All posts by rrn_main_1

July 10, 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. 45

Recent Publications and New Research

Hausmann, Ricardo and Ljubica Nedelkoska (2018) Welcome home in a crisis: Effects of return migration on the non-migrants’ wages and employment. European Economic Review 101: 101-132.

The recent economic depression in Greece had a particularly strong impact on Albanian migrants in Greece, spurring a wave of return migration that increased the Albanian labour force between 2011 and 2014. This study considers how return migration affected the employment chances and earnings of Albanians who never migrated. The authors found positive effects on the wages of low-skilled non-migrants in particular and overall and conclude that the gains partially offset the sharp drop in remittances. In particular, businesses run by return migrants seemed to pull Albanians into commercial agriculture. An open access version of this paper is available here:

Carton, Jessy (2018) Complicated refugees: A study of the 1951 Geneva Convention grounds in Aleksandar Hemon’s life narrative. Law & Literature 30(2): 331-347.

Under the 1951 Geneva Convention, refugee status requires the establishment of a causal link between fear of persecution and one or more grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. According to legal scholars, this “nexus clause” included in the refugee definition may lead to restricted legal interpretations by states and cause protection gaps for persons in need of refuge. This paper argues that literary analyses of forced migration narratives can show the inadequacy of this requirement in the context of contemporary conflicts. The author uses a case study of the works of Aleksandar Hemon, a Sarajevo-born author, to discuss the relevance of the Convention grounds. This analysis shows that even in a conflict along ethno-religious lines, refugee profiles can be more “complicated” than the categories in the legal definition. This literary case study supports the call for reform of the 1951 Geneva Convention to ensure universal protection. Unfortunately, not open access:

Samuel Hall (2018) Syria’s Spontaneous Returns Study.

This study provides an analysis of the current returns to Syria. The armed conflict in Syria has already displaced millions of people inside and outside the country. Since 2011, over 6 million Syrians have sought asylum outside Syria’s borders, and an additional 6.5 million people are displaced internally. To date, there is no clear picture of the number or conditions in places of return. This research seeks to start to address this gap. The author concludes that returns to Syria should neither be promoted nor facilitated and the focus should remain on protection space in host countries. An open access version of this report is available here (you may need to cut and paste the link):

Coyne, Benedict (2018) #Rightsplaining: Political spinertia or a historic future for human rights in Australia? Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity 5(2): 207-221.

This is the published version of the opening speech for the Inaugural Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) National Human Rights Conference, held in Melbourne in February 2017. Coyne, the ALHR national president, set the scene for the conference by focusing on current, topical issues in human rights in Australia in order to illuminate the path forward for positive progress on human rights. He lamented that these are ‘dark times for human rights in Australia and the world’ and then offered several examples where Australia falls short, expressing particular concern with its use of islands to externalize the petitions for refuge by asylum seekers. He concluded with a call for Australia to adopt a robust Bill of Rights. The open access article is available here:

Koma, Anwar (2017) Securitization of Syrian refugees in 2015: A comparative analysis between the EU and Turkey. al-Hikmah 7(14): 151-174.

This paper uses the securitization framework pioneered by the Copenhagen School to examine how the European Union (EU) and Turkey dealt with the Syrian refugees in 2015. The author argues that while the EU and some of its member states attempted to securitize Syrian refugees in 2015-2016 in order to protect the Schengen Zone, Turkey, on the other hand, employed a humanitarian discourse to politicize the issue by framing Syrians as guests. However, in practice, as a result of the EU influence, Turkish actors implemented securitization in order to control border security. The paper uses a comparative approach to explore whether the different patterns of securitization matters. The study concludes that the discordant securitization undertakings contributed to volatility in Turkey-EU relations in 2015-2016. The study proposes that humanitarian-based organizations should advocate for an open door and burden-sharing EU policy instead of securitization and should urge Turkey to facilitate safety for refugees heading to its shores rather than adhere to a containment policy. An open access version of this article is available here: 

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Bose, Pablo and Lucas Grigri (2018) PR4: Refugee Resettlement Trends in the Midwest. Refugee Resettlement in Small Cities Reports. University of Vermont. May.

This report examines refugee resettlement trends from FY2012-2016 for the Midwest region of the United States. Historically, the Midwest has been less of a destination for immigrants than states along either coast or the southern border. However, many states in the Midwest have more recently seen significant rises in the proportion of foreign-born residents. 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:

Canadian Council for Refugees (2018) Report: National Forum on Human Trafficking.

This report summarizes the highlights of the 2017 CCR National Forum on Human Trafficking held in St. Catharines, Ontario, on December 3, 2017. Key issues discussed during the forum include: the application of a gender-based lens to policy; bridging anti-trafficking policies and access to services; access to justice and protection; service response and trauma-informed practice; advocacy for prevention, protection and prosecution; and, how migrant worker issues are intertwined with human trafficking. The open access report is available here:

Sydney, Chloe (2018) Searching for Solutions: Lessons for Syria. IDMC/Norwegian Refugee Council Thematic Report.

Since 2011, close to half of Syria’s pre-war population has been displaced. The country remains far from safe for those who consider returning to their homes: explosive hazards contamination puts the physical safety of those who return at very real risk; widespread destruction of housing means that many IDPs will be unable to return to their former homes; and, damaged infrastructure and compromised services further impact those who seek to return. Sustained efforts from humanitarian and development actors will be needed to meet the benchmarks set out in the UN’s Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s framework for durable solutions. This review identifies lessons learned from other complex crises to inform future programming. The literature review examined pathways towards durable solutions for IDPs in Iraq, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Bosnia, and Kosovo to draw relevant parallels and lessons learned for Syria, with recommendations for operational actors working with displacement-affected communities. The open access report is available here:

The Expert Council’s Research Unit (SVR Research Unit (2018) What Next for Global Refugee Policy? Opportunities and Limits of Resettlement at Global, European and National Levels. Berlin.

This policy brief from the SVRʼs Research Unit provides an analysis of the current resettlement system in Germany, Europe and at global level. It also considers the development and implementation of alternative admission pathways such as humanitarian programmes and private sponsorship schemes and discusses the principles and direction of future resettlement policy. The open access publication is available here:

News and blog posts

Dharssi, Alia and Franscesca Fionda (2018) These are 5 things refugees and asylum seekers want you to know. The Discourse June 20.

In this succinct article based on a series of workshops with refugees organized by a new media group, refugee and asylum seekers share how media coverage affects them and how it can be improved. The authors ask refugees how they would like to be portrayed in the media and what stories they would like to see told. A special section entitled ‘tips for journalists’ will help those covering the stories do a better job. The open access article is available here:

Axworthy, Lloyd and Allan Rock (2018) Let’s ensure our border remains a beacon of hope. Globe and Mail. June 11, 2018.

In this opinion piece, two elder statespersons, both former Canadian cabinet ministers, call for the suspension of the “safe third country” arrangement until conditions in the United States change. They argue that the United States is no longer “safe” for asylum seekers. They argue that we can no longer regard our duty to asylum seekers as met simply because they are within U.S. jurisdiction. They call on Canada to “make crystal clear that we will not be complicit in his mistreatment of refugees.”

Rehaag, Sean (2018) U.S.-Canada agreement on refugees is now unconstitutional. The Conversation. June 13.

Given the latest shameful U.S. announcement regarding non-consideration of gender-based violence asylum claims combined with earlier atrocious announcements about detention and family separation, this prominent refugee law scholar says that the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S. is now clearly unconstitutional (if it wasn’t already). The open access article is available here:

Howden, Daniel and Giacomo Zandonini (2018) Niger: Europe’s Migration Laboratory. News Deeply. Refugees Deeply. May 22.

Three-quarters of all African migrants arriving by boat in Italy in recent years transited Niger. Now, this relatively unheralded country that connects West and North Africa is also the biggest per capita recipient of E.U. aid in the world. With strong E.U. support and encouragement, Niger has become the “model” for how other transit countries should manage migration and is the best performer of the five African nations who signed up to the E.U. Partnership Framework on Migration – the plan that makes development aid conditional on cooperation in migration control. This open-access article explores the implications for Niger for being at the frontline of E.U. control of migrants.

Digital and Social Media

MOAS – Migrant Offshore Aid Station (2018) Snapshots of Childhood

This photo blog shows how Rohingya children living in refugee camps spend their days. The Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh are home to hundreds of thousands of children who have suffered through more than most people will in a lifetime. The open access blog is available here:

May 24, 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. 44

Recent Publications and New Research

Evans Cameron, Hilary (2018) Refugee Law’s Crisis: Truth, Risk, and the Wrong Mistake. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

This new book considers a long-neglected branch of refugee law. The author asserts that seeking refugee protection has become a game of chance and that partly to blame is the law that governs how refugee status decision-makers resolve their doubts. The author reviews what this law is trying to accomplish in a refugee hearing and argues that a hole in the law’s normative foundations is contributing to the dysfunction of Canada’s refugee determination system, and may well be undermining refugee protection across the globe. The author proposes a new legal model of refugee status decision-making. Peter Showler. former chair of Canada’s immigration and refugee board, says: “This is a profound and brilliant book that should be read by all asylum claim decision-makers, judges, refugee lawyers, tribunal administrators, and asylum policy makers.” The book is available here (sadly, not open access):

Wolf, Marie and Marinus Ossewaarde (2018) The political vision of Europe during the ‘refugee crisis’: missing common ground for integration. Journal of European Integration 40(1): 33-50.

These authors analyse the imaginaries of political decision makers of the European Union in the context of the ‘refugee crisis’ and interpret them according to theories of European integration – neofunctionalism and liberal intergovernmentalism. Texts examined as part of this research include speeches, interviews, statements and press releases of the 28 heads of state and government and two Commissioners. The authors find that the European imaginaries expressed by the largest group of heads of state and government remain blurred without clarification of their position on European integration, while the imaginaries expressed by the Commissioners are mainly characterised by support of further integration. They suggest that the prospects for further integration remain limited according to neofunctionalism, but are higher following liberal intergovernmentalism. An open access version of this article is available here:

Harvey, Gemma (2018) Deflection and deterrence: Europe’s shrinking asylum space and its parallels with Australian policies. Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity 5(2): 143-164.

This essay looks at how European Union asylum laws and policy rapidly evolved in 2015, when people from countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq started arriving in unprecedented numbers on the shores of Greek islands. The author notes that while there had been little emphasis on resettlement prior to 2015, since then this became increasingly important as a way of demonstrating solidarity with countries in turmoil, while at the same time limiting responsibility for people arriving spontaneously on the doorstep of the EU. The paper includes an analysis of the EU-Turkey deal, which sought to close off the main route across the Aegean Sea from Turkey into Europe. The author concludes that EU strategy was two-pronged, punishing ‘bad’ spontaneous arrivals and rewarding ‘good’ refugees who stay further afield, and resulted in the externalization of processing to buffer zones similar to Australia’s approach of shrinking the protection space available to asylum seekers. An open access version is available here:

Bustamante Duarte, Anna Maria, Nina Brendel, Auriol Degbelo and Christian Kray (2018) Participatory design and participatory research: An HCI case study with young forced migrants. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI) 25(1), Art.3.

These authors report on research of human-computer interaction based on on a month-long case study with a group of about 25 young forced migrants (YFMs) in Germany. The article provides insights into the combined use of participatory design and participatory research. They conclude that this approach supported intercultural collaborations between YFMs and young members of the host community and enabled communication across language barriers. The authors also share insights into the role of ‘safe spaces’ for participation. An open access version of the article is available here:

Ellis, Basia D. (2015) The Production of irregular migration in Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies 47(2): 93-112.

Published several years ago, this article is included in this research digest because of its relevance to current events. The author points out that while economic globalization and capitalist expansion displace growing numbers of migrants, advanced nations including Canada are tightening their borders and increasing their immigration laws, leading to a growing number of migrants choosing irregular ways of life whereby they reside, work, and raise their families underground. This paper critically assesses how irregular migration is produced and perpetuated in Canada and discusses how employers and other social actors engage in practices that contribute to the production of irregular migration. The author proposes that irregularity should be viewed as a sociopolitical condition generated and maintained by a range of structural and psychosocial determinants. The paper also reviews the challenging conditions that constitute irregular life and proposes some directions for political action. The article is available here (sadly, not open access):

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Peri, Giovanni and Vasil Yasenov (2017) The labor market effects of a refugee wave: Synthetic control method meets the Mariel boatlift. IZA Discussion Papers, No. 10605. Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn.

The authors apply the Synthetic Control Method to re-examine the effects of the Mariel Boatlift, a large inflow of Cubans into Miami in 1980, first studied by David Card (1990). They argue that this method improves on previous studies by choosing a control group so as to best match Miami’s labour market features before the Boatlift. Using data from the larger and more precise May-ORG Current Population Survey (CPS) they conclude that there was no significant departure of wages and employment of low-skilled workers between Miami and its control after 1979. An open access version of the paper is available here:

Aleinikoff, T. Alexander and Susan Martin (2018) Making the Global Compacts Work: What Future for Refugees and Migrants? Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. Brief 6. April.

This policy brief includes the authors’ recommendations for how the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) could be further improved. The authors propose better protection for persons fleeing life-threatening situations; expanding pathways to legal admission for migrants; defining more precisely the term ‘vulnerable migrants’; and strengthening monitoring and accountability processes. This policy brief also identifies gaps and overlaps between the GCM and the Global Compacts on Refugees (GCR), particularly with regard to internal movements of people and situations involving mixed migration flows. The authors argue that in their present forms, both the GCR and GCM have the potential to improve the lives of migrants. An open access link to the brief is available at the bottom of this summary:

Friesen, Chris and Kathy Sherrell (2018) Syrian Refugee Operation to BC: Taking Stock Two Years After Arrival. Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia. May.

Given the unprecedented arrival of Syrian Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) to British Columbia, the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISSofBC) conducted a telephone survey to ascertain how refugees are faring after two years in the province. This report explores the findings of the first-language telephone survey, identifies key themes, and provides recommendations intended to better facilitate the settlement and integration of refugees in BC, and Canada more broadly. Key findings include: Eighty-seven percent (87%) report their English has improved since coming to Canada; Sixty-nine percent (69%) are attending free LINC classes; and that barriers to participation in LINC classes include work and education, health, lack of space in class, transportation issues, age and lack of childcare. An open access version of the report is available here:

Bose, Pablo and Lucas Grigri (2018) PR3: Resettlement Trends in the Southeast. Refugee Resettlement in Small Cities Reports. University of Vermont. April.

This report focuses on refugee resettlement trends from FY2012-2016 for the Southeast region of the United States. This region has been a key focus for scholars due in part to a significant growth in the foreign-born population, especially in terms of Latino labor migration as well as other forms of immigration. In this report, the authors consider the context of resettlement in the US with a particular focus on small cities. They take a closer look at several selected resettlement sites in order to explore what resettlement looks like on the ground. This report is the third in a six part series focused on resettlement trends across the US, and how these trends affect both the refugees and the communities where refugees are placed. An open access version of the report is available here:

News and blog posts

Anderson, Allison and Jessica Brandt (2018) Innovations for improving access to and quality of education for urban refugees. Education plus Development. Brookings Institute. May 11.

The Foreign Policy Program and the Center for Universal Education at Brookings convened a discussion of the distinct needs of urban refugee populations and recommendations for improving their access to education. Discussants included Yasmine Sherif, director of Education Cannot Wait, a new global fund designed to position education as a priority on the humanitarian agenda, and Ravi Gurumurthy, Chief Innovation Officer at the International Rescue Committee. This report summarizes some of the insights that emerged. Available here:

Sadrehashemi, Lobat and Lorne Waldman (2018) Four myths about Canada’s border crossings. Ottawa Citizen. May 14.

The authors observe that while the media may finally be writing about “illegal border crossings”, they lament that several recurring myths are shaping much of the coverage. They outline four of these myths in this article, available here:

2017 internal displacement figures by country. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

The IDMC has published data that show significant increases in forced displacement in 2017 across the globe. The data is available on their website:

Sikorski, Natlaie (2018) Understanding the algorithm meant to help refugees get jobs fast.

Researchers from Stanford University say an algorithm for locating refugee resettlement could vastly improve the probability that refugees will find work. The author reports on a conversation with the researchers about their findings and about the limits and opportunities of big data for refugee resettlement.


Videos: Climate-linked movement: forced and voluntary migration

This is a series of videos that introduces and reflects on statistics to demonstrate the implications of climate change on global movements. Available here:

Digital and Social Media

New Podcast from MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station): Childhood and Youth)

In this Podcast MOAS delves into the struggles and traumas of Rohingya child refugees who face living in the camps of Bangladesh. MOAS speaks with Max Frieder, Co-founder and Co-Executive Director of Artolution, a global organization focused on public arts that has operated in refugee camps on the Syrian – Jordanian border, Greece, France, Turkey and now Bangladesh. In the podcast, Frieder says that art helps those facing trauma and educates young refugees. Available here:

May 18, 2018: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 43

Recent Publications and New Research

Gilman, Denise and Luis A. Romero (2018) Immigration Detention, Inc. Journal on Migration and Human Security 6(2): 145-160.

This article draws the connection between economic inequality and U.S. system-wide immigration detention policy. The authors argue that the extensive use of detention in for-profit prisons by the US Department of Homeland Security raises issues of economic power and powerlessness. The authors link the influence of wealthy private prison corporations to the expansion of detention in facilities that are akin to those offered by the private prison industry. This article also describes the mechanisms by which economic inequality dictates the likelihood and length of detention in individual cases such that bond amounts are calibrated to ensure that beds are occupied rather than in relation to flight risk and release is determined by ability to pay the full amount rather than by any consideration of whether the individual is likely to abscond or endanger the community. An open access version is available at:

Lenner, Katharina and Lewis Turner (2018) Making refugees work? The politics of integrating Syrian refugees into the labor market in Jordan. Middle East Critique.

This article outlines how Syrian refugees are no longer framed merely as objects of humanitarian care but are rather increasingly portrayed as enterprising subjects, whose formal integration into labour markets can simultaneously create self-sufficient actors and cure the economic woes of host countries. The authors document the contradictions and frictions that have emerged in the process of implementing the Jordan Compact, a political commitment to integrate Syrian refugees into the formal Jordanian labour market. They argue that despite the widespread commitment to the scheme, it is unlikely that the Jordan Compact will reinvigorate the Jordanian economy or offer Syrians the prospect of a dignified, self-sufficient life. They conclude that this provides an important lesson for comparable schemes being rolled out across the globe. An open access version is available at:

Albahari, Maurizio (2018) From Right to Permission: Asylum, Mediterranean Migrations, and Europe’s War on Smuggling. Journal on Migration and Human Security 2: 121-130.

This paper argues that the European Union (EU) and its member states have transformed the right to asylum into a state granted permission through their efforts to curb unauthorized maritime migrant arrivals. The author provides evidence that the state actors’ deployment of an anti-smuggling discourse has not significantly curbed maritime arrivals but has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. The author proposes that governments enhance provisions for family reunification, refugee resettlement, study visas and temporary protection. Furthermore, the author argues that the situation of Europe’s ageing societies should be addressed through the reassessment of labour migration quotas and greater attention to worker rights. He concludes that such measures will lead to a reduced demand for smugglers. An open access version is available at:

Yafi, Eiad, Katya Yefimova and Karen E. Fisher (2018) Young hackers: Hacking technology at Za’atari Syrian Refugee Camp. CHI’18 Extended Abstracts (CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Montreal, Canada). 

This paper reports on the results of an exploratory study that highlights the creative ways in which young people co-opt technology to perform information work in the UNHCR Za’atari Syrian Refugee Camp. Based on data collected through a survey, diaries and observation, the authors conclude that hacking in this camp is highly gendered, provides a way for youth to assist their families and community, provides monetary and affective benefits, produces a connected learning environment, and builds capacity. An open access version is available at:

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

This article provides a critical examination of the current extensive promotion of ‘self-reliance’ for refugees. The authors propose that the existing scholarship largely ignores the unsuccessful historical record of international assistance to foster refugees’ self-reliance and fails to discuss its problematic linkages to neoliberalism and the notion of ‘dependency’. They argue that the current conceptualisation and practice of self-reliance are largely shaped by the priorities of international donors that aim to create cost-effective exit strategies from long-term refugee populations. The article concludes that where uncritically interpreted and applied, the promotion of self-reliance can result in unintended and undesirable consequences for refugees’ wellbeing and protection. The article is available here (alas, not open access):

d’Orsi, Cristiano (2018) Ghana and the paradoxical situation of its asylum-seekers: Selected grounds for alleged persecution in a supposed democratic country. African Journal of International and Comparative Law 26(2): 181-204.

This study investigates the relatively high number of Ghanaian nationals applying for asylum in various countries despite that Ghana is widely recognised as having a positive record on the protection of human rights. The author analyses the requests for asylum submitted by 30 Ghanaian nationals to seven countries (Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US) over the last 25 years. The article concludes that many Ghanaian asylum-seekers have actually been economic migrants who have faced increasingly stringent migration policies. The article is available here (alas, not open access):

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

 Te Lintelo, Dolf, Rajith Lakshman, Wissam Mansour, Emma Soye, Teo Ficcarelli and Will Wordward (2018) Wellbeing and Protracted Urban Displacement: Refugees and Hosts in Jordan and Lebanon. Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. April.

This publication provides a report of research that studied gendered wellbeing outcomes for refugee and host communities in cities across Jordan and Lebanon. The authors aslo provide advice to policymakers, practitioners and donors regarding how to support modalities of reception that promote gender equitable, improved outcomes for urban refugees and host communities. They note that humanitarian actors need to work with municipalities and national governments to address challenges related to informal settlements and conclude that portraying refugees as a resource that can be harnessed for the benefit of the host country is a strategy that is likely to improve relational wellbeing of refugees as well as the hosts. An open access version is available at:

Refugees International (2018) Field Report – Denial of refuge: The plight of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel. April.

In this publication, Refugees International reports the results of an assessment of the situation of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel in light of the stated intention of Israeli officials to move forward with either removal or indefinite detention of large numbers of people. The organization notes that following the mission, Israeli officials announced an agreement to resolve the status of nearly 35,000 asylum seekers currently living in Israel through the departure from Israel of just under half of the asylum seekers to third countries and through regularized status for the others who would remain in Israel, but that sadly this announcement was subsequently rescinded due to opposition in Israel. Refugees International expresses deep concern that the Israeli government plans to employ indefinite detention and deportation to countries where the lives of asylum seekers would be at risk. An open access version is available at:

News and blog posts

Johar, Ali and Jessica Field (2018) Fire Reduces Rohingya Camp To Ashes, Exposing India’s Refugee Policies. News Deeply. April 30.

Youth leader Ali Johar describes the fallout related to a massive fire that destroyed a Rohingya settlement in Delhi. Researcher Jessica Field explains the combustible mix of politics and poverty for these refugees. The post is available here:

AP News (2018) Greece: 5 aid workers cleared on migrant smuggling charges. May 7.

This article reports that five members of international aid groups from Spain and Denmark have been cleared in court on charges of attempting to illegally bring migrants into Greece. All five men on trial had all denied wrongdoing, arguing that they were on the island to help migrants who were facing dangers at sea. The post is available here:


Min Sook Lee (2016) Migrant Dreams (video)

This award-winning documentary is now available through Al Jazeera. Migrant Dreams tears a rupture in the myth of ‘Canada the Good’. It foregrounds the voices of migrant workers who work in farms in Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and opens a conversation about the relationship between labour, gender, race, class and settlement otherwise known as immigration to Canada viewed through the prism of the Canada’s migrant worker programs. The video is available here:

Digital and Social Media

MOAS (2018) Statelessness (Podcast)

This podcast explores what it means when you are not legally a citizen of the country where you were born or in any other country. Statelessness affects the lives and chances of over 10 million people globally and the Rohingya community make up 3.5 million of them. In this podcast the author speaks with Melanie Khanna, Chief of the Statelessness Section at UNHCR, Amal de Chickera Co-founder and Co-director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, and Muhammed Noor, Co-founder and Managing Director of the Rohingya Project. The podcast is available here:

May 3, 2018: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 42

Recent Publications and New Research

Borkert, Maren, Karen E. Fisher and Eiad Yafi (2018) The Best, the worst, and the hardest to find: How people, mobiles, and social media connect migrants in (to) Europe.  Social Media + Society Journal Jan-Mar: 1-11.

Displaced people require highly complex information in the process of migrating into Europe. They are faced with various related problems including where to seek needed information, how to assess its trustworthiness, as well as related costs. Poor or false information can lead to harm, loss of family, financial ruin or death. This paper provides insight into digital literacy, information needs and strategies among Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Europe and seeks to challenge the dominant perspective on migrants and refugees as passive victims of international events and policies. An open access version is available at:

Bauböck, Rainer (2018) Refugee Protection and Burden-Sharing in the European Union. Journal of Common Market Studies 56(1): 141-156.

This article starts with a discussion of the principles of a globally just system of refugee protection in which states either admit refugees for resettlement or support refugee integration in other states. The author underlines that such a system requires strong assurances of compliance by the states involved and considers the context of the European Union where Member States have prior commitments and supranational institutions are expected to facilitate such effective burden sharing. The article examines various factors that have contributed to the failure of the EU’s relocation scheme to meet this expectation. An open access version is available at:

Baauw, Albertine and Nicole Ritz (2018) Editorial: Towards better healthcare for migrant and refugee children in Europe. European Journal of Pediatrics 177(2): 161-2.

The editorial board of the European Journal of Pediatrics invited the Committee of International Child Health of the Dutch Association of Paediatrics to arrange a series on migrant health in children. The aim of the series is to promote understanding of health needs of migrant and refugee children and to provide health care workers with practical tools. Articles written by health care workers are planned for publication at regular intervals over the next year. An open access version of this editorial is available at:

Mulvey, Gareth (2018) Social, citizenship, social policy and refugee integration: a case of policy divergence in Scotland. Journal of Social Policy 47(1): 161-178.

This author argues that underpinning divergent policy approaches between Holyrood and Westminster suggest different views of social citizenship. The article considers the place of refugees and asylum seekers in these differing views of social rights and shows that the Scottish Government has taken a different approach from that of Westminster. An open access version of this article is available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Danzer, Alexander M. and Barbara Dietz (2018) The Economic and Social Determinants of Migrants’ Well-Being during the Global Financial Crisis. IZA Institute of Labor Economics Discussion Paper No. 11272.

This paper investigates the economic and social determinants affecting the well-being of temporary migrants before, during and after the financial crisis. The authors examine migration from Tajikistan to Russia and find that the crisis is associated with longer stays, lower earnings as well as higher levels of harassment and deportation. This paper is available at:

Marshall, Katherine, Shaun Casey, Attalah Fitzgibbon, Azza Karam, Majbritt Lyck-Bowen, Ulrich Nitschke, Mark Owen, Isabel Phiri, Alberto Quatrucci, Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Msgr. Roberto Vitillo and Erin Wilson (2018) Religious roles in refugee resettlement: Pertinent experience and insights, addressed to G20 members. Economics Discussion Papers, No. 2018-11. Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

These authors reflect on the experience and insights of religious entities in refugee resettlement. They note that religious entities play significant roles in the current forced migration crisis, including direct action with refugees and forced migrants, advocacy on behalf of refugees and forced migrants, support for integration, promotion of social cohesion, and the addressing of trauma. They argue that policy makers have a poor understanding of religious factors and contributions in this context and propose that the agendas and gatherings of the G20 and of think tanks can benefit from purposeful attention to these neglected dimensions of a central global challenge. Open access version available at:

Global Detention Project (2018) Immigration Detention in Ireland: Will Better Detention Mean More Detention?

Because Ireland does not separate its few immigration detainees from people in criminal procedures, it has faced significant international criticism. This report points out that while Ireland does not emphasize detention in its migration and asylum policies, officials do have long-standing plans to open a dedicated immigration detention facility. While such a move may bring the country into compliance with some international norms, this report discusses how it may also lead to more people being detained. Read the report here:

Bergmann, Jonas and Susan F. Martin (2018) Institutional Frameworks and Environmental Mobility. Knomad: Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development. Policy Brief 10.

These authors propose that holistic institutional frameworks are needed to assist people with adapting to environmental change. They argue that such frameworks need to help those who become displaced as well as those who remain behind. They also propose that such frameworks should address all dimensions of mobility, harness the development potential of migration, channel funding to adaptive mobility, enhance regional cooperation, and facilitate relevant research. The report is available here:

News and Blog Posts

Loreto, Nora (2018) From refugee to murder victim: How Canada failed Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam. Medium. April 18.

This author argues that the story of Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, one of the victims of a recently arrested serial killer in Toronto, demonstrates far more than the failures of the police to stop someone who long preyed on men who were marginalized because they were queer, racialized and/or poor. Loreto discusses Kanagaratnam’s unsuccessful journey to seek safe haven in Canada and proposes that Kanagaratnam’s death also points to how immigration and refugee policy and economic policies in Canada place vulnerable people in harm’s way. The post is available here:

Doğar, Didem (2018) The trouble with impunity: war crimes and a humanitarian agency. The Conversation. April 22.

In this piece the author analyzes whether the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees unwittingly causes countries to neglect investigating war crimes. It is available here:

Schuster, Liza (2018) Eyewitness: a deadly bombing in Kabul. The Conversation. April 24.

This piece was written in Kabul in the wake of a recent explosion that took the lives of dozens of people at a voter registration centre.  The author reflects on the experience of Afghans with increasing levels of insecurity, on the palpable fear and the related decision-making in response to uncertainty that people there grapple with. It is available here:

Digital and social media

Apps for refugees suffering psychological trauma and depression.

A German refugee support organization named Center Überleben has developed two separate online apps for smartphones to help migrants living with psychological symptoms of stress. The online mobile therapy service is available in Farsi, English and Arabic. More information is available here:

Video: Barbara Jackman on refugee rights in Canada – Reflections on the 1985 Singh Decision

Barbara Jackman’s 2010 lecture provides an excellent overview the importance of the Supreme Court’s 1985 Singh decision on refugees and Canada’s refugee determination system. The Supreme Court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights of refugees and refugee claimants and that refugee determination must respect the principles of fundamental justice. Since this decision, refugee claimants in Canada are entitled to an oral hearing before an independent decision maker, before the Immigration and Refugee Board. Video available here:

Graphic Novel: Telling Our Stories – Immigrant Women’s Resilience.

This publication is part of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)’s Prevention of Sexual Violence and Harassment Project. An integral part of the project is to provide education and training to community members and service providers on sexual violence. The graphic novel was created through a series of creative writing workshops with immigrant and refugee women who came together to learn, share and compile the stories it contains. It is available here:

April 25, 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. 41

Recent Publications and New Research

New Book: Ibrahim, Yasmin, and Anita Howarth (2018). Calais and its Border Politics: From Control to Demolition. Routledge.

This book encapsulates the border politics of Calais as an entry port through the refugee settlements known as the ‘Jungle’. By deconstructing how the jungle is a constant threat to the civilisation and sanity of Calais, the book traces the story of the jungle, both its revival and destruction as a recurrent narrative through the context of border politics. The book approaches Calais historically and through the key concept of the camp or the ‘jungle’, a metaphor that becomes crucial to the inhuman approach to the settlement and in the justifications to destroy it continuously. The demolition and rebuilding of Calais also emphasises the denigration of humanity in the border sites. Available at:

Demurtas, Pietro, et al. (2018). In Search of Protection: Unaccompanied Minors in Italy

This paper examines the issue of unaccompanied minors arriving in Italy and how Italy has responded to their need for protection. It starts with a statistical overview of unaccompanied minors in Italy between 2014 and 2017. Second, it addresses why unaccompanied minors leave their countries of origin and how they transit to Italy and elsewhere. This section highlights the role of families in the decision to migrate and the migration process. The third section covers Italian reception policies and policymaking challenges, with a particular focus on implementation of Italy’s System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. Section 4, offers a psychosocial analysis of the phenomenon of unaccompanied child migration. It describes strategies to build the competencies, sense of agency, and resilience of unaccompanied minors. The final section details the demands and requirements of acting in the “best interests” of unaccompanied minors. Available at:

Dinas, E., & Fouka, V. (2018). Family history and attitudes toward outgroups: Evidence from the Syrian refugee crisis

This piece explores how analogous thinking about family history affects outgroup bias. It provides evidence from Greece, a country that serves as an entry port to Europe for a large number of refugees, and whose native population partly consists of descendants of ethnic Greeks that were forcibly relocated from Turkey in the early 20th century. Combining historical and survey data with an experimental manipulation, it shows that mentioning the parallels between past and present forced displacement leads to substantial increases in monetary donations and attitudinal measures of sympathy for refugees among respondents with forcibly displaced ancestors. This effect is also found among Greeks without a family history of forced migration, but only in places with a large historical concentration of Greek refugees from Turkey, where this historical experience is salient. Overall, the findings suggest that harnessing past experience can be an effective way of increasing empathy and reducing outgroup discrimination. Available at:

Schwerdtle, P., Bowen, K., & McMichael, C. (2018). The health impacts of climate-related migration. BMC medicine16(1), 1.

This paper examines the links between climate change, migration, and health, considering diverse migration responses, including immobility, forced displacement and planned migration, as well as the associated health risks and opportunities in different contexts. Using case studies, the paper illustrates strategies to reduce the health risks associated with climate change-related migration. While there is an increasing body of research examining the climate change–migration nexus, a dual approach is now required. This approach must include debate and further research regarding the health consequences and responses associated with climate migration as well as immediate strengthening of health systems to make them both climate resilient and migrant inclusive. Available at:

Reports, working papers and briefs

Issue paper: When People flee: Rule of Law and forced migration, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative Issue Paper by Paula Rudnicka and Elizabeth Ferris

This issue paper explores the complex relationship between the rule of law and forced migration. It highlights the ways in which rule of law development can strengthen—and potentially transform—the response to the global displacement crisis. The paper begins by examining what the rule of law is and why it is important in the context of forced migration. It subsequently identifies four broad rule of law approaches to forced migration that can be applied in countries of origin, transit, and destination: building just legal systems, promoting good governance, strengthening accountability mechanisms, and ensuring empowered protection. Each approach maps concrete entry points for rule of law programming and includes a series of case studies illustrating a wide range of rule of law interventions in the context of displacement. The paper ends with a set of recommendations aimed at shaping a holistic, people-centered, and gender-sensitive rule of law response to forced migration. Available at:

Thematic series: UnSettlement: Urban displacement in the 21st century: City of challenge and opportunity Employment and livelihoods for internally displaced people in Maiduguri, Borno State (Internal Displacement Monitoring Center and Norwegian Refugee Council)

This thematic series explores the scale, nature and dynamics of internal displacement in towns and cities across the world. In this report, as IDPs who continue to settle in Maiduguri, Nigeria, their access to employment is a key issue for stakeholders in the region. Given job opportunities, they are able to integrate into the socioeconomic framework of their new homes, reduce their dependency on government and humanitarian aid, and contribute to the local economy. This case study examines that process and considers the opportunities and challenges displaced men and women encounter in securing employment. The goal was to understand how IDPs achieve durable solutions through economic integration in an urban centre during an active crisis, and how the private sector, government and the international community can support them in doing so. Available at:

Report: “Death would have been better”: Europe continues to fail refugees and migrants in Libya by Izza Leghtas, Refugee international

This Refugees International report describes the harrowing experiences of people detained in Libya’s notoriously abusive immigration detention system where they are exposed to appalling conditions and grave human rights violations, including arbitrary detention and physical and sexual abuse. The report is based on February 2018 interviews conducted with asylum seekers and refugees who had been evacuated by UNHCR from detention centers in Libya to Niamey, Niger, where these men, women, and children await resettlement to a third country. The report shows that as the EU mobilizes considerable resources and efforts to stop the migration route through Libya, asylum seekers, refugees and migrants continue to face horrendous abuses in Libya – and for those who attempt it, an even deadlier sea crossing to Italy. Available at:

News reports and blog reports

Rush to house record number of Venezuelan refugees as rainy season looms in Brazil’s north by Karla Mendes

Brazilian authorities and aid groups are rushing to help tens of thousands of Venezuelans find shelter before the start of the rainy season in Brazil’s Roraima state this month, reports Reuters. The federal government announced on Wednesday that it would build five additional shelters in Boa Vista, the state capital, and another in the border town of Pacaraima. Meanwhile, a UNHCR-supported information centre opened in Boa Visa on Friday to inform new arrivals about how to apply for refugee status, direct them to shelters and help them access health services. Available at: 

Canadians see welcoming refugees as our top international contribution, survey finds by Francesca Fionda

The 2018 Canada’s World Survey, conducted by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, is an update to a survey they first conducted in 2008. It measures how Canadian attitudes have shifted and looks at issues that have emerged over the past decade. Despite major world events Canadians’ opinions have remained mostly consistent. A majority of Canadians continue to see Canada as an international role model with 86 per cent of respondents saying the country can have a positive impact on world affairs, both in 2008 and in 2018. 25% of respondents think the most important contribution the country can make to the world is accepting immigrants and multiculturalism, a shift from ten years ago when peacekeeping topped the list. Consequently, the survey estimates that two million adult Canadians were involved directly in the sponsorship of refugees, with another seven million who knew someone who did. In addition, a majority of those surveyed believe Canada should either increase the number of refugees accepted over the next two years or continue to accept the same number. 21% said we should increase the number and 41% said we should stay the same, while 30% believe the number of refugees accepted should be reduced. More available at:

Supporting the future of Syria and the region – Brussels conference, 24-25/04/2018

The EU and UN will chair the second conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’, which is taking place in Brussels on 24-25 April. The conference aims to mobilise humanitarian aid to Syrians inside the country and in the neighbouring countries, close the funding gap for Syrians and securing new pledges of humanitarian funding for Syrians. It also focuses on dialogue with NGOs from Syria and the region. More than 200 NGOs are participating and providing recommendations. Ahead of the conference, UNHCR issued a warning that its cash-assistance programme for 200,000 vulnerable refugee families in the region will come to stop in May unless additional resources are found to plug a US$270 million funding shortfall – part of a wider US$4.1 billion funding gap in the UN-led response plan for Syrian refugees in 2018. Last year’s Brussels conference generated pledges of $6 billion. Officials told Reuters that they hope to surpass that figure at this year’s conference, which is also being seen as an opportunity to revive efforts to find a political solution to the seven-year conflict. More at:


How swimming lessons change the lives of refugee children, By Philip Oltermann

The experience of crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe in overcrowded, flimsy boats is traumatic for many refugee children, particularly those who don’t know how to swim. Günter Schütte is a German swimming instructor who specializes in helping refugees overcome their fear of water. He also views swimming as a tool for integration. More at:

Tensions growing on the islands by Tania Georgiopoulou

At least 20 people were hospitalized after a group of Afghan asylum-seekers who had been holding a sit-in demonstration in the main square of Mytilene, capital of the Greek island of Lesvos, were attacked, reportedly by local members of a far-right group. The asylum-seekers had been protesting squalid living conditions and overcrowding at the island’s Moria camp and calling for their asylum claims to be processed on the mainland, since last Tuesday. Skirmishes between the two groups reportedly lasted throughout Sunday night until riot police dispersed the crowd early Monday morning and transported the asylum-seekers back to Moria. In a related development, the new head of the Greek Asylum Service, Markos Karavias, has reportedly signed an agreement that maintains the restriction on refugees and migrants arriving to the Greek islands from travelling on to the mainland. A court ruling last week had overturned a previous restriction on movement. More available at:

April 18, 2018: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 40

Recent Publications and New Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reports, working papers and briefs

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

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

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

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

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

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

News reports and blog posts

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

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

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

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

Deeply Talks: Facebook and the Smugglers, by Charlotte Alfred

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

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

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

April 11, 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. 39

Recent Publications and New Research

New book: Molloy, Michael J., Peter Duschinsky, Kurt F. Jensen, and Robert J. Shalka (2017). Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980. McGill-Queen’s Press

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos fell to communist forces in April 1975, creating a flood of refugees. This book focuses on the work of Canadian public servants in Southeast Asia and Canada to meet an unprecedented commitment to resettle tens of thousands of these refugees before the end of 1980.As the title indicates, by the end of 1980, after intense efforts selecting refugees from lonely Southeast Asian camps on tiny islands and in the depths of steaming jungles, welcoming them at reception centres in Montreal and Edmonton, matching them with sponsors and communities and sending them to small towns and big cities across Canada, public servants were exhausted, they were “running on empty.” The goal of this book is to record this great endeavour in the words of those who made it happen. For more information visit:

Pia Zambelli, (2018) “Paradigm Shift: Towards a New Model for Refugee Status Determination in Canada”, UBC law review

The alternative RSD model proposed in this article highlights the following: 1) a shift from a quasi-judicial decision making body towards a wholly-judicial one, similar to the Tax Court of Canada; 2) expansion of the protection grounds to include humanitarian considerations and other non-Convention related risks; 3) establishment of a system of reasonable timelines and 4) a new error correction mechanism that abolishes the Federal Court leave requirement and allows for a written appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal as of right. Available for purchase for $5 at:   

Crawley, H., & Skleparis, D. (2018). Refugees, migrants, neither, both: categorical fetishism and the politics of bounding in Europe’s ‘migration crisis’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44(1), 48-64.

The use of the categories ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’ has been used to justify policies of exclusion and containment. Drawing on interviews with 215 people who crossed the Mediterranean to Greece in 2015, this paper challenges this ‘categorical fetishism’, arguing that the dominant categories fail to capture adequately the complex relationship between political, social and economic drivers of migration or their shifting significance for individuals over time and space. It argues that those concerned about the use of categories to marginalise and exclude should explicitly engage with the politics of bounding, that is to say, the process by which categories are constructed, the purpose they serve and their consequences, in order to denaturalise their use as a mechanism to distinguish, divide and discriminate. Available at:

Sleiman, J., & Menon, M. (2018). The Changing of Arabic Terminology in Times of War and Displacement.

This paper traces the development and changes of the Arabic language through the journey of a Palestinian family as they find refuge in a variety of countries. Through different online resources and first-hand accounts from family members, this paper sheds light on the tribulations that the family has faced, and how these conflicts have influenced the way they speak Arabic to this day. Although the general Arabic spoken within the family is the same, there are underlying differences in the pronunciation of words. The specific goal of this paper is to show the impact of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the way this family speaks Arabic today in America. Available at:

Reports, working papers and briefs

Country detention report: Immigration Detention in Ireland: Will Better Detention Mean More Detention?, Global detention project

Ireland does not emphasize detention in its migration and asylum policies, nor does it face the same migratory pressures as some of its EU partners. Nevertheless, because the country fails to separate its few immigration detainees, who are placed in prisons, from people in criminal procedures, the country has faced significant international criticism. Officials have long-standing plans to open a dedicated immigration detention facility, but while such a move may bring the country into compliance with some international norms, it may also lead to more people being detained. The full report is available at:

Working paper: Locked Up in a Liberal State: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Parliamentary Debates on the Detention of Asylum-Seeking Children in the United Kingdom, by Naomi C. Whitbourn 

This paper analyses the rhetoric used within UK parliamentary debates on the detention of asylum-seeking children. Their detention exposes a paradox: this practice is a human rights violation, yet the UK claims to be a liberal democracy. The paper asks, why do these practices of detention persist and how do politicians justify this? Through analysing parliamentary debates since 1997, the paper ultimately argues that politicians have sought to disguise this human rights violation using a political rhetoric, which also acts to appease a series of competing interests and actors. The paper is available at:

Rights in exile policy paper: Movement Restricted: Congolese refugees in Angola, by the International refugee rights initiative (IRRI)

The rights in exile series brings together publications that focus on key issues on refugee policy and refugee rights. Between March and July 2017, close to 35,000 Congolese refugees fled atrocities in the Kasai region and sought safety in Angola. While the Angolan government has offered many safety alternatives from militia and army attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), its treatment of those who have fled is troubling. Based on interviews with 45 Congolese refugees in Lunda Norte province in Angola, the report describes how unregistered refugees in Angola are living with serious restrictions on their freedom of movement, the ongoing threat of premature return and the risk of harassment, corruption and arbitrary detention. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

Dozens killed in apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria, rescue workers say, by Louisa Loveluck and Erin Cunningham

Over the past month, more than 130,000 Syrians have left Eastern Ghouta through evacuation deals between rebels and government forces. But nearly 150,000 people remain in Douma, where OCHA says the situation is severe and food is in short supply. Since Friday, attacks on Douma have intensified, with scores of people reportedly killed. On Sunday, dozens of people there apparently suffocated after a suspected chemical attack. The spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was “particularly alarmed by allegations that chemical weapons have been used against civilian populations in Douma”. Available at:–rescue-workers/2018/04/08/231bba18-3ac0-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html  

Israel’s African migrants in limbo after Netanyahu reversal, By Tia Goldenberg

Netanyahu’s decision to cancel an agreement with UNHCR to resettle 16,000 Eritreans and Sudanese to Western countries and allow thousands of others to remain in the country has left the fate of the country’s 39,000 asylum-seekers in limbo once again. Some of those affected protested outside the Prime Minister’s office in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. UNHCR said that the deal, which had been negotiated “over an extended period”, represented a “win-win” for both Israel and the asylum-seekers. Available at:

Secret world: The women in the UK who cannot report sexual abuse, by Megha Mohan

Having fled sexual abuse in their home countries, many asylum-seeking women are highly vulnerable to more abuse and exploitation after they reach the UK. Fear of deportation means they rarely report it, but the #MeToo movement has led some women to start sharing their stories. The BBC met Grace, a West African woman who fled an abusive marriage to London where poverty and the lack of a legal status made her vulnerable to more abuse. Marchu Girma of London-based NGO, Women for Refugee Women, told the BBC that even women who have applied for asylum are often unsure of their rights and may avoid approaching the police. Available at: 

Viktor Orbán: re-election of Hungary’s anti-immigrant leader is major challenge for EU by Jennifer Rankin 

Viktor Orbán has won a third consecutive term as Hungary’s Prime Minister. Orbán ran a campaign largely focused on the threat posed by migration. Under his leadership, Hungary has built a fence along the southern border to keep out foreigners. Likeminded politicians elsewhere in Europe, notably in neighbouring Austria and in the German state of Bavaria, have endorsed Orbán’s approach on migration. available at:

Digital and social media

Toolkit for Optimizing Cash-based Interventions for Protection from Gender-based Violence

This toolkit assists practitioners in collecting the requisite situational protection information on risks for affected populations with an age, gender, and diversity (AGD) lens, identifying community-based or self-protection mechanisms, informing tailored and protective cash-based interventions, and preparing a monitoring system that is based on identified protection risks. More available at:

Photo essay: After Afrin: No Safe Haven Scenes from a week with civilians displaced by the battle for the Syrian-Kurdish enclave by Afshin Ismaeli

The UN estimates that 137,000 people fled a military operation to claim the city of Afrin and the surrounding area last month. In late March, photojournalist Afshin Ismaeli spent a week with some of the displaced families sleeping rough or in half-destroyed houses in Tel Rifaat and nearby villages. In this photo essay for IRIN, its clear that while they may have escaped the fighting, they are now faced with new dangers including hunger, sickness and the improvised explosive devices that litter the buildings where they are sheltering. Available at: 

March 28, 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. 38

Recent Publications and New Research

Steinhilper, E., & Gruijters, R. J. (2018). A contested crisis: policy narratives and empirical evidence on border deaths in the Mediterranean.

This study contributes to the understanding of border deaths in the Mediterranean region in three ways: it describes and evaluates the most recent data sources on migration and mortality; it provides a descriptive statistical analysis of absolute and relative mortality risks between 2010 and 2016; and it assesses the relationship between European border policy and border deaths. the findings challenge the dominant deterrence-oriented policy narrative and highlight the failure of European authorities to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Available at:

Morales, J. S. (2018). The impact of internal displacement on destination communities: Evidence from the Colombian conflict. Journal of Development Economics131, 132-150.

More than ten percent of the population of Colombia has been forced to migrate due to civil war. This study aims to estimate the impact that the arrival of displaced individuals has on local residents. It compares the effects on four different subgroups of the population, partitioned by skill (low-skilled versus high-skilled) and by gender. The analysis suggests that a conflict-induced increase in population leads to a short-run negative impact on wages. Though the impact tends to dissipate over time, it persists for one group, low-skilled women. The arrival of internally displaced people also affects local access to public goods. An open access version is available at:

Renner, W., Thomas, A., Mikulajová, M., & Newman, D. (2018). Threat Perception and Modern Racism as Possible Predictors of Attitudes towards Asylum Seekers: Comparative Findings from Austria, Germany, and Slovakia. International Journal of Business and Social Research7(12), 10-22.

This study intends to take a first step towards filling the research gap which resulted from recent demographic changes in the European Union as a consequence of forced migration from the Middle East. It has found that perceived cultural threat is the most powerful predictor of individual differences in the autochthon population’s attitudes towards forced migration. In comparison, perceived economic threat as well as racist attitudes contributes to the prediction to a clearly lesser extent. When trying to find out what makes people prone to perceived cultural threat, contrary to expectations, life satisfaction had only a small– though statistically significant– impact on anxious expectations or racist attitudes at the individual level and optimism has been found to have no predictive power at all. Available at:

Forced Dispersion: A Demographic Report on Human Status in Syria by Rabbie Nasser and others

This report diagnoses the population question in Syria before and during the crisis, by means of a rights-based participatory methodology. This diagnosis has involved a recalculation of some of the significant demographic indicators for the period prior to the crisis, including birth, mortality, and fertility rates, with one result being that population issues have been re-read from a different perspective. To overcome the lack of theoretical and applied studies and research during the crisis, this report used the results of a field multi-purpose survey. If you would like to support this research and receive a paperback, the book is priced at $16. In the interest of encouraging the free dissemination of this important information, this book is FREE in PDF form .

Reports, working papers and briefs

Report: The US Undocumented Population Fell Sharply During the Obama Era: Estimates for 2016, by Robert Warren, Center for Migration Studies

This report shows estimates of the undocumented population residing in the United States in 2016, by country of origin and state of residence. It shows the continued decline in the population from most countries and in most states since 2010. Major findings include the following: The undocumented population was 10.8 million in 2016, the lowest level since 2003; The number of US undocumented residents from Mexico fell by almost one million between 2010 and 2016; Population decline from Mexico in 2015 and 2016 was consistent with previous years. The Average annual undocumented population growth dropped from 15 percent in the 1990s to about 4 percent in 2000 to 2010. Since 2010, the numbers from most countries have declined. Available at:

Field report: Political Pressure to Return: putting northeast Nigeria’s displaced citizens at risk, by Alexandra Lamarche and Mark Yarnell, Refugee International

In January 2018, Refugee International (RI) conducted a mission to Nigeria to assess both the viability of the return plan of Nigerian IDPs and the wider humanitarian response. The RI team traveled to Abuja, Maiduguri, and Bama, and it interviewed a wide range of IDPs, returnees, international aid officials, and representatives of the Nigerian government and military. The team found that the overall conditions in Bama town are not conducive to sustainable returns at this time, especially on a large scale. Services for returnees are lacking, and the security situation is uncertain. However, political pressure for returns to continue is likely to increase with the approach of the 2019 national elections.  RI believes that the Nigerian government should refrain from carrying out large-scale organized returns to Bama and other LGAs until conditions are conducive to safe and dignified returns. Doing so prematurely would put lives at risk. RI is also concerned that large-scale return programs promoted by the government under current circumstances will inevitably create the likelihood that returns will be less than voluntary. Available at:

Working paper: International Responsibility-Sharing for Refugees by Susan F. Martin, Rochelle Davis, Grace Benton and Zoya Waliany (March 2018)

The KNOMAD Working Paper Series disseminates work in progress under the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD). The aim is to create and synthesize multidisciplinary knowledge and evidence; generate a menu of policy options for migration policy makers; and provide technical assistance and capacity building for pilot projects, evaluation of policies, and data collection. This working paper argues for a holistic approach to responsibility-sharing that enhances the protection of refugees as well as policy responses that address the needs of host communities. It focuses on several areas of responsibility-sharing, including efforts to address the underlying causes of displacement within and across borders; efforts to find solutions, including resettlement of refugees from host countries to third countries; and others. The paper examines these issues from the perspective of host country governments, other host country stakeholders, donor governments, service providers, and, most importantly, the refugees and internally displaced persons themselves. The paper includes a case study of attitudes toward responsibility-sharing among these actors in the Middle East and North Africa, where millions of refugees and internally displaced persons are located. It concludes with recommendations to enhance responsibility-sharing as well as mechanisms to alleviate the costs to host communities and broaden the benefits to refugees and hosts alike. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

Why Are Syrian Refugees Returning to Their Homes? By Inside Syria Media Center

Even though it may seem like a positive development, a study by Durable Solutions Platform (DSP), found that these returns are due to unsafe, precarious living conditions in exile, especially in neighboring countries. The report also discusses the counter argument where some Syrian experts claim this might be a sign that the situation in Syria has in fact improved. To access copy and paste the following link:

Australians demand end to Manus Island and Nauru refugee centres by John Power

Under strict border control policies, asylum seekers who arrive by boat to Australia are sent to processing centres that the Australian government manages in the Pacific and permanently bans them from settling in Australia. Many have been waiting for a country to resettle in for years. Thousands took part in rallies in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth among other cities to call on the Liberal Party-led government to allow refugees under its care on Manus Island and Nauru to come to Australia. Available at:

UNICEF predicts fresh outbreak of deadly cholera in Yemen by Patrick Wintour

On the third anniversary of Yemen’s conflict, aid agencies are warning that children’s health, safety and education are at more risk than ever as the country’s humanitarian crisis deepens. More than 5,000 children have been killed or injured by the fighting, but famine and disease pose an even greater threat. UNICEF’s Middle East Director Geert Cappelaere said one Yemeni child was dying every 10 minutes from preventable disease and that, with the rainy season due to start in a few weeks, cholera was likely to make a comeback. He added that months had been wasted negotiating with authorities for permission to begin a cholera vaccination campaign. He also highlighted Yemen’s education crisis, noting that nearly 2 million children are out of school, half a million more than before the conflict. Available at:  

‘Sense of duty’ sees Somali refugees head home, by Tracey McVeigh

Somalis who have spent decades in exile are returning with skills in engineering, medicine, building and other fields. Younger generations, who grew up in Canada, the UK or the US, see Somalia’s fragile peace as an opportunity to put their education to use and to learn about their culture. The Guardian reports that even those who don’t return are making important contributions to Somalia’s economy with the diaspora funding construction of hospitals and other infrastructure. Available at:–head-home-sense-of-duty-rebuild-country

Eritrea’s new normal: The tragedy and the struggle for change, by Meron Estefanos

Journalist and activist, Meron Estefanos, explains how years of exposure to abuses in countries such as Sudan, Egypt and Israel have desensitised Eritreans even to the horrors of slavery in Libya. The threat of being kidnapped and sold has not prevented young Eritreans from continuing to flee indefinite military conscription and human rights abuses in their country. Available at:

Digital and social media

In Pictures: Refugees find new roots through the power of gardening by Caroline Briggs

After escaping the horrors of war and persecution in countries like Syria, Iran and Eritrea, refugees and asylum seekers are using the healing power of gardening in Tyneside. Check the pictures at:

March 21, 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. 37

Recent Publications and New Research

Chizuru Nobe Ghelani (2012) Annotated bibliography Compiled for the Cluster on Methodology and the Knowledge Production in Forced Migration Contexts. References updated by Amélie Cossette (2018)

As part of the RRN-funded Cluster on Methodology in Forced Migration Contexts, in 2012, Chizuru Nobe Ghelani compiled an annotated bibliography of published, scholarly literature in English that specifically addressed methodological issues in forced migration. Amélie Cossette has now updated this bibliography and included some French-language references. Available at:

Mechili, E. A., et al (2018). Compassionate care provision: an immense need during the refugee crisis: lessons learned from a European capacity-building project. Journal of Compassionate Health Care, 5(1), 2.

The overall aim of the European Refugees-Human Movement and Advisory Network (EUR-HUMAN) project was to provide good and affordable, comprehensive, person-centred, integrated and compassionate care for all ages and all ailments, taking into account the transcultural settings and the needs, wishes and expectations of the newly arriving refugees. This paper reports on findings to help establish what the nature of compassionate care for refugees consists of and implies and how its implementation could be promoted across European countries and healthcare settings. Notably, linguistic and cultural barriers exacerbate the effect of the lack of compassion, especially where healthcare information and psychological support are urgently needed but an appropriate supportive framework is missing. Available at:

Vidal, M. (2018). Painting Walls and Sculpting Barbed Wire: Art in Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon (Master’s thesis).

the aim of this study is to highlight Palestinian forms of agency which resist constructions of the Palestinian refugee as a humanitarian subject disconnected from his political and historical context. Recognizing the criticism of researchers’ reduction of Palestinian refugees to victims and the increasing call for someone to write about the camps’ talents, this thesis focuses on Palestinian artistic creativity in Shatila, Burj al-Barajneh and Beddawi camps. The objective is to analyze the role of art in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. What is on the walls of refugee camps and what is the meaning of graffiti and paintings found there? What kind of claims is made on the walls? What does street art say about Palestinian identity in Lebanon? How are paintings and sculptures forms of reclaiming space and agency? How is Palestinian art in refugee camps a form of protest and resistance? Available at:

Ali, J. A., & Ocha, W. (2018). East Africa Refugee Crisis: Causes of Tensions and Conflicts between the Local Community and Refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. Journal of Social Science Studies, 5(1), 298.

The study investigates the refugee and host community conflicts in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. It classifies factors causing tension and conflicts between the refugees and the local community into four main categories; political and security, limited resources, social welfare and socio-cultural factors. It argues that three main outstanding points explain what causes tensions and conflicts; firstly, the host community feels refugees are more economically privileged because of the aid they get from refugee aid organizations. Secondly, the host community population has been outnumbered by the refugees’ population that has created fear and tension since the host can do less to stop refugees from doing anything harmful to them. Thirdly, competition as a result of the limited resources such as land, water and wood collection in the semi-arid area where the refugees and host community lives. The study recommends that in order to foster a better existence amongst the refugees and host community, refugees’ agencies should tailor their programs to development of both the host community and refugees. available at:

Rivillas, J. C., Rodriguez, R. D., Song, G., & Martel, A. (2018). How do we reach the girls and women who are the hardest to reach? Inequitable opportunities in reproductive and maternal health care services in armed conflict and forced displacement settings in Colombia. PloS one, 13(1), e0188654.

This paper assesses inequalities in access to reproductive and maternal health services among females affected by forced displacement and sexual and gender-based violence in conflict settings in Colombia. First, the paper assesses the gaps and gradients in three selected reproductive and maternal health care services. Second, it analyzes the patterns of inequalities in reproductive and maternal health care services and changes over time. And finally, it identifies challenges and strategies for reaching girls and women who are the hardest to reach in conflict settings, in order to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and to contribute to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of good health and well-being and gender equality by 2030. Available at:

Reports, working papers and briefs

Country report: Immigration Detention in Norway: Fewer Asylum Seekers but More Deportees

While asylum applications are decreasing in Norway, the number of deportations is rising, and authorities have increased the country’s detention capacity. Since 2012, when amendments to the Immigration Act were introduced extending the list of grounds for detention, detention has increasingly been used in order to make return policies more efficient. Norway also continues to operate its sole detention centre in a militarised fashion. Scene to several riots and attempted suicides, the facility is run by uniformed police and has a prison-like regime that has included intrusive body searches and the use of security cells and solitary confinement. Rights observers have expressed concern that the centre’s excessive control and security measures are detrimental to detainees’ wellbeing. Available at:

Snapshot Survey: An Insight into the Daily Lives of the Rohingya in Unchiprang & Shamlapur

Xchange was established to investigate and document human movement in countries of origin, transit, and destination through on-the-ground engagement with all stakeholders, most of all migrants themselves, with a view to provide policy makers, State bodies, non-governmental organisations, and the public in general with accurate data which stems directly from field research.  The main objective is to advocate for better knowledge of migration through freely available data visualisation and analysis, as well as in-depth research and reports. Xchange data is the summary of thousands of individual journeys. This situational report, conducted in partnership with MOAS, was intended to shed light on the daily lives and struggles of both recently arrived Rohingya refugees and longer-term refugee residents, all of whom were beneficiaries of MOAS Aid Station services.  In doing so, the survey/report sought to uncover livelihood, protection and security issues within the camps. Available at:

Working paper: From market integration to core state powers: the Eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis and integration theory, by Philipp Genschel and Markus Jachtenfuchs, Robert Schuman, Centre for Advanced Studies

The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) aims to develop inter-disciplinary and comparative research and to promote work on the major issues facing the process of integration and European society. This report addresses the Eurozone crisis and the refugee crisis as examples of problems associated with the EU’s shift from market integration to the integration of core state powers. The integration of core state powers responds to similar functional demand factors as market integration (interdependence, externalities and spill-over) but its supply is more tightly constrained by a high propensity for zero-sum conflict, a functional requirement for centralized fiscal, coercive and administrative capacities, and high political salience. The paper shows how these constraints structured the initial design of EMU and Schengen, made them vulnerable to crisis, and shaped policy options during the crises: they made horizontal differentiation unattractive, re-regulation ineffective, centralized risk and burden sharing unfeasible and the externalization of adjustment burden to non-EU actors necessary by default. The paper might appeal more to specialized readers and is available at:

News reports and blog posts

How to overcome religious prejudice among refugees by Kat Eghdamian

There has been much attention across Europe on the religious intolerance and prejudices held by far-right political parties and other groups towards refugees. But religious prejudice is also a feature and challenge of relations between refugees – and this must be better understood if it is to be overcome. This article sheds light on this issue. Available at:

Interview for ‘Notes from the Field’: Petra Molnar, by Alessia Avola

CARFMS have launched a new initiative called Notes from the Field. Each Note is based on a conversation between an undergraduate student finishing their degree or a postgraduate student starting off their degree, and a more established researcher in refugee and forced migration studies. The unifying thread connecting them is a focus on recent developments in research, law, policy, and approaches within Canada to issues of asylum, borders, and immigration. The example here focuses on how to navigate fieldwork ethically, the roles of different actors in shaping critical discourses, and the challenges facing refugees and their advocates today. Available at:

Chad: Funding shortfall threatens Central African refugees

Some 22,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) have fled to southern Chad since late last year. UNHCR warns that a funding shortage is hindering the response from humanitarian agencies, leaving many of the refugees and their host communities without sufficient food, shelter and access to healthcare. A number of refugees who have attempted to go back to CAR to gather food have been killed and many are now subsisting on leaves and wild fruit, which can be toxic. With malnutrition levels already high, especially among children, there is an urgent need to increase food distributions. More available at:

Canada struggles as it opens its arms to victims of ISIS, By Catherine Porter

Through a special refugee program, Canada has welcomed 1,200 Yazidis, members of a religious minority from Northern Iraq that were targeted by ISIS in 2014. This piece reports that Canada’s resettlement agencies are struggling to help the Yazidis, most of them women and children, recover from their extreme trauma. In some places, efforts to help the refugees seem to be working. In others, they are stumbling. Available at:

They are our salvation’: the Sicilian town revived by refugees by Lorenzon Tondo

On a more optimistic note the Guardian reports from Sutera, the Sicilian town that has reversed the rapid decline in its population by taking in dozens of asylum-seekers since 2014. The new arrivals have revived the local school and prevented local businesses from closing down. Sutera has become a symbol of integration and its model is now being emulated by other Sicilian municipalities at risk of disappear. Available at:

Digital and social media

Two inspiring women, Veeca Smith Uka and Florence Kahuro, are offering support and safety for asylum-seekers in the town of Halifax.

For those looking for inspiration as well as refugee role models view video at:

The true story of smuggling out of Syria, by Dr Luigi Achilli

Much has been written and said about the plight of Syrian migrants. But who are those behind their journeys? Luigi Achilli, Marie Curie Fellow from the Global Governance Programme explains in this pod cast. Available at:

March 14, 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. 36

Recent Publications and New Research

Kahn, L., & Fábos, A. H. (2017). Witnessing and Disrupting: The Ethics of Working with Testimony for Refugee Advocacy. Journal of Human Rights Practice9(3), 526-533.

While advocacy on behalf of forcibly displaced people often demonstrates the best of intentions, many human rights advocates grapple unsuccessfully with the power differentials at all stages of the process. Using techniques derived from drama and experiential learning, the authors of this note learned to recognize narrative strategies and ethical dilemmas inherent in sharing, choosing, and representing the difficult subject matter produced by many refugees and forced migrants. Drawing from the results of a series of workshops provided to a mixed group of refugee service professionals, community leaders, journalists, artists, and academics, this note reflects upon the use of these practices as a way to encourage empathetic listening and develop strategies of narrative disruption for refugee advocacy. Available at:

Robinson, C. (forthcoming) Making migration knowable and governable: Benchmarking practices as technologies of global migration governance

This article theorizes global migration governance as a governing technology that constitutes migration as an object of global governance. The article uses the illustrative example of the International Organization for Migration’s Migration Governance Index to make the case for a material-semiotic account of global migration governance more concrete.  Overall, the article seeks to examine and enhance the contribution practice-theoretical approaches make to the analysis of global governance. Available for members at:

Graziano Battistella, Return Migration: A Conceptual and Policy Framework, Scalabrini Migration Center

The paper offers a conceptual framework for analyzing return migration, both forced and voluntary, and developing appropriate policies to ensure that human rights are protected through the process. It identifies a continuum of types of return based on the time of return and the decision to return. These are: “return of achievement,” “return of completion,” “return of setback,” and “return of crisis (forced return).” The paper recommends particular return and reintegration policies which would benefit migrants and their communities of origin. It urges the member states negotiating the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration to not treat return as “an act that simply concludes migration,” but one that requires effective policies to protect and ensure the well-being of migrants, to facilitate their reintegration, and to maximize their contributions. Available at:

Reports, working papers and briefs

 Akgündüz, Y. E., van den Berg, M., & Hassink, W. (2018). The impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on firm entry and performance in Turkey. Policy research working paper, The World Bank Economic Review.

This report analyses how the Syrian refugee inflows into Turkey affected firm entry and performance. The results suggest that hosting refugees is favourable for firms. Total firm entry does not seem to be significantly affected. However, there is a substantial increase in the number of new foreign-owned firms. In line with the increase in new foreign-owned firms, there is some indication of growth in gross profits and net sales. Available at:

Country detention report: Immigration Detention in Lebanon: Deprivation of Liberty at the Borders of Global Conflict, Global detention Project

The Global Detention Project (GDP) is a non-profit research centre based in Geneva, Switzerland, that investigates the use of detention in response to global migration. This country detention report focuses on Lebanon, a country faced with extremely complex regional mobility dynamics and buffeted by the competing strategic goals of numerous global powers involved in the war in neighbouring Syria. Lebanon has adopted an increasingly restrictive regime for controlling the movement of migrants and refugees. Vulnerable to arrest and detention, non-citizens are regularly charged with violations of Lebanese law on account of their legal status. Although the country recently replaced a controversial dedicated immigration detention centre located in a former parking lot under a highway, rights observers continue to express concern at the conditions in which detainees are kept. Detainees are forced into overcrowded prisons with insufficient food, medical treatment, and legal aid, and harsh migrant labour laws have resulted in Lebanon-born children being detained and deported with their parents who had worked as domestic labourers. More available at:

News reports and blog posts

Neighbor nations can’t bear costs of Venezuelan refugee crisis alone by Dany Bahar and Sebastian Strauss

The ongoing massive exodus of Venezuelans into neighboring Colombia and other South American countries has the potential to become the largest refugee crisis since the eruption of the Syrian civil war. More available at:

‘All these flashbacks come’: Rohingya’s teens speak out on Myanmar brutality

Action Against Hunger, Médecins Sans Frontières and Save the Children are among more than 10 NGOs and aid agencies now providing mental health support to refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Their efforts, supported by the Bangladeshi government, have so far enabled almost 350,000 people to receive counselling. But men are less likely than women to put themselves forward for help. More available at:

Niger: humanitarian needs increase as migrants and refugees flock to Agadez

Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers trapped in Agadez—having failed to make it to Europe, via north Africa and across the Mediterranean Sea. In their attempt to reach Europe, most fell prey to smugglers and became victims of extortion of money, torture, abuse, prison, rape and slavery. For years, Agadez has been the transit point for migrants hoping to make their way to Europe through Libya. However, since the implementation of a law in 2016 in Niger criminalizing transport of migrants, the crossing of the Sahara Desert has become difficult. More available at:

Why climate migrants do not have refugee status?

Experts worry that adding climate refugees to international law would reduce protections for existing refugees. The article argues that if the UNHCR broadens its definition of “refugee” to support an entirely new category, it is unclear if the political appetite exists to provide the necessary funding. Available at:

Digital and Social Media

 Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Project

This is a free, online training with capacity-building resource for settlement, social and health service providers. Building on the existing work with immigrants and refugees, the partaker will be able to: strengthen their knowledge; develop their skills; and build their networks. Growing from the success of the Refugee Mental Health Project, which trained over 6,000 service providers across Canada, the project has expanded to give evidence-based learning experience with practical activities, where the partaker can learn skills that they would use on the job. To learn more, check out the introductory video here and explore the project at:

MOAS Podcast: Rohingya Migrants Prepare for Extreme Weather

In a few short weeks, the cyclone and monsoon seasons will hit Bangladesh bringing with them wind speeds of up to 100 kilometres and almost two metres in rainfall in some places. This podcast explores what’s going on the ground, why this year could be deadly and how the aid agencies are preparing for a multitude of emergencies. Joins the dicussion are Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Dave Petley and WASH Officer for UNHCR, Emmett Kearney. Listen to the Podcast here: