Category Archives: Blogs

October 3, 2018: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 49

Recent Publications and New Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article can be accessed here:

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

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

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

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

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

New Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

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

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

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

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

News and blog posts

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

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

September 7, 2018: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 48

Recent Publications and New Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News and blog posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


August 23, 2018: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 47

Recent Publications and New Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

An open access version of the article is available here:

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

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

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

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

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News and blog posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 17, 2018: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 46

Recent Publications and New Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News and blog posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital and Social Media

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

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

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: