of a largely overlooked region of the world, with two specific aims. It scrutinizes the construction of the 2015 crisis as a response to the large influx of refugees, paying particular attention to the disciplinary discourses and bureaucratic structures that are associated with it. It also investigates refugees’ encounters with these bureaucratic structures and considers how these encounters shape their hope for building a new life after displacement. Link to open access here.

Ben-Yehuda, H., & Goldstein, R. (2020). Forced Migration Magnitude and violence in international crises: 1945–2015. Journal of Refugee Studies33(2), 336-357. This study outlines a framework for analyzing forced migration crises compared with non-forced migration crises, presents an index of Forced Migration Magnitude (FMM), and probes three hypotheses. It points to transformations in forced migration since WWII, compares crises with and without forced migration, and explores patterns of FMM and violence. Results show a salient increase in FMM, coupled with more severe interstate violence and war, dangerously destabilizing regions worldwide. These patterns require the integration of forced migration within crisis frameworks, as a new research agenda, to understand the nature of forced migration in the 21st century and its impact. Link to open access here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Complex Road to Recovery: COVID-19, Cyclone Amphan, Monsoon Flooding Collide in Bangladesh and India by Kayly Ober. (October 7, 2020). Refugees International. This report details how the convergent crises devastated India and Bangladesh—with a focus on the repercussions for displaced communities and vulnerable groups like migrant workers. The report also provides recommendations to bolster the immediate response and prepare for the future. Read here.

Global Report on Internal Displacement – 2020. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. This is the official repository of data and analysis on internal displacement. This edition looks at policy and operational practice from across the world and shows what is being done by countries to prevent, respond to and resolve internal displacement. GRID2020 proposes a roadmap for the next decade based on better information, more resources and stronger political investment. Part 1 – Internal displacement in 2019 presents updated figures at the global level. Data and contextual updates are included in the regional overviews and country spotlights. Part 2 – Ending internal displacement highlights examples from countries trying to address internal displacement and discusses the main ingredients for future practice to bring about durable solutions and lasting change. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

Explainer: equitable access to a covid-19 vaccine for the world’s displaced population by Mikyla Denney and Eric Schwartz. (October 8, 2020). Refugees International. Although the impacts of the coronavirus have varied among forcibly displaced populations, crowded living conditions, inadequate sanitation facilities, and uncertain livelihood opportunities for refugees and IDPs in and outside of camps create special vulnerabilities. This underscores the importance of accessibility to a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed. The authors emphasize the need for ensuring equitable access to a vaccine internationally, the role of COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access) in pursuing this goal, and the implications this may have on refugee populations in particular. Read here.

Self-harm in immigration detention has risen sharply. Here are 6 ways to address this health crisis by Kylie Hedrick and Rohan Borschmann. (October 7, 2020). The Conversation. New data  revealed the number of self-harm incidents in Australia’s immigration detention centres spiked during the first seven months of this year. This piece highlights research investigating self-harm among detained asylum seekers for the past decade and its findings shed light on the extent and nature of self-harm among these detainees. Read here.

Three-quarters of refugee women in Africa report rise in domestic violence during Covid-19, by Jennifer Rigby (October 15, 2020). The Telegraph.  According to a report published on Thursday by the International Rescue Committee, nearly three-quarters of refugee and displaced women in 15 African countries reported an increase in domestic violence since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The findings are based on a survey of 850 women living in East Africa, West Africa and the Great Lakes region. They also reported a 51 per cent increase in sexual violence while 32 per cent said they had observed a growth in early or forced marriage. Read here.

Digital and social media

Webinar Series: Sanctuary: What next? International Seminar Series with and for undocumented residents in cities. An invitation for academics, activists and policy makers to come together and set a new agenda for urban strategies for undocumented residents. This pioneering online series features six seminars, open to the international community and based on perspectives across three cities – San Francisco USA, Toronto Canada & London UK. Learn more and register here.

Online Panel: Disembarking to danger: Exploring Australia’s airport asylum policies by Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law (November 3, 2020 9:00-10:00 PM EST). This event explores how Australia’s airport asylum policies risk returning refugees to harm. This is a free online panel discussion with Shadow Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Kristina Keneally, Regina Jefferies, and ‘Sultan’, who experienced it first-hand when he and his partner fled Saudi Arabia’s punishments for their gay relationship. Learn more and register here.

October 8, 2020: 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. 95

Recent Publications and New Research

Bose, P. (2020). Refugees in New Destinations and Small Cities: Resettlement in Vermont. Palgrave Macmillan. This book offers a perspective on contemporary global migration policies and practices and how they play out at the local level. It draws on extensive qualitative research with refugees, advocacy organizations, local and state officials, and various other stakeholder groups in order to understand not only the politics and history of resettlement, but also the lived realities of daily existence. More here.

Abdelaaty, L., & Steele, L. G. (2020). Explaining Attitudes Toward Refugees and Immigrants in Europe. Political Studies. While there is a large literature on attitudes toward immigrants, scholars have not systematically examined the determinants of attitudes toward refugees. Often, refugees are simply treated as a subset of immigrants, under the assumption that attitudes toward both sets of foreigners are similar. This article examines whether there are distinctions between attitudes toward refugees and immigrants, as well as variation in their determinants. More here.

Topak, Ö.E. (2020), Biopolitical Violence and Waiting: Hotspot as a Biopolitical Borderzone. Antipode. This paper conceptualises Lesvos hotspot as a biopolitical borderzone where migrants experience concentrated violent practices of borders, including legal exclusion, presence of exclusionary surveillance and absence of surveillance for safety, degrading living conditions, and waiting. The paper also discusses the biopolitical consequences of these practices for migrants such as physical illnesses and injuries, and psychological disorders. The paper demonstrates how waiting is entangled in a complex way with other biopolitical practices and how it both creates and amplifies biopolitical effects for migrants. More here.

Gorman, C. S., & Culcasi, K. (2020). Invasion and colonization: Islamophobia and anti-refugee sentiment in West Virginia. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. Amidst a rise in hate crimes, hate group organizing, and anti-Muslim and anti-refugee policy making in the United States, this paper examines efforts by a national hate group to organize opposition to the resettlement of Syrian Muslim refugees in West Virginia, a non-traditional refugee destination. Through analysis of materials disseminated at a public seminar titled the “Invasion and Colonization of West Virginia,” the authors identify four unique social-spatial themes this group is using to make alarmist and conspiratorial claims about Muslim refugees invading and colonizing the state and nation. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Macklin, A., Goldring, L., Hyndman, J., Korteweg, A., Barber, K., & Zyfi, J. (2020). The Kinship between Refugee and Family Sponsorship. Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement and the CERC in Migration and Integration Working Paper. This piece draws from an ongoing research project that examines refugee sponsorship from the perspective of sponsors, particularly sponsors of Syrian refugees from 2015 onwards. This paper identifies multiple points of contact between private sponsorship and the family as a social unit. The authors argue that certain features associated with kinship relations are embedded in the institutional structure and norms of private refugee sponsorship, and that these echo in sponsors accounts of their relationship with sponsored refugees. The analysis sheds light on the way sponsors conceived of their role, how their understanding may have evolved, and how engaging in sponsorship transforms sponsors in social terms. Read here.

Dejean, F., & Jean-Baptiste, E. (2020). The role of Christian religious groups: with Syrian refugees and Haitian asylum seekers. A BMRC Research Digest. This research concerns the interventions by Christian organizations (churches and agencies) with the Syrian refugees who arrived mainly in 2015 and 2016 and the Haitian asylum seekers whose arrival on Canadian soil received heavy media coverage in the summer of 2017. It seeks to understand how these organizations mobilized to meet the specific needs of these groups, to examine the various types of action undertaken and finally to identify the specific nature of the religious institutional actors and how their actions are related to the actions of the other actors present. Read summary here, or a full report available in French.

News reports and blog posts

Australia’s migration and refugee programs go under Budget microscope by Samantha Dick (September 25, 2020). The New Daily. Australia’s refugee and migrant programs are under the budget microscope as the federal government seeks to rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of Australian workers have been left jobless, and political leaders may adopt a populist ‘Australia-first’ approach to immigration to ensure jobs go to Australians first. However experts urge that migration is an essential element of helping to address or minimise any adverse consequences of a structurally ageing population. Read here.

EU’s migration proposals draw anger on left and leave questions unanswered by Jennifer Rankin (September 23, 2020). The Guardian. Since 2015, more than 1 million refugees arrived in Europe. Consequently, migration has been at the forefront of debates. Leaders have flung accusations at each other, exposing painful divisions. Governments on both sides of the asylum debate are holding fire as they digest the plans spread over five draft regulations and other official texts. Read here.

A murderous pact: The European Union to deport refugees by Peter Schwarz (September 26, 2020). World Socialist Web Site. The author argues that the “Asylum and Migration Pact,” presented by the EU is cynical and inhumane as it will lead to deportation, misery and certain death for hundreds of thousands. He highlights that the current management plan is focused on throwing out refugees who have managed to cross the borders of Fortress Europe at the risk of their lives. Elementary principles of the right of asylum and human rights fall by the wayside. Read here.

Detainee to UN secretary-general: ‘The refugee convention has lost all meaning’ by Amir Mirzaei (September 22, 2020). Green Left. Refugee Amir Mirzaei was brought to Australia from Manus Island under the now-defunct Medevac law. He is still being detained in Melbourne. He has written to the United Nations secretary-general António Guterres asking for action, and spelling out his mental anguish from being detained. This is an abridged version of his letter that he asked Green Left to share with the world. Read here.

Digital and social media

Webinar: Conceptualising policy – do ‘climate refugees’ or ‘environmental migrants’ really exist? (October 7, 2020, 1.30 – 3.00PM GMT). Convened by the Refugee Law Initiative and its Internal Displacement Research Programme, in partnership with the Platform on Disaster Displacement. This webinar will focus on how law and policy can interact with the impact of natural hazards on human mobility. Register here.

September 24, 2020: 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. 94

Recent Publications and New Research

Huizinga, R., & van Hoven, B. (2020). Hegemonic masculinities after forced migration: Exploring relational performances of Syrian refugee men in The Netherlands. Gender, Place and Culture : a Journal of Feminist Geography, 1–23. This paper aims to contribute to emerging work within masculinities studies by exploring constructions of masculinities of young Syrian refugee men in the Netherlands. Using in-depth interviews and walking interviews, it illustrates how respondents construct masculinities predominantly in relation to labour market access, paid work and perceived social status. However, masculinities are enacted differently in relation to age, social class, race, and religion. The authors demonstrate how generational differences between respondents affect perceptions and performances of masculinities in relation to gender, generational relations and life course advancement. (Open access) Read here.

Oliver, C., Geuijen, K., & Dekker, R. (2020). Social contact and encounter in asylum seeker reception: the Utrecht Refugee Launchpad. Comparative Migration Studies8(1), 1–19. The Utrecht Refugee Launchpad was an experiment at city-level to create a more inclusive form of asylum seeker reception. The initiative used co-housing, bringing together young, local tenants with asylum seekers to improve social integration and local relations. This article examines the nature of social contact, and considers the value of relationships developed between asylum seekers and tenants, using qualitative data from interviews and participant observation. The findings demonstrate the importance of context, by highlighting that the remote logics of the national asylum system imposed spatial and temporal limitations on the co-housing model to generate ‘adjacent’ and transient living. (Open access) Read here.

Hamilton, L., Veronis, L., & Walton-Roberts, M. (2020). A National Project: Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Canada. McGill-Queen’s Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Series. Breaking new ground in an effort to understand and learn from the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Initiative that Canada launched in 2015, this book examines the experiences of refugees, receiving communities, and a range of stakeholders who were involved in their resettlement, including sponsors, service providers, and various local and municipal agencies. Considering the policy behind the program and the geographic and demographic factors affecting it, chapters document mobilization efforts, ethical concerns, integration challenges, and varying responses to resettling Syrian refugees from coast to coast. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Assessing Protection Claims at Airports: Developing procedures to meet international and domestic obligations by Regina Jefferies, Daniel Ghezelbash and Asher Hirsch (September, 2020), Kador Centre for Refugee Law. This Policy Brief critically analyses the legal and operational framework for handling protection claims made by people at Australian airports in light of Australia’s international protection obligations. It also examines the domestic legal framework which is claimed to provide the basis for airport screening procedures and through which Australia’s protection obligations are supposed to be given effect. This Policy Brief finds serious issues concerning transparency, legality and accountability, which require better Parliamentary intervention and oversight. Read here, or watch summary video here.

Nguyen, M. (2020). Why Migrants Stay in Small and Mid-Sized Canadian Cities: Towards a New Analytical Framework Using a Life Course Approach. Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement and the CERC in Migration and Integration Working Paper. This paper proposes an analytical framework to study immobility that centres migrants’ lived experiences and aspirations, using a life-course approach. The author argues that, asking why migrants stay, as opposed to why they leave, allows migration researchers to better understand the nuanced ways in which migrants form decisions to move to, stay in, build their lives in specific cities over time, in destination countries. Read here.

Olakpe, O. (2020). Undocumented Migrant Communities in Cities: Negotiating Legal and Legitimate Status from Below. Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement and the CERC in Migration and Integration Working Paper. This paper examines the literature on cities, citizenship and performative rights claiming through the lens of undocumented migrant status, using ethnographic research of the Nigerian community in the city of Guangzhou, China as an example. This paper unpacks the ways in which undocumented migrants exhibit citizenship, belonging and agency from below to demonstrate the different meanings and manifestations of agency, marginality and asymmetries of power in big cities in the Global South. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

Policies should better support people trapped in long-term refugee situations by Carolien Jacobs and Nuno Ferreira (September 10, 2020), The Conversation. This article explores the experiences and solutions for protracted displaced populations around the world. It is based on the examination of international and host country policies and their limitations to adequately address the challenges posed by forced displacement across the world. The authors outline the incorrect focus of national initiatives and provide alternative solutions. Read here.

Jordan returns refugees to desolate Syrian border camp, rights groups cry foul by Madeline Edwards (September 16, 2020). The New Humanitarian. Jordan has been sending refugees back to Syria for years, but this is the first time it has been accused of forcible transfers to the desert no man’s land, known as Rukban. The news report outlines the experience of living in the dessert camps as well as Jordan’s legal obligation to grant refugees a fair trial. Read here.

Digital and social media

Virtual Event: Rust & Reinvention: International Migration and Urban Change in the American Rust Belt (October 22, 2020, 1:00 – 2:30 PM EST). Balsillie School of International Affairs. Dr. Pottie-Sherman’s talk highlights the limitations of the singular spatial imaginary of the Rust Belt as a region associated with loss of industry, population, and status. Rather, she illustrates the rich, complex, and tangled contemporary spatial nuances associated with international migration in this region. These spatial nuances are complicated by increasingly exclusionary immigration policy and rhetoric at the federal level since January of 2017. Register here.

September 3, 2020: 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. 93

Recent Publications and New Research

Agrawal, S., & Sangapala, P. (2020). Does Community Size Matter in the Settlement Process? The Experience of Syrian Refugees in Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. Journal of International Migration and IntegrationThe article documents refugee experience in the first year of their settlement in a small city in Canada and then explores whether the size of the community matters in the settlement processes. The findings argue that contrary to existing scholarly literature, small municipalities are more creative, nimble, and efficient in settling Syrian newcomers. The authors also discuss the limitations of small cities and the immediate and long-term consequences they pose to the settlement process. The authors urge for municipal governments to play a more substantial role in the refugee resettlement process to offset the disproportionate burden settlement sector carries. (Open access) Read here.

McGuirk, S., & Pine, A. (2020). Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry. PM Press/Kairos. This new volume brings together academics, activists, journalists, artists, and people directly impacted by asylum regimes to explain how current practices of asylum align with the neoliberal moment, and to present their transformative visions for alternative systems and processes. Asylum for Sale offers a fresh and wholly original perspective by challenging readers to move beyond questions of legal, moral, and humanitarian obligations that dominate popular debates regarding asylum seekers. Digging deeper, the authors focus on processes and actors often overlooked in mainstream analyses and on the trends increasingly rendering asylum available only to people with financial and cultural capital. More here.

Tønnessen, M., & Wilson, B. (2020). Visualising Immigrant Fertility Profiles of Childbearing and their Implications for Migration Research. Journal of International Migration and Integration. Different measures of fertility have strengths and limitations when used to describe the fertility of immigrants, and no single measure captures every aspect of this complex phenomenon. This paper introduces a novel visual framework that shows life course profiles of immigrant childbearing in a multifaceted way. The authors illustrate the importance of these fertility profiles and how they can be used to expand our knowledge of immigrant childbearing and to investigate various hypotheses of migrant fertility, giving a novel overview of the relationships between fertility measures such as period and quantum, before and after arrival. (Open access) Read here.

Stel, N. (2020). Hybrid Political Order and the Politics of Uncertainty: Refugee Governance in Lebanon. Routledge. This book is the first to critically and comprehensively explore the parallels between Lebanon’s engagement with the recent Syrian refugee influx and the more protracted Palestinian presence. Drawing on fieldwork, qualitative case-studies, and critical policy analysis, it questions the dominant idea that the inconsistency, and fragmentation of refugee governance are only the result of forced displacement or host state fragility and the related capacity problems. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Bejan, R. (2020). Following the refugee relocation scheme: Ideological interpretations of interstate shared responsibility in Romania. In Unpacking the Challenges & Possibilities for Migration Governance. RESPOND Working Paper. Upsala University, Sweden.  The number of irregular migrant entries within the European Union (EU) increased by 546% in 2015. No policy has adequately addressed this humanitarian crisis, partially because of the deep ideological divisions within the European Union regarding the implementation of the 2015 refugee relocation scheme. This paper uses interview data (n = 14) to explore how Romanian policymakers and elected representatives interpret the idea of interstate shared responsibility in relation to the EU’s relocation system for internally redistributing refugees and to examine what version of interstate solidarity is considered politically desirable. (Open access) Read here.

Exacerbating The Other Epidemic: How COVID-19 is Increasing Violence Against Displaced Women and Girls by Devon Cone (August 4, 2020), Refugee International. Displaced women and girls face a greater risk of experiencing physical and sexual abuse, and the current realities of COVID-19 pandemic—lockdowns, border closures, and economic desperation— further exacerbate this risk. This report details the ways in which displaced women and girls are facing an increased threat of gender based violence amid the pandemic, and highlights creative solutions and steps governments, donors, and communities must take to combat such threat. Read here.

Reform Past Due: COVID-19 Magnifies Need to Improve Spain’s Asylum System by Daphne Panayotatos (July 27, 2020), Refugees International. Spain manages multiple borders on its mainland, islands, and overseas enclaves. Its geography and history draw individuals from distinct parts of the globe seeking safety and opportunity. However, not all have an equal chance of finding refuge. Reports of authorities using aggressive border tactics to keep away people arriving from northern Africa stand in stark contrast to special temporary legal protections the government has extended to forced migrants from Venezuela. Overall, practical and policy measures are closing the space for asylum, mirroring a concerning, broader trend in Europe. Meanwhile, Spain’s capacity to process claims and attend to asylum seekers is growing increasingly strained. Read here.

A Primer on the Trump Administration’s Most Ambitious Effort to End Asylum by Yael Schacher (July 29, 2020), Refugees International. On June 15, 2020, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice issued a major proposed asylum regulation: “Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review” (rule). The proposed rule would dramatically curtail eligibility for asylum in the United States by barring or discrediting broad categories of claims and making it extremely difficult for asylum seekers to get a fair or full hearing. This issue brief addresses some of the most regressive and harmful elements of this proposed rule—and ones that are in striking contrast to the intent of Congress in implementing U.S. obligations under the Refugee Convention and Protocol. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

What does Europe’s East-West divide tell us about its external borders? By Raluca Bejan (August 24, 2020), Crisis Magazine. European Union expansion produces legal routes for Eastern European migrants to move westwards. But the discriminatory conditions they often face reflect unfair intra-EU agreements. Responses to migration from outside Europe must address the forms of structural uncertainty and inequality already produced within its borders. Read here.

Genocide: The Term That Fits The Crime in Myanmar by Yasmin Ullah and Eric Schwarts (August 27, 2020). Refugees International. Myanmar began its worst violence yet against Rohingya Muslims three years ago today, ruthlessly driving out hundreds of thousands of women, men and children through murder and other grievous abuses, in a campaign intended to destroy, in whole or in part, the Rohingya people. But Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo still has not called those crimes genocide. The authors explain the importance in classifying the current violence as genocide. Read here.

Digital and social media

Video: Borderstory is a 20-minute multimedia film part of Worn Words listening research project. This film unpacks the word ‘border’ in asylum discourse. It includes an animation of securitization as a cultural narrative and cross-sector research interviews that interrupt the story in postcolonial filmmaking fashion. Watch here.