Category Archives: Blogs

July 8, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 90

Recent Publications and New Research

Winders, J. (ed.) (June, 2020). Migrant Mobility, Aspirations, and Life Chances, International Migration Review, 54(2). This edition is thematically sorted into three sections. The first section has articles about migrant mobility, aspirations and life chances. The second section discusses racism, discrimination and social status. The third section is about migration, public opinion, and political participation. Lastly, this edition includes twelve book reviews which are free to access. (Open access) Read here.

Climate crisis and local communities/ Trafficking and smuggling (June, 2020), Forced Migration Review, Issue 64, Refugee Studies Centre. This issue includes two main feature themes, one on Climate crisis and local communities and one on Trafficking and smuggling, plus a ‘mini-feature’ on early reflections on COVID-19 focusing on the role of refugee-led organisations and the need for data to inform responses. (Open access) Read here.

Caqueo-Urízar, A., Urzúa, A., Aragón-Caqueo, D., Charles, C. H., El-Khatib, Z., Otu, A., & Yaya, S. (2020). Mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Against the backdrop of high levels of alcohol/substance abuse, mental health disorders, and inequalities across Chile, it is likely that levels of stress and anxiety will peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors discuss initiatives to safeguard mental health and specifically address the situation of asylum seekers and temporary foreign workers. (Open access) Read here.

Labman, S., Crossing Law’s Border: Canada’s Refugee Resettlement Program. UBC
The author explores how rights, responsibilities, and obligations intersect in the absence of a legal scheme for refugee resettlement. She asks: How does law influence the voluntary act of resettlement, and how does resettlement affect asylum policy? She reveals that the core concept of refugee protection, non-refoulement, which prevents countries from turning away asylum-seekers, can be compromised by resettlement, both by the resettlement selection process and the influence of resettlement practices on in-country asylum. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Listening to displacement-affected communities over time: Understanding intentions and aspirations in support of durable solutions 2019 (July 3, 2020) ReDSS, in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives. The report examines the multiple dimensions of vulnerabilities and sense of belonging among Internally displaced persons in Somalia focusing on displacement trends, access to jobs, safety and security, social integration, housing land property and forced evictions. The analysis compares different groups of internally displaced persons as well as host and non-host communities in urban areas. The objective is to get a more comprehensive picture of displacement-related issues and dynamics to inform area-based durable solutions programing, complementing existing data and analyses. Read here.

Making a Difference for Women and Girls? East and Horn of Africa countries and women’s and girls’ rights at the UN Human Rights Council (June 25, 2020) Defend Defenders. This report examines to what extent, and how, the 11 States of the East and Horn of Africa contribute to the advancement of the rights of women and girls at the United Nations. The aim is to make knowledge about States’ behaviour at the UN Human Rights Council available to civil society partners, observers and the general public, in order to contribute to citizen engagement with governments of the sub-region, enhance scrutiny, and further efforts towards the realisation of women’s and girls’ rights. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

COVID-19 brings students back to Himalayan villages with public health messages by Adrian Ashraf Khan (June 25, 2020), The Conversation. This article provides a snapshot of journeys of young migrants originally displaced from their villages during Nepal’s Civil War (1996-2006), and their return visits to engage with several important social issues that affect people’s survival and quality of life. This author briefly explores conditions of rural education, students as teachers, the preserving of Indigenous Himalayan culture, and young migrants insights into what they feel is needed for increased social development in the Himalayas. Read here.

Refugee-led Responses to Covid-19: A case study from Uganda by Patrick Chandiga Justine (July 6, 2020) Rethinking Refuge. Despite the huge needs created by the outbreak of COVID-19, there is a lack of assistance to refugees to address the pandemic. Refugee-led organizations are at the front line of COVID-19 responses. Ugandan refugee-led organization CECI presents its lessons for health awareness campaigns and makes recommendations to governments, international organizations and donors to improve their support to refugees. Read here.

Challenges to Refugee Protection in the Time of COVID-19 by Liliana Lyra Jubilut (June 25, 2020) Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. Amid the pandemic there are new challenges deriving from the “geographies of migration”, based on the places to and from which people move, as well as challenges relating to the “subjects of migration”, namely, refugees and the people involved in refugee protection. The author argues that all of these challenges need to be diagnosed in order to be addressed and ensure integral protection for refugees. Read here.

COVID-19 at the Brazil-Venezuela borders: the good, the bad and the ugly by Lilliana Lyra Jubilut and João Carlos Jarochinski Silva (June 18, 2020) Open Democracy. An already difficult situation for refugees in terms of integration and health can become an explosive humanitarian tragedy. The authors review pre-existing issues such as a saturated health system and lack of employment and the additional burdens created by COVID-19. They conclude that integration (including health) in Roraima needs to be thought beyond borders. International Refugee Law and human rights must be considered so that the needs of refugees and other forced migrants are adequately addressed in regular times or during a pandemic. Read here.

Digital and social media

Webinar on July 9, 2020 03:00PM (Eastern Time): Refugees Giving Back to Their Communities during COVID and Beyond hosted by Refugees International, Refugee Congress, Veterans for American Ideals, and Human Rights First. This webinar will review the ways that refugees, asylees, and other vulnerable migrants contribute to our communities and ways to communicate about these critical contributions to build support for refugee protection. Register here.

June 25, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 89

Recent Publications and New Research

Bose, P. S. (2020). Refugees in New Destinations and Small Cities: Resettlement in Vermont. Palgrave MacMillan. No longer are refugees to be found only in major metropolitan areas and gateway cities; instead, they are arriving in small towns, rural areas, rustbelt cities, and suburbs. What happens to them in these new destinations and what happens to the places that receive them? Drawing on a decade’s worth of interviews, surveys, spatial analysis and community-based projects with key informants, Dr. Pablo Bose argues that the value of refugee newcomers to their new homes cannot be underestimated. More here (e-version is available now with purchase of a hardcopy).

Huddleston, T. (2020). Naturalisation in context: how nationality laws and procedures shape immigrants’ interest and ability to acquire nationality in six European countries. Comparative Migration Studies, 8(18). This article focuses on the interest and ability to acquire destination country nationality among non-EU-born adults in six European countries. The author explores how laws and procedures affect the interest of immigrants to acquire nationality and their ability to do so in practice. This article argues that both immigrants’ interest and ability to acquire nationality are largely driven by their context, but in very different ways, depending on their individual, origin and destination country characteristics. (Open access) Read here.

Foroutan, Y. (2020). Ethnic or Religious Identities?: Multicultural Analysis in Australia from Socio-Demographic Perspective. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 7(1), 1-19. Focusing on the data of ethnic and religious identities in a multiethnic and multicultural context, this paper provides research-based evidence to explain whether and how significantly such data could be reliable from a social and demographic perspective. This paper argues that considering ethnic migrants belonging to the same category of religious affiliation as a single group without taking their ethnic origins into account, will lead to insufficient, incomplete, and misleading knowledge. (Open access) Read here.

Zambelli, P. (2020). Knowing Persecution When We See It: Non-State Actors and the Measure of State Protection, International Journal of Refugee Law, 32(1), 28–53. This article attempts to forge a more accessible framework of analysis for non-State actor claims. The suggested framework restores the absence of ‘State protection’ to its traditional role within the refugee definition of the 1951 Refugee Convention – as one prong of a test for persecution, not a stand-alone criterion for refugeehood. More here.

Amuedo-Dorantes, C., Bansak, C., & Pozo, S. (2020). Refugee Admissions and Public Safety: Are Refugee Settlement Areas More Prone to Crime? International Migration ReviewThe perception that refugees may engage in criminal behaviour has served as fuel for closing the door to refugees in the United States and Europe. The authors exploit variation in the geographic and temporal distribution of refugee resettlements across counties to ascertain if their presence can be linked to greater local violence in the case of the United States. The results fail to show any statistically significant evidence of refugee resettlements raising local arrest or offense rates. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

 Continuing Welcome by Stephen Kaduuli (June 19, 2020) Citizens For Public Justice (CPJ). This report analyses the federal government’s efforts to address the refugee sponsorship challenges raised by sponsorship agreement holders in A Half Welcome, CPJ’s 2017 report. The top concerns among sponsorship agreement holders were long wait times and backlogs, allocation limits, and travel loan repayments. This report tracks the progress while also addressing new issues such as additionality in sponsorship, SAH-government communication, family reunification, and program monitoring. Read here.

Mounting Hunger in the Sahel: The Unintended Impact of COVID-19 Prevention by Alexandra Lamarche (June 11, 2020), Refugees International. Measures such as community lockdowns may be effective in containing the virus but they have also brought economies to a standstill, disrupted food supply chains, and challenged humanitarian organizations in reaching populations in need. The restrictions are impacting communities that already relied on external assistance to survive, consequently leaving more people in need of humanitarian aid, including many who may be forced to leave their homes in search of food or other opportunities. The author concludes with specific recommendation to mitigate the consequences. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

Coronavirus: A window of opportunity for action on migration? By Eric Reidy (June 10, 2020). The New Humanitarian. Around the world, a number of local and national governments have responded to the virus by taking steps to protect the health and human rights of irregular migrants and asylum seekers as part of their overall efforts – although this inclusive approach is far from the norm. While positive measures have not been the predominant response, this article provides a glimpse of what can be possible beyond the pandemic. Read here.

Without safe migration, economic recovery will be limited by Antonio Vitorino (June 14, 2020), Al Jazeera. This article argues the economic recession will not only deeply affect migrants but also the global and regional patterns of mobility to which we have become accustomed. He claims that geographic proximity and trust will be more important than ever for states – with an emphasis on “local” travel – and there is a risk that future mobility will place those countries and individuals perceived to be at highest risk at a disadvantage. The author concludes that if we are unable to relaunch migration and mobility safely, and universally, the world’s ability to recover from economic recession will be limited. Read here.

Push backs at land borders: Asady and Others v. Slovakia and N.D and N.T v. Spain. Is the principle of non-refoulement at risk? By Nensi Sinanaj (June 10, 2020), Refugee Law Initiative. While there is no fundamental right to enter a state, there remains an obligation on the state not to refuse entry in case the principle of non-refoulement is at stake or the right to family life. A precedent was set by the Grand Chamber judgement in N.D and N.T v. Spain: individuals can be removed from the territory of a state in the case that they did not make use of any legal existing means of entry and they took advantage as a group of large number by using force. This test was used in the decision of Asady and Others v. Slovakia. The aim of this blog is to distinguish between N.D and N.T v. Spain and Asady and Others v. Slovakia and highlight that a broad interpretation of the Spanish case could lead to compromising the principle of non-refoulement. Read here.

Digital and social media

Online Workshop on July 9-10, 2020: Flight, Governance, and Human Rights hosted by Forced Migration and Refugee Studies: Networking and Knowledge Transfer in collaboration with Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. Distinguished scientists and politicians will address current challenges at the global, European and national levels of asylum, migration, governance and human rights: “Where do the Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees lead to?” “What ought to be done about the Common European Asylum system?” “What can reasonably be expected from the German EU Council Presidency, starting in July, in the area of migration and refugees – and in view of Corona?” Register here.

June 11, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 88

Recent Publications and New Research

Douhaibi, D. (eds.)(2020). Emerging issues in forced migration: perspectives from research and practice. Refugee Review, The Emerging Scholars and Practitioners on Migration Issues Network, 4(1). This issue of the Refugee Review set out to explore and expand on ethics, representation, and impact by focusing on four areas in forced migration research and practice: methodological challenges and innovations, bridging research to policy and practice, new dissemination practices and public engagement, and supporting emerging scholars and practitioners. (Open access) Read here.

Otu, A., Charles, C.H. & Yaya, S. (2020). Mental health and psychosocial well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic: the invisible elephant in the room. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 14, 38. In the wake of the massively volatile global situation created by COVID-19, it is vital to recognize that the trauma it causes can affect people in different ways, at the individual and collective levels, resulting in mental health challenges for many. The author addresses the unique issues faced by migrants without permanent legal status, and argues that while it is crucial to limit the spread of infections, mental and behavioural health interventions should be fully included in public health response strategies. (Open access) Read here.

Scott-Smith, T., & Breeze, M.E. (eds.)(2020) Structures of protection? Rethinking Refugee Shelter. Berghahn, New York. This volume brings together essays on different forms of refugee shelter, in an aim to widen public understanding about the lives of forced migrants and developing theoretical understanding of this often neglected facet of the refugee experience. Drawing on a range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, law, architecture, and history, each of the chapters describes a particular shelter and uses this to open up theoretical reflections on the relationship between architecture, place, politics, design and displacement. More here.

Akesson, B. & Sousa, C. (2020). Parental suffering and resilience among recently displaced Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 29, 1264–1273. This paper draws upon data from collaborative family interviews with 46 families (n = 351) who fled Syria and are now living as refugees in Lebanon in an attempt to uncover the realities of refugee parents in situations of extreme adversity such as war and displacement. The findings describe the challenges parents faced and the ways they attempted to endure within three temporal dimensions: the past (pre-flight and flight); the present (initial resettlement in the Lebanon); and the future (hopes and aspirations for resettlement). More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Issue Brief: Searching for Home: How COVID-19 threatens progress for Venezuelan integration in Columbia by Daphne Panayotatos and Rachel Schmidtke (May 26, 2020) Refugee International. Though Colombia has given its Venezuelan neighbours a relatively generous welcome, the shocks of the coronavirus have left displaced Venezuelans in a situation of heightened vulnerability. Many have lost or risk losing access to income, housing, food, and other basic needs. The authors recommend measures to mitigate that impact. Read here.

COVID-19 derails Canadian immigration: The pandemic has dealt a temporary blow to Canada’s newcomer-fueled growth strategy (May 29, 2020) RBC Economics – Royal Bank of Canada. Amid ongoing border restrictions, travel-related health fears, and the global economic downturn, the authors expect immigration levels to be down sharply in 2020 and a recovery in 2021 will depend in part on the course of the pandemic. The authors argue the disruption will reverberate across the economy, given our reliance on immigration for labour-force growth and to offset Canada’s aging demographic. Read here.

Issue Brief: A new vulnerability: COVID-19 and tropical cyclone Harold create the perfect storm in the Pacific by Kayly Ober and Stefan Bakumenko (June 3, 2020), Refugee International. Many countries will be grappling with the collision of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate-related disasters, the situation in the Pacific has made clear that climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction remain essential and urgent imperatives for countries vulnerable to sudden-onset disasters. The authors argue that the efforts must continue in the midst of the pandemic response, and underscore the centrality of local humanitarian responders. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

The rocky road to a mobile world after COVID-19 by Meghan Benton (May 2020) Migration Policy Institute. With countries at differing points in their coronavirus trajectory, their reasons for maintaining border restrictions vary widely. Deeply afflicted countries have enacted mobility restrictions well beyond border closures—including highly policed intraregional travel. The author argues that while all governments face the challenge of restarting mobility, their incentives may diverge even more as the pandemic spreads to new regions. Read here.

Child repatriation in the time of COVID-19 by Jacqueline Bhabha and Vasileia Digidiki (June 4, 2020), Rethinking Refuge. Child protection concerns have never been central to refugee policy or practice. In this latest article for Rethinking Refuge, two Harvard academics assess the impact of COVID-19 on existing pressures to repatriate child refugees. They argue that the pandemic presents an opportunity to rethink repatriation policies to better serve the interests of vulnerable child migrants. Read here.

Many refugees living in Nairobi struggle to survive because of COVID-19 by Naohiko Omata (May 20, 2020) University of Oxford. Local research assistants – community leaders, staff members of aid organisations, pastors and representatives of community-based organisations – who are well-networked with fellow refugees, all reported primarily on the acute economic challenges that the crisis has caused for Nairobi’s refugees. The current restrictions disable urban refugees from pursuing their livelihood. The author argues that once the health risks of COVID-19 are mitigated, the question of how to best assist refugees’ economic recovery should be a primary concern for refugee-assisting agencies. Read here.

Digital and social media

Podcast: Sustainability Research Group hosted at London South Bank University, Episode 1, (May, 2020). In this episode, Ayar Ata – member of the research group and with first hand experience as a refugee – talks about an urgent need for fair access to health care for all forced migrants, especially for those living in refugee camps in this lockdown world. Listen here.

Webinar on June 24, 2020 03:00-4:30PM BST: Mobility and immobility in the time of coronavirus: reflections from long-term study of migration and displacement by Professor Laura Hammond (SOAS University of London) presenter of the 2020 Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture hosted by the University of Oxford. In this lecture, Professor Hammond considers the legacy of Elizabeth Colson’s work to explore how forced migration studies might help us to better understand the monumental implications of the coronavirus pandemic on communities involved or affected by migration and displacement. Register here.

Video: Irregular Migrants in European Cities: How to respond (April, 2019) COMPAS, University of Oxford. This short film helps understand why cities across Europe think it is important to be inclusive towards irregular migrants and the initiatives they have adopted to facilitate, rather than impede, their access to services. Watch here.

May 28, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 87

Recent Publications and New Research

Special Issue: Easton-Calabria, E. and Skran, C. (eds.)(2020). Rethinking refugee self-reliance, Journal of Refugee Studies, 33(1). The aim of this special issue is to rethink and critically examine the concept of refugee self-reliance and assess its relationship with the broader topics of livelihoods and entrepreneurship for refugees. The authors argue for an expanded definition of refugee self-reliance that promotes social as well as economic components and moves beyond narrowly implemented programmes targeting individual and market-based solutions. In so doing, it seeks to contribute to the existing body of literature critically assessing the source, practice and implications of refugee self-reliance and efforts to foster it. (Open access) Read here.

New Issue: Wilkinson, L., and Petrovic, L., (eds.) (2020) Comparing the German and Canadian experiences of resettling refugees: A 21st century response. Canadian Diversity 17(2). Canadian Diversity is a quarterly publication of the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS). This special issue brings together 15 papers that discuss the outcomes of refugee integration in both Canada and Germany. The first and second sections describes the legal implications and public receptivity toward refugees and economic and employment outcomes of refugees. Other topics include the discussion of the problems with settlement services and general resettlement issues, including challenges accessing language classes. (Open access) Read here.

Schockaert, L., Venables, E., Gil-Bazo, M. T., Barnwell, G., Gerstenhaber, R., Whitehouse, K. (2020) Behind the Scenes of South Africa’s Asylum Procedure: A qualitative study on long-term asylum-seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Refugee Survey Quarterly, 39(1). This exploratory qualitative study describes how protracted asylum procedures and associated conditions are experienced by Congolese asylum-seekers in Tshwane, South Africa. The findings focused on the process of leaving the Democratic Republic of Congo, applying for asylum and aspirations of positive outcomes for one’s life. Subsequently, it describes the reality of prolonged periods of unfulfilled expectations and how protracted asylum procedures contribute to poor mental health. Furthermore, coping mechanisms to mitigate these negative effects are described. (Open access) Read here.

Chowdhory, N., & Mohanty, B. (2020). Citizenship, Nationalism And Refugeehood of Rohingyas in Southern Asia. Springer, Singapore. This book provides an in-depth investigation of citizenship and nationalism in connection with the Rohingya community. It analyses the processes of production of statelessness in South Asia in general, and with regard to the Rohingyas in particular. To date, very few theoretical insights have been provided on the Rohingya issue, and this book attempts to bridge that gap by exploring a dialogue between the state and its citizens and non-citizens that results in the production of statelessness. Read here.

Campbell, J. R. (2020) Examining procedural unfairness and credibility findings in the UK asylum system, Refugee Survey Quarterly, 39(1). This article addresses a key problem confronted by immigration judges (IJs) in their assessment of the asylum claims of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, who are often not allowed to speak or participate in their own hearings. The article has three linked aims: to examine research that looks at how IJs decide credibility; to set out an ethnographic approach to better understand IJs’ decision-making; and to argue that asylum tribunals need to adopt appropriate guidelines. Read here.

New Issue: COVID-19: A new challenge for migration policy (April-June 2020) International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Eurasylum Ltd. This special issue of Migration Policy Practice (a biweekly Journal for and by policy makers worldwide) discusses the emerging effects of COVID-19 on migrants and migration policy worldwide from a range of perspectives including the humanitarian, economic and data-related implications of the new pandemic. It stresses that while most refugees and migrants live in individual and communal accommodations in urban areas, and therefore face similar health threats from COVID-19 as their host populations, their degree of vulnerability may be a lot higher due to the conditions of their migratory journeys, limited employment opportunities, overcrowded and poor living and working conditions with inadequate access to food, water, sanitation and other basic services. Read here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Schmidtke, R., Schacher, Y., & Sawyer, A. (May 19, 2020) Deportation with Layover: Failure of Protection Under the U.S. – Guatemala Asylum Cooperative Agreement, Refugees International. Under the ACA with Guatemala, the United States has rapidly transferred non-Guatemalan asylum seekers to Guatemala without allowing them to lodge asylum claims in the United States. Given Guatemala’s inability to provide effective protection and the risk that some transferees face in Guatemala or after returning to their home countries, the United States violates its obligation to examine their asylum claims by implementing the agreement. Read here.

Research Brief: Sarrica, F., Healy, C., Serio, G., & Samson, J. (May 14, 2020) How COVID-19 restrictions and the economic consequences are likely to impact migrant smuggling and cross-border trafficking in persons to Europe and North America, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. This Research Brief analyses possible scenarios of how smuggling of migrants and cross-border trafficking in persons are likely to be affected by the COVID-19 crisis along mixed migration routes to two important destination regions: North America and Europe. This paper draws on the dynamics observed during other global economic downturns, such as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, to assess how the COVID-19-induced recession may affect smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons in the near to long term. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

Immigrants are worrying about social ties and finances during coronavirus by Carlo Handy Charles (May 19, 2020) The Conversation. Based on a recent Statistic Canada Study, immigrants and refugees are more likely than Canadian-born individuals to be worried about the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article analyzes immigrant’s concerns about social ties, social risks, and finances during the pandemic. The author argues that it is imperative for the federal and provincial governments to consider the unique challenges faced by immigrants and refugees as they implement policies to help people in Canada recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Read here.

How South Africa is denying refugees their rights: what needs to change by Sikanyiso Masuku (May 12, 2020) The Conversation. The author argues that the failure to regularise the national asylum system, which is responsible for the documentation of applicants for refugee status and adjudication of appeals, has led to huge capacity constraints. These are evidenced by backlogs that leave many applicants without requisite documents. The consequences of this are far reaching. Vulnerable undocumented people make it harder to plan or manage social services for all. It also poses a threat to security, stability and social cohesion. Read here.

Asylum seekers lodge complaint with ombudsman over ‘catastrophic’ coronavirus concerns by Claudia Farhart (May 7, 2020) Special Broadcasting Service. 13 Asylum seekers being held in Australian immigration facilities have lodged an official complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman, saying the conditions in which they are being held could lead to a “catastrophic” coronavirus outbreak among detainees, arguing that social distancing is impossible inside the immigration facilities, where five men are being forced to share a room. Read here.

Will Canada be as open to immigrants after COVID-19? By Ratna Omidvar (May 4, 2020) Policy Options Politiques. Canadians understand that the success of the country depends on the success of integrating its newcomers. She writes that Canadians must decide whether they will remain an “open country” after the coronavirus ends. She points out that the aging population needs an influx of immigrants to help Canada to thrive, grow, and prosper. She adds that Canada may accrue a $100 billion national debt due to the coronavirus but immigrants can help expand the economy and repay the debt. Finally, she writes, closed borders will not stop the spread of viruses like this one and countries must work together to develop a united global response to prepare for the next pandemic when, not if, it happens again. Read here.

Digital and social media

Webinar: Voices from the Borders Registration hosted by Refugees International and Human Rights Watch (May 28, 2020 02:00 PM). 30 asylum seekers transferred to Guatemala reported abuses while in U.S. custody and, upon arrival in Guatemala, and often felt compelled to abandon their asylum claims and return to their home countries. This webinar will include report of the findings, featuring a video from a woman from El Salvador who was transferred to Guatemala and an audience Q&A will follow. Register here.

@Refugees released a video #ForYou featuring young refugees from around the world and their essential contributions to fighting COVID-19. Watch here.

May 14, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 86

Recent Publications and New Research

New Issue and Symposium: Hyndman, J., & Reynolds, J. (eds.) (2020). Beyond the Global Compacts. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 36(1). This issue argues that while constructive and impressive in many respects, the global compacts are unlikely to shift the political and institutional frameworks that manage migration. Rather, the authors contend they will maintain the status quo whereby migration is encouraged to stay within Global South countries or people are turned away from state borders as they approach the Global North. The articles in this issue challenge the standard solutions and responses to displacement and migration. (Open access) Read here.

Shivakoti R. (2020) Protection or Discrimination? The Case of Nepal’s Policy Banning Female Migrant Workers. In: Joshi D., Brassard C. (eds) Urban Spaces and Gender in Asia. Sustainable Development Goals Series. Springer, Cham. This chapter introduces a policy that has been adopted by several Asian countries which bans female migrant workers from going to certain countries with the rationale of protecting them from possible harm and abuse. The chapter uses the case of Nepal to argue that governments use this policy despite knowing its lack of effectiveness in protecting women from abuse because it provides a short-term solution, allows for blame avoidance and because of their own limitation to influence another country’s laws to protect their migrant workers. Read here.

Reiko, S. (2019). Belonging in Translation: Solidarity and Migration Activism in Japan. Bristol University Press. This is the first book to investigate how migrants and migrant rights activists work together to generate new forms of citizenship identities through the use of language. This book is an original take on citizenship and community from the perspective of translation, and an amalgamation of theory and detailed empirical analysis based on ethnographic case studies of Japan. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Duale, M. (May 5, 2020) To be a refugee, it’s like to be without your arms, legs: a narrative inquiry into refugee Participation in Kakuma Refugee Camp and Nairobi, Kenya. The Local Engagement Refugee Research Network. Drawing from recent research in Kenya, the author argues there are significant disconnections between recent global refugee policy formulations and refugee experiences of participation. The objective of this working paper is to explore the experiences of refugees and refugee leaders in the Kakuma Refugee Camp and Nairobi, Kenya, and in doing so, to try to understand the role played by refugee-led organizations, particularly in the decision-making, planning and implementation of refugee programming. (Open access) Read here.

Global Report on Internal Displacement. (April 2020) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. This report highlights the scale of displacement around the world and efforts to address it and provides an overview of major regional patterns, impacts and risks. It also casts light on the highly specific nature of each displacement situation and discusses some of the collaborative steps and tools that could be used to help millions of Internally displaced people achieve a sustainable end to their predicament. Read here.

Migration Research Series No. 60 – Migrants and the COVID-19 pandemic: An initial analysis by Lorenzo Guadagno. (2020) IOM UN Immigration. This Migration Research Series paper offers an initial analysis of the specific ways migrants have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also presents the diverse measures which have been adopted in receiving and origin countries to prevent, mitigate and address the negative impacts of the pandemic. Its objective is to provide insights for more inclusive and effective COVID-19 responses as the pandemic unfolds to ensure that migrants are duly included. Read here.

Issue Brief: A Crisis on Top of a Crisis: COVID-19 Looms Over War-ravaged Idlib by Sahar Atrache. (April 2020) Refugees International. A new report from Refugees International details the province’s protracted humanitarian crisis, the state of the region’s decimated healthcare system, the roadblocks hindering the province’s response in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, and recommendations for a path forward. Read here.

Issue Brief: Gender Matters: COVID-19’s Outsized Impact on Displaced Women and Girls by Devon Cone. (May 7, 2020) Refugees International. This report examines how COVID-19 exacerbates the challenges women and girls already face in displacement. The author explores the gendered impact of the pandemic on Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, asylum seekers in Greece, IDPs in Syria and South Sudan, Venezuelans across Latin America, and forcibly displaced women and girls in other areas of the world. The author sets out the key steps that should be taken as part of the global pandemic response to protect displaced women and girls. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

The Challenges in Covid19 Times for Refugee Determination and Accessing Protection by Elspeth Guild. (April 28, 2020) Refugee Law Initiative on Refugee Law and Forced Migration. This blog examines the efforts of the EU (and associated countries including the UK) to comply with their obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, in particular, in regards to the processing of asylum applications. Read here.

Will COVID-19 finally force us to reconsider the Global (Im)mobility Regime? By Emilie McDonnell (April 16, 2020) Refugee Law Initiative on Refugee Law and Forced Migration. Given the impact of COVID-19 on human movement, it is pertinent to reflect more generally on how the global mobility regime is constructed, its incompatibility with several human rights, and how to limit the negative and counterproductive effects of COVID-19 restrictions. As the global community works to overcome this pandemic, we are presented with a unique opportunity to challenge and re-consider the global immobility regime. Read here.

Why Refugees are an Asset in the Fight Against Coronavirus by Alexander Betts, Evan Easton-Calabria and Kate Pincock. (April 28, 2020) The Conversation. Refugee-led organisations have long played an important but neglected role in providing protection and assistance to other refugees – and host communities – in camps and cities around the world. The authors argue the work of these refugee-led organisations is now more relevant than ever as the formal structures of humanitarian aid struggle to respond to the consequences of COVID-19. They are already doing life-saving work, and they need to be far better supported. Read here.

Digital and social media

Webinar series: The READY Initiative, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins University and the Center of Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH) are hosting a weekly webinar series on COVID-19 and humanitarian settings. Past and upcoming webinars can be accessed here.

Migration working group virtual Meeting (May 27, 2020). The Migration Working Group offers the opportunity for researchers to present their ongoing projects, learn about each other’s work and share feedback. Discussions will be moderated by Anna Triandafyllidou, the Ryerson Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration and a professor in the Department of Sociology at Ryerson University. Register here.

April 30, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 85

Recent Publications and New Research

Strømme, E.M., Haj-Younes, J., Hasha, W. et al. Health status and use of medication and their association with migration related exposures among Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Norway: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 20, 341 (2020). The health of forcibly displaced individuals changes along their migration path and estimates of disease burden are essential to develop health care policies and practices adequately corresponding to their health care needs. This study aims to describe the health status and use of medication among Syrian refugees in two different migration phases: in a transit setting and in a recipient country. Further, the authors investigate the associations between migration related exposures and both chronic pain and mental health among Syrian refugees. (Open access) Read Here.

Carroll, H., Luzes, M., Freier, L., & Bird, M. (2020). The migration journey and mental health: Evidence from Venezuelan forced migration. SSM – Population Health10, 100551. Using migration of Venezuelans to Peru as a case example, the authors surveyed migrants on mental health and migration factors at the Ecuador-Peru border. They found that the link between migration factors and mental health is concerning, as the associated distress may influence post-migration mental health. (Open access) Read here.

Pincock, K., Betts, A., & Easton-Calabria, E. (2020). The Global Governed?: Refugees as Providers of Protection and Assistance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Based on fieldwork in refugee camps and cities in Uganda and Kenya, this book examines how refugee-led organisations emerge, the protection and assistance they provide to other refugees, and their interactions with international institutions. The book shows how, despite a lack of recognition and funding, many refugee-led organisations and networks provide crucial sources of social protection, enhancing livelihood, health, and access to education. The authors offer an alternative vision for more participatory global governance. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Without essential protections: a roadmap to safeguard the rights of asylum seekers in Greece. (April 23, 2020) Refugees International. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 reaching pandemic levels, the Greek Asylum Service (GAS) announced that it would suspend all administrative services and not receive new asylum applications until at least May 15, 2020. Further, the Greek government has proposed a new bill that removes protections for asylum seekers and ensures that access to asylum will become even more difficult and restrictive. This report lists recommendations for Greek asylum authorities and laws, as well as the European Union and it’s members. Read here.

Ilcan, S., Thomaz, D., & Jimenez Bueno, M. (2020) Private sponsorship in Canada: the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. IMRC Policy Points, Issue 17. This paper unpacks the lessons from resettlement of Syrian refugees in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, and highlights the resettlement experiences of privately sponsored refugees in this area. It draws on policy, program, and scholarly documents, and on a selection of 55 semi-structured, in-depth interviews on direct experiences of resettlement in southern Ontario, Canada. The authors emphasize that strong leadership by governments and civil society groups and organizations is crucial in the private sponsorship of Syrians, and that more policy attention and research are needed to improve the private sponsorship program in the K-W region. (Open access) Read here.

News reports and blog posts

Governments Need to Do More for Refugees Affected by Coronavirus: Here’s How by Cristiano D’Orsi (April 15, 2020) The Conversation. Governments and international organisations are coping with the ways in which the most vulnerable categories of society such as refugees will be affected, but many countries don’t have clear plans. The author reviews the COVID-19 response by the UN while focusing on recommendations for what should be done. Read here.

How New Tools are Meeting the Challenge of Measuring Refugee Self-Reliance by Dale Buscher and Kellie Leeson (April 16, 2020) Rethinking Refuge. How can we measure refugee self-reliance, one of the objectives of the UN’s Global Compact on Refugees? In this article, the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative presents a tool for measuring self-reliance and shows how it can be used in effective programming. Read here.

Car-sharing in Lebanon: Overlooked Practices of Collective Self-reliance by Estella Carpi (April 9, 2020) Rethinking Refuge. Humanitarian agencies often decide refugee eligibility based on identity categories that do not acknowledge the collective nature of socio-economic practices. This study of car-sharing in Lebanon challenges these approaches and offers an alternative model. Read here.

Health for all: COVID-19 and global health. Interview with Iman Ahmed (April 1, 2020), Spring Magazine. Spring Magazine spoke with Iman Ahmed, a global health specialist, about COVID-19 from an international health perspective. This interview touches on pandemic preparedness and response for refugees including lessons and comparisons. It includes topics such as state repression as well as changes in the labour market and the affects on the healthcare system. Read here.

Refugees Among Hundreds of Overseas Medics to Respond to NHS Call by Karen McVeigh (April 17, 2020) The Guardian. Refugee organisations and applicants have described the NHS England scheme as a good “first step” to allow doctors unable to complete registration to have a clinical role. But they urged the government and the General Medical Council (GMC) to find alternative solutions to allow them to work as doctors, saying the current process is too long, bureaucratic and expensive. Read here.

Digital and social media

Podcast: Nadim’s Story – A Bangladeshi asylum seeker living in the UK (March 9, 2020) Refugees’ Stories. This season’s focus is the lives of those who have sought asylum for their sexuality or gender identity. This episode follows Nadim, a young man from Dhaka, Bangladesh who currently lives in London. Listen here.

April 16, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 84

Recent Publications and New Research

Kraly, E.P., Hovy, B. (2020). Data and research to inform global policy: the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. Comparative Migration Studies 8, 11: The aim of this paper is to make explicit the insights, proposals and recommendations from stakeholders in the development of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) regarding the role of evidence in effective international migration governance. The systematic organization of results is intended to express opportunities for engagement of social and population scientists in analyses that complement priorities and recommendations of stakeholders. Available Open access here.

Horst, Cindy, et al. “The ‘Good Citizen’: Asserting and Contesting Norms of Participation and Belonging in Oslo.” Ethnic and Racial Studies: ERS Open, vol. 43, no. 16, Routledge, Dec. 2020, pp. 76–95. The authors investigate what constitutes a “good citizen”. Based on empirical data, the authors argue for a reconceptualization of good citizenship that acknowledges present-day spaces of participation as both public and private, and which acknowledges scales of belonging that go beyond and below a narrowly defined national community. Such reconceptualization is necessary to include and recognize the diversity of participation and belonging unfolding in Europe today. Available open access here.

New E-book: Samaddar, R. (ed.) (2020). Borders of a Pandemic: COVID-19 and the Migrant workers: India is in a complete lock down mode. This online publication by the Calcutta Research Group is based on contemporary reflections by journalists, social scientists and social activists, legal practitioners, and thinkers, which highlight the ethical and political implications of the epidemic in India – particularly for India’s migrant workers. This book is written as the crisis unfolds with no end in sight. It is a tract of the time. Available Open access here.

Purkey, A. L. (December 2019). Refugee Dignity in Protracted Exile: Rights, Capabilities and Legal Empowerment. Routledge. This book investigates how effective human rights and the inherent dignity of refugees can be secured in situations of protracted exile and encampment. The book deploys an innovative human rights-based capabilities approach to address fundamental questions relating to law, power, governance, responsibility and accountability in refugee camps. In this work, legal empowerment is explored as a strategy through which power can be redistributed and individual agency exercised within the refugee context. Thus, by helping to increase the capability of refugees to participate actively in the decisions that most affect their core rights and interests, participatory approaches to legal empowerment can also assist in securing other capabilities, ultimately ensuring that refugees are able to live dignified lives while in protracted exile. More information available here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Religion and Social Justice for Refugees: Insights from Cameroon, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Mexico. Bridging Voices, UCL-Yale Research Report (March 2020). Drawing on over 300 interviews with refugees, members of local host communities and locally based organisations in towns, cities and camps in Cameroon, Greece, Malaysia, Mexico, Lebanon and Jordan, the report identifies and examines the ways that faith plays an important role in supporting social justice for refugees. This demonstrates a clear disconnect between what policy makers and practitioners assume that ‘refugees need’ and what refugees consider to be essential requirements, as prerequisites to dignity and justice. Read more here.

Ferreira, N., et al. (2020). Governing protracted displacement: An analysis across global, regional and domestic contexts (TRAFIG working paper 3). Bonn: BICC. This working paper explores the governance of protracted displacement across global, regional and domestic levels in the context of the project “Transnational Figurations of Displacement” (TRAFIG). The multiple contemporary crises that have led to forced displacement show not only the limits of a tight definition of ‘refugee’, but also highlight the gaps in international protection frameworks. A significant number of those forcibly displaced are in protracted displacement situations. Read more here.

Report: COVID-19 Disease Response, Situation Report 6 (April 9, 2020) IOM. Global restrictions have left some migrants stranded waiting in transit centers for their voluntary return. Most of the transit centers have already reached maximum capacity; overcrowding and lengthy stays are leading to increased tensions and psychological stress, while potentially also putting migrants at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Read more here.

Report: COVID-19 Response: IOM Regional Office for Asia Pacific, Situation Report 4 (April 11, 2020). Localized outbreaks and the implementation of public health measures, such as lockdowns and social distancing across the region, have led to multiple instances of sudden mass migrant movements, exacerbating individual and community vulnerability and potentially driving further transmission. There are also increasing reports of stigma and discrimination towards migrants at destination, transit and home locations upon return due to fears around COVID-19 transmission. Read more here.

News reports and blog posts

Family reunification and COVID-19: reflections on the situation of refugees, By Louisa Brain, LIDC Migration Leadership team, (March 30, 2020). This blog brings reflections and recommendations on family reunification for refugees in the context of COVID-19 in Brazil. While this blog post does not challenge the importance of restrictive measures to collective health, it presents some reflections on family reunification procedures for refugees worldwide who are living this difficult moment. Read more here

The Right Technology Can Help Refugees Stay Connected (March 11, 2020) RAND. This essay underscores the importance of smartphones for refugees to stay connected to family and friends as well as their life prior to displacement. There has been tremendous investment in developing apps specifically for refugees, and a lot of it has been wasted. United Nations should consider establishing worldwide frameworks for the ethical and effective use of technology in refugee settings. Read more here.

First Person: False Promises in Mauritania (March 28, 2020), UN News. Women and girls face particular challenges as migrants, whatever their reason for leaving their country of origin. UN agencies are learning more about these difficulties, and how to address them. This news report draws on real life examples of how gender interacts with migration. Additionally, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project aims to bring more attention to the circumstances in which women and girls die or go missing during their journey and bring about policy change. Read more here.

Blog post: What COVID-19 Means for Climate Displacement Policy Progress by Kayly Ober, (April 13, 2020) Refugee International. Across the world, governments are rightly focused on the COVID-19 crisis. However, it is imperative that policy makers don’t lose sight of other global challenges, including those related to climate change. Despite progress in climate displacement in the past year, the community may need to be on guard in a COVID-19 world for a variety of reasons such as budget cuts and border closures. Read more here.

Blog post: Coronavirus exacerbates dangers for migrants in Mexican detention by Rachel Schmidtke (April 3, 2020) Refugees International. Migration stations can be found across the country, with some of the largest located on Mexico’s southern border where migration traffic is most dense. Conditions in Mexico’s migration stations have been criticized for years, but as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the country, the new risks facing detained migrants and asylum seekers in these migration stations are revealing longstanding issues. Read more here.

Digital and social media

@Refugees UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency created a short video highlighting how to come together to win the fight with COVID-19 while not leaving anyone behind. Watch here.

April 1, 2020: RRN Research Digest – Special issue on Displacement and COVID-19

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. 83

A message from the RRN editorial team:

The novel Coronavirus has rapidly and drastically changed everything about our daily lives. Its effect on the global scale is by far no less. We want to make sure refugees and displaced populations (as well as other vulnerable populations) are not overlooked during this pandemic.  In this special issue we have curated news, material and resources that address the implications of COVID-19 on displacement (populations and policies). The objectives of this effort are to:

While there hasn’t been a lot of peer-reviewed work published yet (especially in social sciences) about COVID-19 and displacement, we encourage you to point us to or share with us any relevant contributions, resources or virtual events to include in the digest and share with our wide network and social media followers at

Stay safe, stay connected,

Dina Taha and RRN digest editorial team 


COVID-19 and the Displaced: Addressing the Threat of the Novel Coronavirus in Humanitarian Emergencies, Refugees International. This new global report surveys how this global pandemic is impacting—and will continue to impact—more than 70 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), and other forced migrants around the world. “The scale and speed of the pandemic underscore how deeply interconnected the world’s populations are. Nevertheless, at precisely the moment when global solidarity and cooperation are essential, many nations are turning inward as they seek to protect their citizens. But a virus does not respect borders. Nor does it discriminate. A truly effective response, not to mention a morally correct one, also must not discriminate” Read the full report here.

What have we learned from the past?

  • Elias, C. J., Alexander, B. H., & Sokly, T. (1990). Infectious disease control in a long-term refugee camp: the role of epidemiologic surveillance and investigation. American Journal of Public Health. This report demonstrates the role of epidemiologic surveillance and investigation in the control of infectious diseases in a long-term refugee camp. Read more.
  • Truman, B. I., et al (2009). Pandemic influenza preparedness and response among immigrants and refugees. American Journal of Public Health, 99(S2), S278-S286. Vulnerable populations and their service providers need information to overcome limited resources, inaccessible health services, limited English proficiency and foreign language barriers, and inexperience applying recommended guidelines. This article summarizes advice from an expert panel of public health scientists and service program managers. Read more.
  • Spiegel, P. B., & Nankoe, A. (2004). UNHCR, HIV/AIDS and refugees: lessons learned. Forced migration review, 19, 21-23. Refugees are often doubly discriminated against firstly, for simply being refugees and secondly for being falsely accused of bringing HIV/AIDS with them into host countries. In order to reduce stigmatization and to ensure that the whole population has access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care interventions, UNHCR is working to ensure that refugees are integrated into host government HIV/AIDS policies and programmes. Read more.
  • Wickramage, K., et. Al. (2018). Missing: where are the migrants in pandemic influenza preparedness plans?. Health and human rights, 20(1), 251. Evidence indicates that social stigmatization and anxieties generated by restrictive immigration policies hinder undocumented immigrants’ access to health rights and minimizes immigrants’ sense of entitlement to such rights. Read more.

How is COVID-19 affecting displaced populations and migration policies?

  • Canada’s changing coronavirus border policy exposes international students’ precarious status, Carlo Handy Charles, The conversation, March 19, 2020. Carlo analyzes the repercussions of Canada’s border closure on temporary residents, such as international students in Canada and abroad. We have learned that Shortly after Carlo’s commentary, the Canadian government responded and passed guidelines making it clear that international students were exempted from the travel restrictions. Read more
  • Changes to the asylum and immigration process due to Covid-19, Right to Remain (March 25): Because of the Coronavirus public health crisis, there have been some temporary changes to the asylum and immigration process in the UK. This blog post tracks the most important ones. Read more.
  • The world’s largest refugee camp prepares for COVID-19, by Gaia Vince, BMJ: British Medical Journal (March 25, 2020). Nearly a million refugees live in overcrowded conditions in the camps of south Bangladesh. This article reports on the growing fears of an imminent, catastrophic outbreak of COVID-19 from overcrowding to poor sanitary conditions and tracks UN efforts to respond. Read more. Also related check: Rohingya refugee camps a Covid-19 time bomb.
  • Crisis within a crisis: immigration in the United States in a time of covid-19, By Muzaffar Chishti and Sarah Pierce, Migration Policy Institute, March 26, 2020. The anxiety triggered by the pandemic for long-term residents and recently arrived immigrants alike, legal and unauthorized, is exacerbated by fear of immigration enforcement, suspension of immigration benefits processing, and the high number of asylum seekers and other migrants in immigration detention. Read more.
  • Five Ways COVID-19 Is Changing Global Migration, by Erol Yayboke, Center for Strategies and International Studies (March 25, 2020). This article traces how in addition to the grand disruptions to daily life, the pandemic could be fundamentally changing the face of global migration in at least five keyways. Including, increasing global inequality, the continuation of travel restrictions, and an increase in “irregular” migration. Read more.
  • COVID-19: Agencies temporarily suspend refugee resettlement travel, UN News (March 17, 2020). Two UN agencies (UNHCR and IOM) announced last Tuesday that they are temporarily suspending resettlement travel for refugees. The spread of the new coronavirus has seen countries drastically reduce entry into their territories, while international air travel has been restricted in some regions. Read more
  • How Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Reshape Refugee and Migration Governance? by Kristin B. Sandvik and Adèle Garnier, PRIO blogs (March 27, 2020). This blog post identifies marginalization, legal distancing and the ambiguity of care as the key characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic response currently reshaping refugee and migration governance. Read more.
  • Third World refugees battle COVID-19 without basics such as clean water to wash their hands, by Richard Warnica, National Post (March 20, 2020): Doctors and nurses in the field face a stark dilemma: stay and serve as supplies dry up or come home while they can, knowing they will not be replaced. Read more.  Also related check: The struggle to stay safe from COVID-19 in a refugee camp.
  • COVID-19 delays refugee hearings and puts lives in limbo by Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald (March 21, 2020). The coronavirus forced the Immigration and Refugee Board to postpone all in-person hearings and mediations, other than detention reviews, effective March 17 through to April 5 at the earliest. Read here
  • Leaving no-one behind: Ensuring people seeking asylum and refugees are included in COVID-19 strategies, Refugee Council of Australia: (March 25, 2020): The RCOA hosted a teleconference with 65 representatives of organisations around Australia, to bring together concerns and ideas about the most pressing issues for people seeking asylum and refugees resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the summary here

How Refugees are stepping-up and how might we leverage the pandemic against anti-immigration rhetoric?

  • Refugees to the rescue? Germany taps migrant medics to battle virus, Reuters, by Riham Alkousaa and Paul Carrel (March 25, 2020). Five years ago, the arrival of a wave of refugees caused much consternation and fueled support for Germany’s far-right. Now, the country is turning to its migrant community to plug an anticipated shortage of medical staff battling the coronavirus. Read more.
  • Covid-19: call for fast-track registration of refugee doctors in UK, by Diane Taylor, The Guardian (March 25, 2020):  Hundreds of refugee doctors have called on the government and the General Medical Council to fast-track their accreditation so they can help the NHS tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more.
  • What happens to freedom of movement during a pandemic? By Sandro Mezzadra, Open Democracy (March 24, 2020). This article demonstrates how Restrictive border measures endanger the lives of vulnerable populations for whom movement is a means of survival. “The arguments are on our side… the virus does not respect borders.” Read more

What are some global and local responses and solutions to the pandemic and its effect on displacement?

  • Three ways our programmes are fighting coronavirus, Norwegian Councils on Refugees (March 28, 2020): The NCR is tracing 3 ways they are fighting the spread of the virus among the world’s most vulnerable communities. Read more here.  
  • Live blog: Refugees in the COVID-19 crisis: this is a liveblog that traces some of the ways that UNHCR staff, people forced to flee and supporters around the globe are taking action to stay smart, stay safe and stay kind. Read more.  
  • No Safe Place: Refugees and the Coronavirus, Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D., Psychology today (March 28, 2020). Raising awareness of a looming pandemic while offering unrealistic preventive methods may heighten people’s fear and deepen their sense of vulnerability. This article has recommendations to support vulnerable displaced populations across the globe including delivering clean water and soap to refugee populations as soon as possible, installing hand-washing stations in refugee camps, and an immediate release of Asylum-seekers held in detention centers if they pose no threat. Read more.
  • Q&A: Access to health services is key to halting COVID-19 and saving refugee lives, By Jonathan Clayton, UNHCR News (March 27, 2020). Ann Burton, Chief of UNHCR’s Public Health Section, outlines the dangers the new coronavirus poses to refugees and internally displaced people and describes how the agency is working to slow its spread, reduce its impact and save lives. Read more. Also related, check Refugees and displaced highly vulnerable to COVID-19.

What are some helpful resources for refugees, sponsors and frontline workers?

  • IOM Mobility Restrictions COVID-19: To better understand how COVID-19 affects global mobility, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been working to map the impacts on human mobility, at Global, Regional and Country level. Subsequently, the IOM have initiated an interactive map that reflects the following activities: COVID-19 Travel Restriction Monitoring and COVID-19 Country Points of Entry (PoE) Status Baseline Assessment. Access here.
  • UN Corona Portal and News updates: Readers can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here or subscribe for daily UN news here.
  • CCR COVID-19 Resources: The Canadian Council for refugees has curated a list of public documents from different institutions in Canada including the IRCC, IRB, Federal courts and UNHCR. Access here.
  • BC Refugee HubCOVID-19 Updates: The BC Refugee Hub will be curating information about COVID-19 relating to refugees and refugee claimants in British Columbia. This webpage will be updated regularly as more information becomes available. Access here
  • COVID-19 Resources for Sponsors & Newcomers, Ottawa-Carlton District School Board: This resource links to multi-language resources and factsheets on COVID-19 that can be shared with refugee sponsors and refugees sponsored under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR), the Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR), the Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) and the Government Assisted Refugees (GAR) programs that have already arrived in Canada. Access here.

Upcoming Events (despite physical distancing!)

  • Refugee leadership in response to COVID-19 global online conference: Refugees are coming together to show resilience and readiness in the response to covid-19. More information here.
  • Upcoming event, Covid-19 in Latin America: tackling health care & other impacts for vulnerable migrant populations, MPI webinar, April 2, 2020. More information here.
  • A webinar series as part of the new Colloquium on Refugees, Migrants & Statelessness on What the COVID-19 Pandemic Means for Refugees. The Webinar takes place on Wednesdays April 1 from 11AM-12PM CST. More information about the series here. 


Refugee women in Zaatari camp are making soap to prevent Coronavirus.

March 19, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 82

Recent Publications and New Research

Belloni, M. (2020). The big gamble: the migration of Eritreans to Europe. University of California Press. The author untangles the reasons behind Eritreans making life-threatening journeys across Africa and the Mediterranean risking their lives to reach European countries where so many more hardships await them. The book contributes to ongoing debates about blurred boundaries between forced and voluntary migration, the complications of transnational marriages, the social matrix of smuggling, and the role of family expectations, emotions, and values in migrants’ choices of destinations. Available at (open access):

Asis, M., & Feranil, A. (2020). Not for adults only: toward a child’s lens in migration policies in Asia, Journal on Migration and Human Security. This paper provides an overview of challenges faced by children as migration actors. It considers the policy responses and programs that select countries in East, South, and Southeast Asia have developed to address children’s experiences and concerns in the context of Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The paper argues, the good practices that have been implemented in a number of the countries provide a template for how to translate the Compacts’ objectives into action and how to ensure that the full protection and best interests of migrant children, the left-behind children of migrant workers, and those who are part of multicultural families remain a priority. Available at (open access):

Williams, L., Coşkun, Emel, & Kaska, S. (2020). Women, migration and asylum in Turkey: developing gender-sensitivity in migration research, policy and practice. Palgrave Macmillan. This Book examines Turkey’s asylum and refugee regime from a feminist perspective and analyses migration trends and policy through a gendered lens. It highlights the ways in which international migration regimes are gendered and critically investigates the feminisation of migration while also demonstrating how gendered migration flows have diversified in recent decades. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Women and girls in internal displacement (March 2020), International Displacement Monitoring Centre. This report presents the first global, regional and national estimates of the number of women and girls living in a situation of internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence. Internal displacement situations associated with disasters are also discussed. It also highlights examples of good practices and successful initiatives from around the world, and discusses some of the policy options governments and aid providers can consider. Available at:

Report: Unseen victims, why refugee women victims of gender-based violence do not receive assistance in the EU by Lilja, I., Kervinen, E., Lietonen, A., Ollus, N., Viuhko, M., and Jokinen, A. (February 2020), European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control. This report informs policymakers and practitioners who work in the fields of criminal policy, crime prevention, asylum and migration policy as well as integration. The empirical evidence presented in this report is intended to initiate concrete steps and structural and legal changes to improve the position of refugee women who have experienced gender-based violence. The authors present clear recommendations on how to achieve this at the end of this report. Available at:

Report: Immigration detention in the Republic of Korea: penalising people in need of protection (February, 2020), Global Detention Project. South Korea has implemented increasingly restrictive asylum and migrant worker policies. The government does not provide adequate data about immigration detention, making it challenging to assess trends in the country. This report highlights that children, victims of trafficking, and other vulnerable groups can be subjected to indefinite detention, often in facilities where detainees have reported instances of abuse; asylum seekers can find themselves stranded for months in privately operated airport “holding areas”; and national and international human rights bodies have repeatedly called for reforms in the country’s immigration detention centres. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

The Crisis in Idlib: Testimony by Hardin Lang (March 11, 2020), Refugee International. Hardin Lang, Vice President for Programs and Policy provided a testimony at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He addressed the crisis in Idlib, its humanitarian implications and prospects for the current ceasefire recently agreed to between Turkey and Russia. Lang and his team had the opportunity to investigate the nature and scope of what has become the worst humanitarian chapter of Syria’s longstanding brutal war. Summary and video available at:

The fragmented politics of the Syrian refugee crisis jeopardises the future of millions by Juline Beaujouan and Amjed Rasheed (March 10, 2020), The Conversation. The authors argue that amid this fragmented regional landscape and the politicisation of the crisis at the regional and national levels, the fate of Syrian refugees remains unclear. Russia has offered to facilitate dialogue between host countries and the Assad regime regarding the return of Syrian populations, but the ongoing process of their return to their home country might now be hampered by diplomatic tensions between Syria and its neighbours, especially Lebanon and Turkey. Available at:

Digital and social media

Refugees International @RefugeeIntel, (March 15, 2020). As the war in Syria enters its tenth year, the most horrific chapter of the conflict is unfolding in Idlib province. A short video captures the realities of life in Idlib from refugee woman sharing what her friends and family now face. Available at:

March 5, 2020: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 81

Recent Publications and New Research

Cities and Towns (February, 2020), Forced Migration Review, Issue 63, Refugee Studies Centre. In the 20 articles on Cities and towns in this issue of FMR, policymakers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of cities and international city-focused alliances, and displaced people themselves debate the challenges facing both the urban authorities and their partners, and those who have sought refuge. A number of authors explore new ways of working in urban settings – including area-based approaches, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and city- to-city collaboration – while others offer insights and inspiration from local responses and the perspectives of displaced and host communities. Available at:

Batarseh, R. C. (2019). “Perfect Vision”: An examination of the role of census and profiling practices in visualizing and crafting refugee ‘groups’ under Contemporary Group Resettlement Programs. Journal of Refugee Studies, Oxford University Press.
This article demonstrates how the characteristically visual practices of boundary-making around prospective refugee groups comprise an important and instrumentalized version of what Rogers Brubaker (2004) calls ‘groupism’. Current practices in relation to this concept are the preconditions for the writing of specific narratives of risk, persecution and flight in UNHCR group profiles. An examination of group resettlement reveals how officials do not just choose between pre-existing refugee groups based on racial, national and ethnic categories, but rather attempt to construct an idealized conception of groups reflected in Brubaker’s notion of groupism. Available at:

Atuguba, R. A., Tuokuu, F. X. D., & Gbang, V. (2020). Statelessness in West Africa: An Assessment of Stateless Populations and Legal, Policy, and Administrative Frameworks in Ghana. Journal on Migration and Human Security. Drawing on qualitative interviews that are complemented by the analysis of government policy documents, this study examines statelessness in Ghana. It addresses a range of policy, legal, institutional, administrative, and other politico-socioeconomic matters attendant to the concept. This study defines statelessness, identifies its consequences, and offers several recommendations to prevent and reduce it in Ghana. Available at (Open access):

Brankamp, H. (2020), Refugees in uniform: community policing as a technology of government in kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, Journal of Eastern African Studies. This article demonstrates that the deployment of community policing in Kakuma camp in north-western Kenya has been far more contested. Aid organisations and Kenyan authorities have competed in determining the orientation and implementation of community policing at a time when the government was intensifying both securitisation of refugees and counter-terrorism measures. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the article illustrates that governing refugees through community policing blurs the lines between humanitarian protection, domesticating local systems of governance, and expanding the security state. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Unprepared for (re)integration: Lessons learned from Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria on Refugee Returns to Urban Areas (January 31, 2020), ReDSS. This study addresses programming and policies in relation to refugee returns and, specifically, with regards to their (re)integration within urban areas, with a focus on Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. While millions of refugees return to poverty, conflict and insecurity in all three settings, a tunnel focus on returns rather than on (re)integration has limited value for long-term planning. Stakeholders, including communities and returnees themselves, have been unprepared for what happens post-return. Available at:

Report: A voice in their futures: The Need to Empower Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh by Daniel Sullivan, (February, 2020), Refugees International. The situation for the Rohingya remains bleak despite some positive news in recent weeks. Conditions in Myanmar for those Rohingya who remain are grim. In Bangladesh, the government has put in place a series of security measures that limit the access of the Rohingya to the outside world leading to desperation inside the camps. This report is based on a recently conducted fact-finding mission in Bangladesh, which includes data from interview representatives of UN agencies, the government of Bangladesh, local and international NGOs, and Rohingya refugees themselves. Based on the findings the author reports that Rohingya are not meaningfully engaged and informed about decisions that affect them and proposes a path forward. Available at:

Report: Lebanon at a Crossroads: Growing Uncertainty for Syrian Refugees by Sahar Atrache (January 30, 2020), Refugees International. With a population estimated at around 6 million, Lebanon is host to the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. This massive influx has posed immense challenges to this small country, which lacks the adequate resources, infrastructure, and political will to respond to refugees’ needs. Lebanon is at a crossroads. Violence is rising, as is the use of excessive force against protestors and activists. The increasing drift toward repression threatens to further destabilize the country and undermine the situation of all people in Lebanon, including refugees. The current issue of Syrian refugees and pressures for their return will almost certainly be a priority for the new government. The author urges for the crisis to serve as an opportunity to radically change Lebanon’s approach toward refugees and its most impoverished citizens. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

Brazil’s humane refugee policies: Good ideas can travel north by Audrey Macklin (February 11, 2020), The Conversation. This article examines Brazil’s recently set bold precedent that should make northern states adjust the lens. Its policy toward Venezuelan refugees, in contrast to its wealthier peers, is pragmatic, humane and sensible. The author concludes that there is something to learn from Brazil, and if they can find an efficient, pragmatic way to welcome, protect and integrate hundreds of thousands of forced migrants arriving at its border, so can more affluent states. “Good ideas — like good people — can migrate north, and we should welcome them”. Available at:

The future of refugee resettlement: Made in Europe? By Susan Fratzke and Hanne Beirens (February, 2020), Migration Policy Institute. Europe’s new role as a resettlement innovator and the largest collective provider of resettlement spaces globally offer both an opportunity and responsibility. The question European and EU leaders face is what to do with their newfound resettlement muscle. The seating of the new European Commission and ongoing deliberations around how to implement UNHCR’s resettlement strategy offer an opportunity for European leaders to define an answer. The authors provide a number of recommendations for European leaders to consider. Available at:

Digital and social media

News Audio: Displacement, Youth voices, Women’s Equality by Daniel Johnson, United Nation News, (February 25, 2020). News in Brief from the United Nations covering top stories including the displacement crisis by UN chief Guterres, perspective of a refugee woman on her hopes for the future, and challenges to women’s equality. Available at: