Category Archives: Blogs

December 1 2023: 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


Kurfalı, M. A., & Özçürümez, S. (2023). Residing without settling: Housing market and tactics of Syrian forced migrants in Turkey. Population, Space and Place, 29(8), e2700. This study examines the agency of forced migrants from Syria and their housing pathways in securing accommodation in a neoliberal housing market amidst increasing unwelcoming attitudes by the local population, no social housing, high dependence on rental housing prone to price hikes, and “temporary protection” legal status.

Lokot, M. (2023). Decision-Making, Violence, Resistance, and Love: Contested and Complicating Narratives of Syrian Marriages. Violence Against Women, 30(1), 31-53. Based on feminist ethnographic research with Syrian women and men in Jordan, this article explores marriages in historical and intersectional contexts before and during displacement. The article challenges common representations of Syrian marriages and advances how Syrian women’s power and agency are understood. It emphasizes women’s role in deciding to marry (or not) and discusses violence and love in marriage and resistance to proposed love marriages.

Masterson, D. (2023). Refugee Networks, cooperation, and Resource Access. American Political Science Review, 1–17. Without formal avenues for claims-making or political participation, refugees must find their own means of securing services from state and non-state providers. This article asks why some refugee communities are more effective than others in mitigating community problems.  The author uses a framework for understanding how refugees’ social networks shape the constraints and capabilities for collective action.

Streitwieser, B., Summers, K. & Crist, J. (Eds.). (2023.) Accessing Quality Education: Local and Global Perspectives from Refugees. Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield. This book shares the experiences of refugees settled in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia area (DMV) over the last ten years and their journeys back into education. What motivated their paths to access and success in education? What were their dreams and aspirations? What obstacles stood in their way, and how did they overcome them? Who helped them along the way? What advice do they have for others experiencing displacement? Finally, what can institutions and policymakers do to integrate them more successfully?

Turner, L. (2023). Who is a Refugee in Jordan? Hierarchies and Exclusions in the Refugee Recognition Regime. Journal of Refugee Studies, 1-20. This article dissects the refugee recognition regime in Jordan. The author argues that despite being conducted by UNHCR, refugee recognition is a heavily politicized process shaped by intersecting racial and national hierarchies, restrictive government regulations, and UNHCR policies. Despite Jordan hosting the ‘second highest share of refugees per capita in the world,’ relatively few protection seekers gain refugee status. When they do, it is almost always part of the resettlement process. Many remain asylum seekers for years or decades, while others cannot even register their claim for international protection with UNHCR. This article contributes to refugee studies by demonstrating how UNHCR policies change      RSD in non-signatory states. It highlights the importance of asylum/refugee registration, how state and humanitarian policies lead to some protection seekers being missed in academic analyses, and the ever-growing gap between the legal and ‘everyday’ uses of the term ‘refugee.’

Wray, H., Charsley, K., & Smith, L. (2023). Introduction to Special Issue: Family Migration in Times of Crisis. Migration Studies, 11(3), 363-379. This introduction to the Special Issue on Family Migration in Times of Crisis explains why the concept of crisis is a valuable prism to uncover new insights into family migration. For instance, crises present new risks and challenges for migrants and their families. The intersection of the temporalities of crisis with those of family migration can exacerbate periods of separation and subsequent stress and anxiety about how the family can reunify. 


Abuse, Corruption, and Accountability: Time to Reassess EU & U.S. Migration Cooperation with Tunisia. (November 16, 2023). Refugees International. Tunisia is now the principal departure point by sea for migrants and refugees seeking to transit to Europe and is struggling badly to manage the arrival and presence of a substantial population of displaced people from across Sub-Saharan Africa. Under pressure from Europe to curtail irregular migration in the Mediterranean and amidst domestic political and economic turmoil, the government of President Kais Saied is resorting to demagoguery and abuse in its ad hoc attempts to manage the challenge. This report verifies and documents that Tunisian security forces have committed grave and systematic abuses against refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants. 

Canada Public Opinion about Immigration & Refugees. (2023). Environics Institute for Survey Research and Century Initiative. 2023 has been a year in which Canadians have become less satisfied with the direction of the country and more pessimistic about the state of the economy. At the same time, the country welcomed a record number of immigrants. Against this backdrop, the latest Focus Canada research shows there has been a significant increase in the belief that there is too much immigration to Canada, due in large part to a jump in the proportion citing concerns about how newcomers might be contributing to the current housing crisis. This reflects a dramatic shift since a year ago in terms of how the public views the number of immigrants being accepted, but there has been no comparable change in what Canadians think about immigrants themselves or the contribution they make to their communities and the country. 

Davidoff-Gore, S. & Le Coz, C. (2023). Migration and Displacement in Secondary Cities: Insights from Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda. Migration Policy Institute. The world is becoming increasingly urbanized, driven by long-standing patterns of rural-urban migration and the growth of new small and mid-sized cities. While sprawling megacities often receive the most policy and public attention, secondary cities are some of the fastest growing in many parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. Migrants and displaced persons, often drawn to small and mid-sized cities by the promise of greater economic opportunities and better access to services than exist in rural areas, can nonetheless face a variety of challenges, as can the communities in which they settle. This study explores these dynamics in Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda.

McAdam, J. & Wood, T. (2023). Kaldor Centre Principles on Climate Mobility. UNSW Law & Justice. Climate change and disasters are already having far-reaching impacts on human mobility globally. In the absence of significant and scaled-up global mitigation and adaptation efforts, the risks posed by climate change are likely to continue, contributing to the movement of people both within countries and across international borders. A range of rights-based responses is needed to ensure that such a movement is safe and dignified. The Principles address a broad range of laws, policies and practices that can impact those who want to remain at home      and those who move. Holistic, interconnected, comprehensive and adaptable, they address all forms of mobility – displacement, migration, evacuations and planned relocations – as well as immobility.     


Darien Gap: As migrants take deadly risks for better lives, Canada and the U.S. must do much more by Tanya Basok and Guillermo Candiz, October 30, 2023. The Conversation. Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller recently announced that as many as 15,000 displaced people with extended family connections in Canada — most of them from Central or South America or the Caribbean — are now eligible to apply to immigrate to Canada on a humanitarian basis. By announcing this measure, Canada affirmed its commitment to a joint initiative known as Safe Mobility, launched by the United States in April 2023 to stem the irregular crossings of hundreds of thousands of people into the U.S. by offering alternatives. However, Canada’s recent announcement fails to make it clear whether admitting 15,000 displaced people is a one-off measure or whether Canada is setting an annual target.

From Ethiopia to South Africa: The human cost of a neglected migration route by Obi Anyadike, November 22, 2023. The New Humanitarian. Sometime in October last year, a truck stopped on a quiet road in northern Malawi’s Mtangatanga forest and offloaded 29 bodies. They had suffocated in the back of the vehicle and were hastily buried in shallow graves. The dead were Ethiopian men, aged between 25 and 40 – victims of a lucrative transnational smuggling network that funnels tens of thousands of people into southern Africa each year with little regard for their safety. They had entrusted their lives to an intricate – often abusive – system of people transporters. Their goal had been to reach South Africa, find work, and change the economic fortunes of their families.

‘It takes time to develop trust’: Refugees less likely to report health conditions, study finds by Penry Buckley and Aleisha Orr, November 5, 2023. SBS News. A new report reveals refugees and humanitarian entrants in Australia are much less likely to self-report cancer and mental health conditions and are also more likely to die from drowning. For instance, Among the outcomes, it found refugees were 60 percent less likely to report asthma and cancer than the rest of the Australian population and 50 percent less likely to report chronic lung conditions and mental health issues.

Supreme Judgecraft: non-refoulement and the end of the UK-Rwanda ‘deal’? by Catherine Briddick and Cathryn Costello, November 20, 2023. Verfassungsblog. The UK Supreme Court held that the Secretary of State’s policy to remove protection seekers to Rwanda was unlawful. Rwanda is not, at present, a safe third country. The Supreme Court found      “substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk that asylum claims will not be determined properly, and that asylum seekers will, in consequence, be at risk of being returned directly or indirectly to their country of origin.” Should this occur “refugees will face a real risk of ill-treatment in circumstances where they should not have been returned at all”. The authors argue that the Supreme Court’s legal reasoning and evidential assessment are impeccable, applying legal principles well-embedded in international and domestic law to clear evidence. However, the UK government’s responses are deeply troubling from the perspectives of refugee protection, international legality, and the rule of law in the UK.

Unpacking Elon Musk’s convoluted U.S.-Mexico border visit by Yvonne Su, November 5, 2023. The Conversation. In late September, Elon Musk, the tech billionaire behind Tesla and SpaceX, set the internet ablaze with his visit to the Texas-Mexico border to provide what he called an “unfiltered” perspective on the border crisis as thousands of migrants, mainly from Venezuela, crossed the Rio Grande River. Musk’s position on immigration appears convoluted. On the one hand, he says he is “extremely pro-immigrant,” given he is an immigrant to the United States himself, yet he peddles right-wing anti-refugee rhetoric. 


Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture 2023 | Who Gets Believed? A conversation with Dina Nayeri by the University of Oxford. This lecture discusses Dina Nayeri’s new book, “Who Gets Believed?” It combines deep reportage with her life experience to examine what constitutes believability in our society. Intent on exploring ideas of persuasion and performance, the speaker takes us behind the scenes in emergency rooms, corporate boardrooms, asylum interviews, and into her own family to ask – where lies the difference between being believed and being dismissed? What does this mean for our culture? 

Five podcasts about refugees you need to listen to by The UN Refugee Agency Australia for UNHCR. Since podcasts are a great way to learn about refugees and displaced people, this resource lists the best podcasts to learn about refugees. The common theme of these podcasts is that they spotlight firsthand stories of refugees and displaced people.
Key informant interviews: a practical guide for refugee and displacement researchers by Jeffery Crisp for the University of Oxford. Interviews with key informants are important to      any research project dealing with refugee, displacement and humanitarian issues. Whether you are talking to a politician, a government official, a UN or NGO employee or a civil society leader, they provide an invaluable means of gaining access to factual and topical information, an understanding of the historical context of your project, as well as ideas, insights and opinions that can shed new and different light on the evidence you have collected by other means. This resource provides 8 key guidelines based on the author’s experience as an interviewer and interviewee over the past 40 years.
Refugee Protection and AAA and others (2023-4) | Panel 1: International Refugee Law and Safe Third Countries by the University of Oxford. This series of panel discussions examines the arguments advanced in R (on the application of AAA and others) v SSHD and analyzes its implications for Rwanda, the UK, and refugee protection more broadly. The panels bring together speakers whose expertise and experience make them uniquely placed to explore the consequences of the Supreme Court’s judgement from a range of jurisdictional, institutional, political and legal perspectives.

November 10 2023: 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. 140


Acker, S. (2023). Beauty and beautification in refugees’ lives and their implications for refugee policy. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–46. This article seeks to understand the significance of everyday beauty in refugees’ lives and its implications for refugee policy. It demonstrates how beauty and beautification play an active role in how refugees (re)make home, even in temporary situations. Beauty is used to build hope, celebrate culture, create community, and honour past and present realities, and therefore has significant implications for the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees. The role of beauty in refugee homemaking suggests challenging the narrow focus on durable solutions to a more holistic framework, transforming language and policy approaches to include refugees as decision-makers, and investing in the quality of shelters, camps, and homes as a more effective way to reduce pressure on host countries.

 Al-Janaideh, R., Abdulkarim, M., Speidel, R., Filippelli, J., Colasante, T., & Malti, T. (2023). A community-based needs assessment of resettled Syrian refugee children and families in Canada. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–29. A needs assessment was conducted to identify the needs, challenges, and strengths of Syrian refugee children and families resettled in Canada and of services for them. The results indicated significant needs and challenges experienced by refugees (e.g., persistent mental health issues, lack of in-person support), as well as challenges related to refugee services (e.g., discontinuity of mental health services). Several refugee strengths (e.g., optimism for the future and strong familial ties) and refugee service strengths (e.g., service collaboration), highlight refugees’ adaptive capacities and points of service leverage to ensure refugees’ well-being and positive resettlement.

Culcasi, K. (2023). Displacing Territory: Syrian and Palestinian Refugees in Jordan”. University of Chicago Press. This piece explores how the lived realities of refugees are deeply affected by their imaginings of what constitutes territory and their sense of belonging to different places and territories. The author shows how these individual conceptualizations about territory do not always fit the Western-centric division of the world into states and territories, thus revealing alternative or subordinated forms and scales of territory. She also argues that disproportionate attention to “refugee crises” in the Global North has diverted focus from other parts of the world that bear the responsibility of protecting the majority of the world’s refugees. By focusing on Jordan, a Global South state that hosts the world’s second-largest number of refugees per capita, this book provides insights to consider alternate ways to handle the situation of refugees elsewhere. In the process, Culcasi brings the reader into refugees’ diverse realities through their own words, inherently arguing against the tendency of many people in the Global North to see refugees as aberrant, burdensome, or threatening.

Derksen, M., & Teixeira, C. (2023). Refugees and religious institutions in a mid-size Canadian city. Population, Space and Place, 29(5), e2653. This study explores how religious institutions affect refugee settlement in Kelowna, a mid-size city in British Columbia. Kelowna has had a significant increase in refugee sponsorship since the 2015 Syrian crisis, and most private sponsorship has involved churches and the local mosque in collaboration with government-funded settlement services and community partners. The results reveal that religious institutions help refugees cope with barriers and challenges in Kelowna in three main ways: bridging language barriers between newcomers, service providers, and sponsorship providers; helping newcomers establish new lives in Kelowna and move toward integration; and helping newcomers move away from precarity toward prosperity as they re-establish themselves and their families.

Schenck, Marcia C. & Reed, K. (2023). The Right to Research: Historical Narratives by Refugee and Global South Researchers. McGill/Queens University Press. Refugees and displaced people rarely figure as historical actors and rarely as historical narrators. We often assume a person residing in a refugee camp, lacking funding, training, social networks, and other material resources that enable the research and writing of academic history, cannot be a historian because a historian cannot be a person residing in a refugee camp. The Right to Research disrupts this tautology by featuring nine works by refugee and host-community researchers across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Identifying the intrinsic challenges of making space for diverse voices within a research framework and infrastructure that is inherently unequal, this edited volume offers a critical reflection on what history means, who narrates it, and what happens when those long excluded from authorship bring their knowledge and perspectives to bear. Chapters address topics such as education in Kakuma Refugee Camp, the political power of hip-hop in Rwanda, women migrants to Yemen, and the development of photojournalism in Kurdistan.​​

Warren, K. (2023). Emotions in crisis: Consequences of ceremonial refugee camp visits to Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–18. Research on refugee resettlement frequently overlooks the larger context of the experience of forced migration. As a result, the micro-level interactions between refugees and the bureaucrats who make resettlement decisions are hidden. We can better understand the socio-political dynamics between refugees and the officials deciding their resettlement cases if we approach encounters between refugees and migration officials during ceremonial visits as sites of emotional exchange. This article examines the complex socio-political emotional exchanges of power and vulnerability that underpin the refugee resettlement process through an ethnographic analysis of Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal.

Xhardez, C., & Soennecken, D. (2023). Temporary Protection in Times of Crisis: The European Union, Canada, and the Invasion of Ukraine. Politics and Governance, 11(3). This article compares the policy responses of the EU and Canada to the crisis in Ukraine, focusing on the two temporary protection schemes and differentiating between their overarching goals, policy instruments, and settings. While the policies may seem similar initially, a closer examination reveals underlying disparities, contradictions, and complexities, particularly when analyzing the precise policy instruments and settings. Considering that the past informs contemporary policy trajectories, they suggest that while the two programs build on the respective regions’ historical and political contexts, crises also create opportunities for change, raising questions about the future direction of immigration policy in both regions.


 Fratzke, S., Pulkkinen, V., & Ugolini, E. (2023). From safe homes to sponsors: Lessons from the Ukraine hosting response for refugee sponsorship programs. Migration Policy Institute. This policy brief examines the implementation of private hosting initiatives for displaced Ukrainians in a range of European countries. It situates these programs within the broader evolution of private welcoming and sponsorship initiatives in Europe and identifies key successes and limitations. The brief also offers recommendations that could help civil society, governments, and the European Union further develop hosting initiatives and refine refugee resettlement and community sponsorship programs.

Marks, J. (2023). By land or by sea: Syrian refugees weigh their futures. Refugees International. After 12 years of war, nearly 5.2 million Syrian refugees in Türkiye, Lebanon, and Jordan are caught in an increasingly untenable limbo. Host countries are normalizing relations with the Syrian government and are eager for refugees to depart, even though there is no foreseeable prospect of them ever safely returning to Syria. The time has come for a serious global conversation on durable solutions for Syrian refugees—one that acknowledges the impossibility of return and grapples seriously with expanded local integration and global resettlement.

Omata, N. & Gidrom, Y. (2023). Refugee entrepreneurship in Rwanda. University of Oxford. This research brief shows how refugees take advantage of their freedom of movement to establish trade networks and engage with the Rwandan economy, explores some of the differences between refugee enterprises in Mahama and Kigali, and includes recommendations for policymakers and development and humanitarian actors for enhancing the feasibility and impact of entrepreneurship support for refugees in Rwanda.

Ugolini, E., & Damian Smith, C. (2023). Why matching matters: Improving outcomes in refugee sponsorship and complementary pathways. Migration Policy Institute. This policy brief explores the evolution of community sponsorship, complementary pathways, and resettlement programs’ approaches to matching refugees with sponsors or receiving communities and highlights opportunities for further innovation. The analysis includes a close look at novel approaches to matching developed by initiatives responding to high-profile emergencies, including the Ukrainian displacement crisis.


Canada-U.S. refugee pact changes expected to ‘exacerbate existing threats’: memo by Jim Bronskill, October 21, 2023. CityNews Everywhere. This news article is about how a newly released memo shows federal officials warned last spring that expanding a bilateral refugee pact to the entire Canada-U.S. border would likely fuel smuggling networks and encourage people to seek more dangerous, remote crossing routes.

Palestinians in Lebanon’s largest refugee camp brace for another round of conflict by Hanna Davis and Haisam el-Hreich, October 25, 2023. The New Humanitarian. Hostilities between Israel and Hamas in Gaza are threatening to spill over into Lebanon, raising fears in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp for Palestinians that residents still recovering from earlier unrest could once again see their lives upended. Since Hamas, the Palestinian political and militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, launched a deadly incursion into Israel on 7 October, the clashes have largely subsided. However, residents fear another round of conflict, this time triggered by an expansion of the Gaza war into Lebanon.

Shahrzad and 21 other women just walked from Melbourne to Canberra. Here’s why by Niv Sadrolodabaee and Carl Dixon, October 23, 2023. SBS Language. Twenty-two women, who have joined a dozen asylum seekers who protested at Parliament House, completed a 700 km protest walk from Melbourne to Canberra. The protesters, mostly on temporary or bridging visas, are demanding a resolution to their visa status.

Yesterday’s crisis: Australia cuts aid to Rohingya refugees by Stephen Howes, October 24, 2023. Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre. This article discusses how Rohingya people living in Bangladesh are struggling due to the spread of scabies and malnutrition. However, Australia is cutting aid to Rohingya refugees due to donor fatigue and shifting priorities, as the Pacific is their focus.

Why Egypt and other Arab countries are unwilling to take in Palestinian refugees from Gaza by Jack Jeffery and Samy Magdy, October 18, 2023. Associated Press. The article discusses why neighbouring countries are not taking in Palestinian refugees from Gaza. It discusses that their refusal is rooted in fear that Israel wants to force a permanent expulsion of Palestinians into their countries and nullify Palestinian demands for statehood. The President of Egypt also said a mass exodus would risk bringing militants into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, from where they might launch attacks on Israel, endangering the two countries’ 40-year-old peace treaty.


A Cold Climate for Refugee Women? (WiRL Seminar Series 2023/24 Seminar One) by Women in Refugee Law (WiRL). This will be the first in a series of free online seminars hosted by the Women in Refugee Law (WiRL) network on the 2023/24 theme of “Refuge in a cold climate: the impact on women.” These are public events, ideal for anyone whose work relates to refugee or asylum-claiming women or with an interest in the needs and experiences of refugee women. This series will draw on WiRL’s global membership to apply a gendered lens in analyzing the impact of increasing hostility to refugees in different states and contexts. Seminar One: A Cold Climate for Refugee Women? Mon, 27 Nov 2023 15:30 – 16:45 GMT.

A Multi-Sector World Café to Promote the Mental Health of Refugees in BC by UBC Centre for Migration Studies. The purpose of the World Café is to convene and collaborate with service users, health practitioners, settlement service providers, and policymakers to gain your expertise and knowledge about what you think to work to promote integrated mental health services and support for people who have experienced migration, such as refugees. It will take place on November 28, 2023, 11:45 AM – 4:00 PM PST at Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

Refugee women get on the tools to build new lives by ABC Listen. This podcast episode is about how arriving in a new country can be terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure, even more so when you are a refugee. There are more than 11,000 refugee migrant women around the Hunter Valley in Australia — many of them have come from countries where they may not have had a chance to get an education or where they have been treated as second-class citizens. Now, a new local course aims to empower these women and give them skills they never thought they could learn — all in the male-dominated construction field.

Sheaves of hope: Rice farming masks impacts of floods in Turalei

Anyiel Mayik harvests her one feddan farm in Mapeer-amaal, Turalei Payam of Twic County, Warrap State. Photo: Mamer Abraham

In a long swamp commonly known as Toch that stretches from Turalei in Warrap State to Bentiu in Unity State and possibly beyond according to residents, women soak feet in flood water. Continue reading Sheaves of hope: Rice farming masks impacts of floods in Turalei

School feeding scales up enrolment in Gogrial

“I am really happy about the school feeding programme and this is really a very much need for the students who are coming for learning. Because when the students come for learning, and then they have food, they get all the nutrition that are needed, and the physical strength they are in need.” Principal of Christ the King Primary School.

Malnutrition wanes in Warrap as WFP introduces vegetable farming

“We started introducing these new crops three years ago and in Twic we are supporting 22,000 households with different variety of crops including rice, we are doing cassava, we are doing in sweet potatoes, so these all with an intention to be able to get food for their houses.” WFP Deputy Head of Programme in Kuajok, Warrap State.

October 26 2023: 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. 139

A message from the RRN Team

We want to warmly welcome everyone to the new academic year, even though it is a bit belated. As the world keeps experiencing significant events, the importance of conducting strong research on refugee matters, displacement, and resilience has never been more critical. Therefore, we are thrilled to announce that our RRN Research Digest will once again be published bi-weekly for this academic year.

We are also delighted to introduce our newest team member, Celina Lieu, who will now coordinate the research digest. Handing over the reins to younger scholars reflects RRN’s dedication to growth, fostering fresh perspectives, and ensuring the sustainability of our research endeavors.

We sincerely appreciate your contributions to open-access research and encourage you to keep sharing all of your relevant work with us. It greatly enhances the content of the RRN Research Digest. Please reach out to Celina at with your submissions and ideas.

Warm regards,

The RRN Team


Barnes, J., & Theule, J. (2023). Examining associations between maternal trauma, child attachment security, and child behaviours in refugee families. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–17. The article examines post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms in refugee mothers and the relationships between maternal trauma, child attachment security, and child internalizing and externalizing behaviours. The findings of the study suggest that child attachment security may protect against maternal trauma.

Clark-Kazak, C. (2023). “Why care now” in forced migration research? : Imagining a radical feminist ethics of care. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 22(4), 1151–1173. This article lays out the ethical, epistemological, and methodological reasons for radical care ethics in research on forced migration. Drawing on a growing body of literature and recent initiatives to codify ethics in forced migration studies, it highlights the transformational potential of a radical feminist care approach to the “ethical turn” in the field. 

Clark-Kazak, C. (2023). Research across borders: An introduction to interdisciplinary, cross-cultural methodology. University of Toronto Press. Research across Borders introduces key concepts and methods to understand and critically analyze research in academic books and journals, as well as in media, government reports, and anywhere else information is found. This book addresses the opportunities and challenges of undertaking research in international, cross-border, and cross-cultural contexts.

Collyer, M., & Uttara, S. (2023). Offshoring refugees: Colonial echoes of the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership. Social Sciences 12: 451
British proposals to forcibly deport asylum seekers to Rwanda have raised fierce opposition from across the political spectrum in the UK and internationally. Colonial policies of forcible removal, relocation, displacement, and dispersal around the Empire are well established. The article draws attention to these longer histories before investigating more recent cases of the dispersal of refugees within the British Empire in the twentieth century, and the colonial practices of forcible displacement of individuals inform the current agreement between the UK and Rwanda is highlighted in this paper.  

Henningsen, G. (2023). Big Data for the Prediction of Forced Displacement. International Migration Review. In recent years, UNHCR has intensified its efforts to integrate various data sources, ranging from satellite imagery to newspapers to online digital data, into estimates of refugees and persons of concern. These novel data sources offer the opportunity to improve planning about early warning and acute crisis situations. This paper outlines the potential of big data and presents examples of how some of those data sources are currently used in the organization. 

Hynie, M., Oda, A., Calaresu, M., Kuo, B. C., Ives, N., Jaimes, A., Bokore, N., Beukeboom, C., Ahmad, F., Arya, N., Samuel, R., Farooqui, S., Palmer-Dyer, J.-L., & McKenzie, K. (2023). Access to virtual mental healthcare and support for refugee and immigrant groups: A scoping review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 25(5), 1171–1195. Immigrant and refugee populations face multiple barriers to accessing mental health services. This scoping review applies the Patient-Centred Access to Healthcare model in exploring the potential of increased access through virtual mental healthcare services for these populations by examining the affordability, availability/accommodation, and appropriateness and acceptability of virtual mental health interventions and assessments. 

Lepp, A., & Gerasimov, B. (2023). Editorial: Labour, migration, and exploitation during COVID-19 and lessons (not) learnt. Anti-Trafficking Review, (21), 1–15. This article reviews the impacts of COVID-19 on labour, migration, and human trafficking. It outlines some of the main challenges internal and cross-border migrants faced during the pandemic, including closures of workplaces, deportations, lack of access to healthcare and social support, increasing xenophobia and racism, and more.

McNally, R. (2023). Equally Public and Private Refugee Resettlement: The Historical Development of Canada’s Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–17. For over 40 years, Canada’s Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program has combined government financial assistance, professional settlement services, and private sponsor settlement support for refugees with “special needs.” With high public and private involvement, the program offers another potential model for sponsorship, yet existing knowledge about the program is limited. This article explores the historical development of the program, highlighting three time periods: 1979–1981, when it launched; 1998–2001 when it welcomed thousands of Kosovars and expanded as selection criteria prioritized vulnerability; and 2014–2019, as it increasingly competed with other sponsorship programs. 

Pendakur, R., & Sarna, S. Mr Speaker: The changing nature of parliamentary debates on immigration in Canada. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue Canadienne de Sociologie, 00, 1-30. This article looks at the changing nature of political debates concerning immigration over a five-decade period in the Canadian House of Commons. In the 1990s, party views on immigration in Canada became more extreme when the Progressive Conservative Party split. The Liberal Party leaned more to the left, and the Reform/Alliance/Conservative parties moved further to the right and stayed that way until 2015. After that, the Conservatives and the Liberals started moving toward the middle. 

Pozuelo JR, Bradenbrink R, Stierna MF, and Sterck O. (2023). Depression, violence and socioeconomic outcomes among refugees in East Africa: Evidence from a multicountry representative survey. BMJ Mental Health, 26:1–8. Existing research on refugee mental health is heavily skewed towards refugees in high-income countries, even though most refugees (83%) are hosted in low-income and middle-income countries. This problem gets more complicated because the groups of people typically studied are not always representative, the samples are sometimes small, and not many people respond. This study aims to give accurate results about how many people from various refugee groups in East Africa have depression and what might be connected to it. 

Schenck, M.C. & Reed, K. (2023). The Right to Research: Historical Narratives by Refugee and Global South Researchers. McGill-Queen’s University Press. The Right to Research features nine works by refugee and host-community researchers across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. It identifies the intrinsic challenges of making space for diverse voices within a research framework and infrastructure that is inherently unequal. This edited volume offers a critical reflection on what history means, who narrates it, and what happens when those long excluded from authorship bring their knowledge and perspectives to bear. The chapters address topics such as education in Kakuma Refugee Camp, the political power of hip-hop in Rwanda, women migrants to Yemen, and the development of photojournalism in Kurdistan.

Ziersch, A., Loehr, N., & Miller, K. (2023). Discrimination in the private rental market in Australia: Large families from refugee backgrounds. Housing Studies, 1–25. This article examines the many challenges, such as discrimination, refugee and asylum seekers face in the private rental market, as securing appropriate housing is a crucial component of resettlement for people with refugee experience. Market factors and risk assessments were highlighted as contributing to discrimination and how agents’ and lessors’ working definitions of discrimination manifested in their tenant selection practices. While service providers and some agents sought to counter discriminatory practices, the significant impact of discriminatory housing practices for refugees and asylum seekers was evident and posed important policy and practice questions.   


Barbour, B. (2023). Asylum capacity development: Building new and strengthening existing systems.  Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. Refugees are guaranteed a set of rights under international law. However, the asylum system that they encounter in the country where they seek refuge determines if they can enjoy those rights. An ‘asylum system’ can be understood as the legal, institutional, and social arrangements in place to meet the needs of refugees. Asylum capacity development (ACD) is the emerging area of policy and practice concerned with strengthening asylum systems. This Policy Brief sets out an approach to strengthen asylum systems, provides practical guidance by setting out a framework that can be used to evaluate existing or proposed asylum systems, and promotes a needs-based approach that seeks to develop capacities or scale them up to meet the identified needs of refugees.

Collins, J., Reid, C., Groutsis, D., Hughes, S., Watson, K., Kaabel, A. (2023). Refuge and family futures in Australia: Settlement outcomes of recently arrived refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. University of Sydney Business School and the MERCI@WResearch Group. The report looks at regional vs. metropolitan refugee settlement experiences and family, social class, and religious dimensions of the refugee settlement experience. It is enlivened by detailed quotes from the refugee adults and youth about their experiences, aspirations, hopes and concerns about their families’ lives in Australia. Settlement outcomes – education, language, employment and belonging – improved significantly over time (between 2017-2022). These evidence-based findings demonstrate that Australian refugee intakes can be substantially increased.

Shakespeare, M., Pham, L., Chitranshi, B., McMahon, T., Khorana, S., Magee, L. Bau, V. (2023). Foundations for Belonging 2023: Exploring refugees’ understanding and engagement with First Nations issues and histories. SSI/Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. This report covers a four-year research project on the resettlement journey of refugees in Australia, with the latest exploring how refugees understood Indigenous issues. The report found that knowledge of Indigenous history and its survival over thousands of years can inspire refugees and their children with a sense of safety to continue their own cultural traditions. It also noted that both refugees and Indigenous people’s experiences were often characterized as “deficient, singular and sensationalized.” 

Frensch, K., & Akesson, B. (2022). Socio-Spatial Initiatives to Foster Belonging Among Refugee Families Resettled in Canada: A Narrative Review and Future Directions. Centre for Research on Security Practices. Wilfrid Laurier University. This report discusses the impacts of displacement and resettlement on refugees and their families in an unfamiliar place. These impacts include every aspect of families’ socio-spatial environments, like cultural norms, religious traditions, and support networks. Most programs and policies that assist in resettling refugee families often do not explicitly address elements related to place, despite the importance of social and physical environments in the well-being and belonging of refugee families. This report looks at the initiatives that help refugee families maintain their cultural identities and connections with their country of origin and establish a new sense of belonging in their resettlement communities.

Refugee Council of Australia. (2023). Implementing the refugee participation pledge. The brief outlines how RCOA has progressed in its commitment as an organizational member of the Global Refugee-led Network to support the meaningful participation of refugees in decisions that affect their lives. The Global Refugee-led Network developed three objectives for implementing the Refugee Participation Pledge in the lead-up to the 2023 Global Refugee Forum scheduled for December in Geneva.  


Asylum seekers bring message to ministers’ front doors by Jane Salmon, September 28, 2023. Independent Australia. The article showcases how refugees have been holding peaceful vigils outside the offices of key ministers in Australia in a campaign for permanent visas. The majority of those attending are Iranians who are at odds with the current regime. 

Canada-U.S. refugee pact changes expected to ‘exacerbate existing threats’: memo by Jim Bronskill, October 21, 2023. The Canadian Press. A newly released memo shows federal officials warned last spring that expanding a bilateral refugee pact to the entire Canada-U.S. border would likely fuel smuggling networks and encourage people to seek more dangerous, remote crossing routes. Officials feared the development would also strain RCMP resources as irregular migrants dispersed more widely across the vast border. 

How Black African students experience forced displacement from Ukraine by Lindsey N Kingston and Igho Ekakitie, Forced Migration Review, September 2023. This article draws on interviews with 15 Black African students, aged 19 to 29, who were displaced from Ukraine in February 2022. The interviews centred on the decision-making processes that brought them to safety and their migration journeys. 

Rethinking forced migrants’ well-being: lessons from Ukraine by Reo Morimitsu and Supriya Akerkar, Forced Migration Review, September 2023. This article draws on a study examining levels of positive changes and their predictors among conflict-affected Ukrainian internally displaced persons. The focus was on post-traumatic growth, a phenomenon described as “positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances.” 

The role of media and information in supporting internally displaced women in Ukraine by Sally Gowland, Forced Migration Review, September 2023. This piece talks about the results of a study that sought to generate a comprehensive understanding of issues related to internally displaced Ukrainian women’s information and communication needs. 

The Supreme Court quashes immigration decisions that found two foreign nationals inadmissible to Canada, The Supreme Court of Canada, September 27, 2023. Earl Mason and Seifeslam Dleiow are foreign nationals in Canada who were both legally charged after an altercation. Following these incidents, officials at the Canada Border Services Agency prepared reports alleging that both Mr. Mason and Mr. Dleiow were inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The Supreme Court has allowed their appeals. A person can only be found inadmissible to the country under section 34(1)(e) of the IRPA if they engage in violent conduct linked to national security or the security of Canada.  


How irregular migrants access support in cities by Maxime Felder (Cogitatio Press). This talk is about the paradoxical nature of inclusion for irregular migrants in cities. Maxime Felder examines how support is delivered, how it is experienced by different categories of irregular migrants, and how frontline social workers make sense of their work. The episode is based on ethnographic research with young North African irregular migrants in Geneva, Switzerland.

2023 Hybrid Academic & Policy Symposium by Centre for Migration Studies of New York. Join the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) for its annual Academic & Policy Symposium on November 14, 2023, from 10:00am – 5:00pm (ET). This hybrid event will take place at the law offices of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP (1 New York Plaza / 1 FDR Drive, New York, NY), with virtual access for those unable to attend in person. For those attending virtually, a link to join before the event date will be sent via email. 

May 26 2023: 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. 138

Dear RRN colleagues and friends near and far,

This issue concludes the 2022-223 academic year as we break for the summer with a planned return in September 2023.

Thank you to our readers  for your continued interest and support, and our contributors for  sharing your innovative refugee research with us!

We look forward to continuing to mobilize knowledge together in the upcoming academic year and we wish you a safe, relaxing, and fun summer.

RRN Team


Moodley, R. (2023). Rethinking ‘regional processing’ in Europe: lessons from the Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) for indochinese refugees. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 1-19. What could or should a ‘regional processing’ framework entail to be compatible with international human rights law principles? The author examines the question by drawing practical insights from the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees, the first international attempt to introduce region-wide processing during the Indochinese refugee crisis in the 1970s-1980s. The paper explores how ‘regional processing’ might be reconceptualized to expand protection pathways to Europe and inform a protection-orientated approach to international cooperation on asylum and migration.

Kuru, N., Alici, N. K., Akman, B. (2023). The social ecology of health promotion within war-effected refugee preschool children. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 94. This study focuses on understanding the factors that influence the health of young children living in refugee camps affected by war. Currently, there is limited research on health promotion frameworks for this population. The study used storytelling to gather information from 20 Syrian refugee children aged five to six years. Four main themes emerged from the data: risk factors contributing to illness, awareness of illness, strategies for dealing with illness, and protecting and promoting health. These findings suggest that health promotion programs for refugee children should take a holistic approach that considers biological, social, and ecological factors.

Ilona Bontenbal  (2023)The good, the bad and the advantageous: Migrants’ attitudes towards other migrants. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 94. This study examines the attitudes of migrants living in Finland towards other migrants. It explores how these attitudes are formed and affect the categorization and hierarchy of different migrant groups. The researchers conducted 77 qualitative interviews with migrants in 2018-2019 and analyzed the data using various theories of minority relations. The findings reveal that migrants evaluate other migrants based on perceived advantages, such as integration, hard work, non-threatening behaviour, similarity to Finns, being “white,” and not relying on welfare benefits. These evaluations lead to the formation of hierarchies, which are partially based on ethnicity. Migrants also emphasize their distinctiveness from other migrant groups to avoid being unfairly grouped and discriminated against. The assumption of shared characteristics with the majority population guides the idea of fitting in.

Fatih Özdemir, Meryem Kaynak Malatyalı, Nuray Sakallı (2023). Anti-refugee attitudes towards Syrian people living in Turkey: Culture dimensions and motivational personal dispositions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 94. This study examines the relationship between the internalization of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, anti-refugee attitudes, and the mediating roles of needs for cognition and recognition. It focuses on the sociodemographic changes in Turkey due to the Syrian civil war, which resulted in a large number of Syrian refugees seeking asylum. The sample for the study consisted of 439 Turkish university students. The main findings indicate that the internalization of cultural dimensions such as long-term orientation, masculinity, and uncertainty avoidance predicts the likelihood of holding anti-refugee attitudes. The results provide valuable insights for interested parties to address negative attitudes and support the integration and adaptation of refugees into society.

Wellman, E. I. (2023). Refugee status as a patronage good? The interaction of transnational party mobilization and migration policy in the global southJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 49(10), 1-21. This article investigates how the Zimbabwean opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), operated across borders to engage migrant supporters in South Africa during the 2000s. It uses various sources, including interviews with former MDC officials and Zimbabwean civil society organizers in the diaspora. The article explores the difficulties of involving the diaspora in contexts of poverty, legal insecurity, and political violence in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. By combining research on transnational party mobilization with the study of distributive politics and clientelism, the article demonstrates how assistance with asylum became a form of patronage, given to party members in exchange for their involvement in party activities and electoral support. The article also highlights the challenges Zimbabweans face in South Africa, blurring the line between forced and voluntary migration, and the severe consequences for those who do not fit neatly into legal definitions of refugee movements.

Reports, and Policy Briefs and Opinion Pieces

Nelson Graham, Margaret Walton-Roberts, and Valerie Preston, (2023). ‘Removing Caps on International Students’ Paid Work’, Building more resilient cities (BMRC). This policy review which builds on a webinar, discusses the following questions:

  • How will the increase in work hours influence the number of people applying to be international students in Canada and why?
  • How many students will increase their work hours?
  • How will working more hours affect international students’ academic success, quality of life, and chances of becoming permanent residents in Canada?
  • How will this regulatory change affect Canadian labour markets? Who benefits from the regulatory changes?
  • What is needed to make this policy change positive for international students and enhance their contributions to Canada?

Rasha Arous (2023). Towards a better implementation of the UNHCR urban refugee policy, Policy Brief No. 13, May 2023. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) introduced a new policy in 2009 called the Urban Refugee Policy. This policy aimed to shift the focus from managing refugees in camps to recognizing their presence and rights in cities and host countries. However, the policy has faced challenges in its implementation. It lacks a nuanced understanding of urban contexts and has been criticized for being vague and incoherent. This policy brief emphasizes the need for an integrated approach, data-driven policy tools, integration of various initiatives, and meaningful participation of refugees and local stakeholders in policy design and implementation. The recommendations aim to enhance the effectiveness of the UNHCR’s efforts in supporting urban refugees and addressing their unique needs.

Anna Triandafyllidou (2023). Complex Migration Flows and Multiple Drivers: What Do We Know? Toronto Metropolitan Centre for Immigration and Settlement (TMCIS) & the CERC in Migration and Integration. Working Paper No. 2023/05. This paper aims to analyze the drivers of migration at different levels (macro, meso, and micro) and their interactions. The goal is to develop an analytical framework for studying international migration. The paper reviews existing literature on various factors influencing migratory flows, including social, economic, political, demographic, and environmental drivers. It also examines the role of intermediaries, such as networks and institutions, and explores individual and household decision-making processes in different cultural and spatial contexts. The paper acknowledges that migration can be voluntary or forced, recognizing that different degrees of choice are involved. Lastly, it emphasizes that migration is a complex and nonlinear process often involving multiple destinations and intermediate stages or new beginnings.

News and blog posts

Mohammad Zaman, ‘What if the Rohingya are not repatriated?’, The Daily Star, May 6,  2023. A pilot project to repatriate over 1,100 Rohingya refugees is now in discussion. However, according to experts and informed sources, Myanmar is taking this symbolic step to “lighten the responsibility” in its next submission to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May regarding the Rohingya genocide. Nevertheless, as of writing this piece, no repatriation has taken place.

Editorial, ‘Treat Uyghurs justly’, Bangkok Post, May 2, 2023. The Thai government forcibly repatriated 109 Uyghur men and boys to China in 2015, and their whereabouts remain unknown. Additionally, 170 Uyghur women and children were allowed to travel to Turkey. The author emphasizes the importance of the Thai government providing humanitarian assistance and upholding the non-refoulement policy outlined in the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act. This act prohibits officials from returning individuals to their home countries if they fear torture. The author urges the Thai government to adhere to these principles and protect the rights and well-being of Uyghur refugees.

Cristiano D’Orsi, Sudan refugee crisis: aid agencies face huge challenges as hundreds of thousands flee violence, The Conversation, May 11, 2023. The confrontation between General Abdelfatah El-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, two influential Sudanese generals, has pushed Sudan to the brink of another civil war. The conflict has primarily unfolded in Khartoum, the capital, and has resulted in a dire humanitarian crisis. Many individuals are fleeing the violence and seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, leading to a significant displacement of people. The author, an expert in international law and refugees, highlights his major concerns regarding the situation and emphasizes the necessary actions to tackle these challenges. The focus should be on addressing the humanitarian needs of the affected population and finding sustainable solutions to the conflict in Sudan.

Mary Anne Kenny, Carol Frech, Nicholas Procter, ‘Government must use trauma-informed approach to end uncertainty on refugee visa applications’, The Conversation, May 15,  2023. The Albanian government has announced that refugees in Australia on Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV) will now be granted permanent visas called Resolution of Status Visas (ROS). This change provides stability for an estimated 20,000 refugees who have faced years of uncertainty. However, research shows that the visa uncertainty has had a detrimental impact on the mental health of asylum seekers. While the ROS visas offer a pathway to family reunification, strict rules and high visa charges may still cause ongoing separation. The government needs to adopt a trauma-informed approach and collaborate with experts to address the ongoing uncertainty and mental health challenges refugees face.

Tafi Mhaka, ‘Sudanese refugees deserve as much help as Ukrainians’, Al Jazeera, May 12,  2023. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak avoided answering a question about providing safe and legal routes for Sudanese children seeking refuge in the UK. Instead, he spoke about evacuating British diplomats from Sudan. The UK government’s selective support for refugees is evident in its different treatment of Ukrainians and Sudanese asylum seekers. The author argues that the discrimination against African refugees reflects a broader prejudice in European attitudes towards migration. Urgent action is needed to create safe and legal pathways for Sudanese victims of conflict to seek asylum and prevent further suffering and loss of life.

Digital and social media

Short video Series: Christina Clark-Kazak, Introduction to Forced Migration: This 8-part video series explores key issues related to borders, definitions, asylum, refugee protection, and more! It is an excellent pedagogical tool of interest to educators, policy actors and anyone concerned about forced migration in Canada.

May 4 2023: 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. 137


Eleanor Paynter (2022). Testimony on the Move: Navigating the Borders of (In)visibility with Migrant -Led Soundwalksa/b: Auto/Biography Studies, 37(1), 129-152. With the Rome-based soundwalk initiative “Invisible Guides,” migrant narrators lead neighbourhood tours, recounting Roman history while witnessing their own experiences. This essay discusses the potential for these testimonial transactions between authors, participants, and urban space to challenge the invisibilization of migrant realities within the city center. (up to 50 free views are available here)

Kutor, S. K., Arku, G., & Bandauko, E. (2023). Instead of ‘writing against’ and discarding ‘immigrants’ integration, why not reconceptualize integration as a wicked conceptComparative Migration Studies11(1), 1-16. This paper raises an important question relating to the benefit or otherwise of writing against the concept of integration in the field of integration studies. The paper asks: Is it appropriate to write against and reject the concept of integration? The authors respond to this question from a provocative conceptual perspective. They argue that when the concept is purged of its inherent criticisms and reconceptualized as a wicked concept, it still offers a unique analytical spectrum with which scholars can approach several substantive critical questions regarding immigrants’ integration.

Kulu, H., Christison, S., Liu, C., & Mikolai, J. (2023). The war, refugees, and the future of Ukraine’s populationPopulation, Space and Place, 29(4), 1-13. This study analyses the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 on the future of Ukraine’s population. Ukraine’s population is projected to decline by one-sixth over the next two decades and become older. Past and current demographic developments primarily drive these trends: continued very low fertility and large-scale emigration at the turn of the century. With war casualties and a large portion of the Ukrainian population seeking safety abroad from the conflict, the country’s population is projected to decline by one-third. Russia’s invasion has not only led to immense human and economic costs in Ukraine in the present but also carries long-term demographic repercussions.

Santen, S. D. (2022). Keeping Countries Safe from Refugees–How the Canadian Courts Interpret International Law to Place Sovereign Rights Above Individual Rights [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Toronto. This thesis examines the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States, and the ongoing litigation contesting its compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Drawing from the work of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) scholars, the thesis traces the development and creation of racially motivated but facially neutral laws and procedures in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to present-day immigration control measures. The thesis argues that the architecture of international law elevates sovereign rights over those of the individual, and this structural imbalance has encouraged and facilitated the widespread diffusion of ‘safe country’ agreements between states.

Kassam, S., O’Mahony, J., & Clark, N. (2023). Factors supporting settlement among Syrian refugee women: A longitudinal participatory action research studyInternational Health Trends and Perspectives, 3(1), 88-105. In Canada, over 50,000 Syrian refugees have resettled through varying resettlement programs. Half of the refugees are women who are mothers or of child-bearing age, experiencing numerous health disparities. This article reports findings from a larger, Canadian-based study inquiring into the factors supporting and shaping the settlement and integration experiences among women who are Syrian refugees and mothering. A longitudinal intersectionality-framed participatory action approach was initiated through multiple meetings with diverse non-profit community organizations focused on refugee health and settlement. The two findings described in this article convey facilitators that add to understanding influences on the mental well-being of Syrian refugee mothering women. Unique to this study is the novel integration of peer research assistants and a model of support which contributes to an ethical and inclusive approach to understanding lived experiences among refugee women.


Lokot, M., Hashmi, I., & Hartman, E. (2023). Participation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in research: guidance for researchers from researchers. This guide is for researchers (including humanitarian practitioners) seeking guidance on promoting the participation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) within the research process. It is based on a qualitative study exploring how humanitarian practitioners and academics operationalize participation in their research with these populations, with a particular focus on experiences researching gender equality and gender-based violence (GBV). 

Sakamoto, I., Lin, K., Tang, J., Lam, H., Yeung, B., Nhkum, A., Cheung, E., Zhao, K., & Quan, P. (2023). 2020 in Hindsight: Intergeneration conversations on Anti-Asian Racism during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO) & Factor-Iwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. This report fills a gap in community-based research focused on first-person accounts of experiences of anti-Asian racism and stories of resistance. It also clearly outlines Calls to Action — for governments, schools, those in the social work and human services fields, and others — to address anti-Asian racism on the ground.


Linn Biörklund, ‘Tragedies, not accidents: Tougher Canadian and U.S. border policies will cost more lives’, The Conversation, April 12, 2023. The most recent example of this environment of rejection in North America is the closure of Roxham Road between Québec and New York state. At midnight on March 24, 2023, the closure was enforced to stop asylum-seekers from entering Canada at unofficial border crossings. These are not isolated events but part of deliberately constructed transnational border infrastructure that slams the door on certain people moving across borders, even though freedom of mobility is a fundamental human right.

Shelby Carvalho and Alebachew Kemisso Haybano, ‘Ethiopia was feted for expanding education rights for refugees, then politics got in the way’, The Conversation, April 13, 2023. The new system was expected to improve teaching, learning and financial support for refugee schools. It would also bring them into the Ethiopian national system. The implementation, however, had become mired in turf wars between the national refugee agency and the education ministry. As a result, the expected benefits were largely unrealized, for the school-going refugee children.

Nicholas Keung, Why do Roma living in Europe flee to Canada? Is life that bad thereThe Star, April 16, 2023. Critics say deep-rooted ‘anti-Gypsyism’ in Europe amounts to ethnic persecution, and EU rules also play a role in driving marginalized Roma out of the continent.

Dania Koleilat Khatib, Local solutions should come first in Syria, Arab News, April 27, 2023. Since Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s visit to Damascus last week, the discourse in the international community has centered on whether or not to talk to Bashar Assad. The author argues that the international community should move from a normative discourse to a more practical one. It should talk to whoever makes a difference on the ground.

 ‘Why narratives around migration in Latin America need to change’, The New Humanitarian, April 18, 2023. Flipping the Narrative is an ongoing series that puts the voices of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants at the centre of conversations about the policies and events that shape their lives. This fourth essay examines the consequences of refugees in Latin America being neglected by Global North-led migration narratives and why it is time for a change.

Tania Das Gupta and Yvonne Su, Canada’s costly housing market leaves international students open to exploitation, The Conversation Canada, April 30, 2023. Skyrocketing rent prices in Canada’s major cities are leaving more and more people struggling to find an affordable place to live. National conversations about the housing crisis often overlook a growing segment of the population extremely vulnerable to housing discrimination, rent gouging, rights abuses and sexual harassment: international students.

April 20 2023: 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. 136


Ata, A. (2023). Transnational Migration, Diaspora, and Identity: A Study of Kurdish Diaspora in London. This book explores a common but almost forgotten historical argument that positions the Kurds as powerless victims of the First World War (WW1). The author examines Kurdish diaspora integration and identity in some major cities in Sweden, Finland and Germany, with a specific focus and an in-depth discussion on the negotiation of multiculturalism in London. This book uncovers the gaps in the existing literature, and critically highlights the dominance of policy- and politics-driven research in this field, thereby justifying the need for a more radical social constructivist approach by recognizing flexible, multifaceted, and complex human cultural behaviours in different situations through the consideration of the lived experiences and by presenting more direct voices of members of the Kurdish diaspora in London, and by articulating the new and radical concept of Kurdish Londoner. 

Vaswani, M., Sutter, A., Lapshina, N., & Esses, V. M. (2023). Discrimination Experienced by Immigrants, Racialized Individuals, and Indigenous Peoples in Small‐and Mid‐Sized Communities in Southwestern Ontario. Canadian Review of Sociology 60(1), 92-113. The authors investigate discrimination experiences of (1) immigrants and racialized individuals, (2) Indigenous peoples, and (3) comparison White non-immigrants in nine regions of Southwestern Ontario containing small- and mid-sized communities. In most regions, over 80 percent of Indigenous peoples reported experiencing discrimination in the past three years. Over 60 percent of immigrants and racialized individuals in more then half of the regions did so. Indigenous peoples, immigrants and racialized individuals were most likely to experience discrimination in employment and public settings, and were most likely to attribute this discrimination to racial and ethnocultural factors, and for Indigenous peoples, also their Indigenous identity. The findings are critical to creating and implementing effective anti-racism and anti-discrimination strategies.

Gyan, C., Chireh, B., Chuks-Eboka, N., & Yeboah, A. S. (2023). Reconsidering the conceptualization of resilience: the experiences of refugee and immigrant youth in Montreal. Applied research in quality of life, 1-25. Resettlement service providers associate Refugee and Immigrant Youth (RIY)’s resilience with their assimilation and integration into the Western culture. This definition is insensitive to cultural and social factors that contextualize RIY’s definition of resilience. Drawing from in-depth interviews of Refugees and Immigrant youths in Montreal, and using Resilience as a conceptual framework, the research study investigated the barriers to the integration of RIY and their conceptualization of resilience. The study found social isolation, cultural differences between the host and home communities, racism, hostility, aggression, and language to be barriers to RIY’s integration. The youth conceptualized resilience as a form of adaptability to any situation; as the ability to integrate into a new society while remaining deeply rooted in one’s culture and past experiences; and as overcoming marginalization. The paper contributes to a nuanced critical understanding of refugee and migration studies. Further, it sheds light on a growing triangular interrelationship between the social and economic integration of refugees, the cultural factors of host communities, and resilience.

Derksen, M., & Teixeira, C. (2023). Refugees and religious institutions in a mid‐size Canadian city. Population, Space and Place, e53. This study explores how religious institutions affect refugee settlement in Kelowna, a mid-size city in British Columbia. Kelowna has had a significant increase in refugee sponsorship since the 2015 Syrian crisis, and most private sponsorship has involved churches and the local mosque, in collaboration with government-funded settlement services and community partners. The authors collected data through a questionnaire distributed among former refugees and semi-structured interviews with key informants, including clergy, refugee-sponsorship groups, and service providers. The results reveal that religious institutions help refugees cope with barriers and challenges in Kelowna in three main ways: bridging language barriers between newcomers, service providers, and sponsorship providers; helping newcomers establish new lives in Kelowna and move toward integration; and helping newcomers move away from precarity toward prosperity as they re-establish themselves and their families.

Eithne Luibhéid, Karma R. Chávez (eds.) (2020). Queer and Trans Migrations: Dynamics of Illegalization, Detention and Deportation. University of Illinois Press. Centering queer of colour migrants and communities, and questions of citizenship and border crossing, this book considered ‘how sexual arrangements, ideologies and modes of regulation shape migration to and incorporation into the United States.’ Queer and Trans Migrations extend that exploration by analyzing how illegalization, detention, and deportation thoroughly define migrants’ (and citizens’) lives at local, national, and transnational scales. As a field-defining book, Queer Migrations almost entirely emphasizes the voices of scholars.  Since its publication, ‘queer and trans migration’ has shifted from a then-surprising linking of immigration and sexuality scholarship, or a matter of concern for binational same-sex couples, to a robust body of scholarship, a naming of the most active voices and organizers within the immigration justice movement, and an immense site of cultural and intellectual creativity.


International Migration Outlook 2022, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), October 10, 2022. Every year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publishes the International Migration Outlook (IMO), its flagship publication on migration. Each IMO features chapters on key developments in migration, as well as Country Notes that include infographics of key migration data for each OECD country. Canada is featured prominently throughout the report. The 2022 edition of International Migration Outlook analyses recent developments in migration movements and the labour market inclusion of immigrants in OECD countries. It also monitors recent policy changes in migration governance and integration in OECD countries.


Naomi Lightman and Hamid Akbary, New data provide insight into pandemic inequalities, Policy Options, March 27, 2023. Existing analyses of COVID-19 in Canada and internationally suggest that infection rates were highly variable across populations, with researchers highlighting the disproportionate burden experienced by groups that are intersectionally disadvantaged.

Thomas Feng, Telling us we should be grateful to live in Australia overlooks the hardships and sacrifices of migration, ABC News, March 26, 2023. Migrants can live and work in Australia for decades and still be uncertain whether they will ever be able to make a permanent home. Some 12,000 asylum seekers in Australia have no permanent rights to work or study, while offshore processing still has bipartisan government support. “I won’t be grateful while Australia continues to market itself as a welcoming country when in reality, our policies tell migrants and refugees that we do not belong,” said Feng.

Michael Collyer, The UK spent a third of its international aid budget on refugees in the UK – what it’s paying for, and why it’s a problem, The Conversation, April 3, 2023. The parliamentary committee report highlighted how much more effectively money could be spent overseas. Studies at the Protracted Displacement Economies project at the University of Sussex illustrate this clearly, showing how flourishing economies develop in situations of mass displacement in some of the poorest countries in the world. Collyer argued that the UK’s development aid could be far more effective supporting refugees in these economies rather than on hotel accommodation in the UK.

Himel Rahman, India Should Facilitate the Repatriation of Rohingya Refugees from Bangladesh, South Asian Voices, April 6, 2023. On 22 March 2023, the Myanmar government announced that it would start repatriating 1,140 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh in mid-April. The pilot repatriation program took off owing to mediation efforts by China, Asia’s rising power that maintains close ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar. Notably, the other regional power in South Asia, India, has largely been inactive in the process of the repatriation of Rohingya refugees so far.


Introducing the SAH Evaluation Toolkit: A Community-Based Approach to Evaluation for Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders. Developed by the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), the SAH Evaluation Toolkit is a comprehensive resource that will help Sponsorship Agreement Holders to plan and implement their own internal community-based evaluation. The Toolkit is a useful resource for SAHs who want to improve their work and demonstrate the impact of their activities. By taking a community-based approach to evaluation, we can ensure that the evaluation plan is tailored to different needs, responds to local community needs and gaps, and promotes equity, engagement, and action among stakeholders.

Measuring Welcoming Communities: A Toolkit for Communities and Those Who Support Them, developed by Victoria M. Esses, Leah K. Hamilton, Awish Aslam, Priscila Ribeiro Prado Barros. The Measuring Welcoming Communities Toolkit has been developed to support the groundwork in understanding a community and planning how to shape it to become more welcoming. In total, there are 19 characteristics involved in the measurement process, creating a complete profile of what a community is and can offer. 

April 6 2023: 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. 135


Elcioglu, E. F., & Shams, T. (2023). Brokering immigrant transnationalism: Remittances, family reunification, and private refugee sponsorship in neoliberal Canada. Current Sociology. Using the case study of Canada’s private refugee sponsorship program, the authors show how neoliberalization heightens the power of non-immigrant civilians to broker immigrants’ transnationalism. Private sponsors respond differently to two common and interrelated forms of refugee transnationalism in which they are structurally empowered to intervene. They encourage family reunification while discouraging remittances, although the former often depends on the fulfillment of the latter. The authors conclude by encouraging scholars of transnationalism to look down and investigate how non-immigrant private civilians in receiving countries increasingly shape newcomers’ cross-border linkages and to look up and attend to the broader neoliberal context empowering and structuring the behaviour of citizen brokers.

Alrababah, A., Masterson, D., Casalis, M., Hangartner, D., & Weinstein, J. (2023). The Dynamics of Refugee Return: Syrian Refugees and Their Migration Intentions. British Journal of Political Science. Using observational and experimental data from a survey of 3,003 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, the authors study the drivers of refugees’ decision-making about returning home. They find that the conditions in refugee-hosting countries play a minor role. In contrast, conditions in a refugee’s home country are the main drivers of return intentions. The results challenge traditional models of decision-making about migration, where refugees weigh living conditions in the host and home countries (“push” and “pull” factors). The article offers an alternative theoretical framework: a model of threshold-based decision-making whereby only once a basic threshold of safety at home is met do refugees compare other factors in the host and home country.

Soehl, T., & Van Haren, I. (2023). The effect of social capital on migrant labor market success: evidence from refugee sponsorship in Canada, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1-25. This paper examines the effect of connections that reach beyond the co-ethnic community. Studying the effects of such ties is challenging as they are generally both a cause and consequence of integration. The authors examine a case where a set of migrants is provided ties that reach outside the co-ethnic community upon arrival in Canada through a refugee sponsor program where community groups support refugees with no pre-existing ties. Although sponsorship has no effect on the probability of employment, the authors find that it improves skill utilization. Refugees with sponsors are more likely to obtain higher-skilled employment and less likely to be self-employed. The article also presents data on the characteristics of friendship networks to support our argument. To access as open access (first 50 clicks), click here.

Galli, C. (2023). Precarious Protections: Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum in the United States. University of California Press. A meticulously researched ethnography, Precarious Protections chronicles the experiences and perspectives of Central American unaccompanied minors and their immigration attorneys as they pursue applications for refugee status in the US asylum process. Chiara Galli debunks assumptions about asylum, including the idea that people are being denied protection because they file bogus claims. In practice, the United States interprets asylum law far more narrowly than necessary to recognize real-world experiences of escape from life-threatening violence. This is especially true for children from Central America. Galli reveals the formidable challenges of lawyering with children and exposes the human toll of the US immigration bureaucracy.

O’Mahony, J., Kassam, S., Clark, N., & Asbjoern, T. (2023). Use of participatory action research to support Syrian refugee mothers in the resettlement period in Canada: A longitudinal study. Plos one, 18(2). Social factors that support the successful settlement of Syrian refugees in Canada have yet to be explored systematically. This study examines these factors from the perspectives of Syrian refugee mothers living in British Columbia (BC). Framed by principles of intersectionality and community-based participatory action research (PAR), the study draws on Syrian mothers’ perspectives of social support in early, middle, and later resettlement phases. Data obtained in this study contribute to developing support services that are culturally appropriate and accessible to refugee women living in BC. This work aims to promote mental health, improve quality of life, and enable timely access to healthcare services and resources for this population.

Ferreira, N. (2023). Utterly unbelievable: The discourse of ‘fake’SOGI asylum claims as a form of epistemic injustice. International Journal of Refugee Law. Media and political debates on refugees and migration are dominated by a discourse of  ‘fake’ and ‘bogus’ asylum claims. This article explores how this discourse affects in acute ways those people claiming asylum based on sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). In particular, the article shows how such a discourse of ‘fakeness’ goes far beyond the well-documented and often inadequate credibility assessments carried out by asylum authorities. The article concludes with the impossibility of determining the ‘truth’ in SOGI asylum cases, while also offering some guidance on means that can be employed to alleviate the epistemic injustice produced by the asylum system against SOGI asylum claimants and refugees.


ICMPD (2023) Discussion paper – Responding to displacement from Ukraine: Past, present, and future policies. As of yet, there is no systematic answer on how to move on from temporary protection. This discussion paper on past, present and future options summarises key policy reactions by states and various published scenarios for the war. It then explores different policy options available to states once temporary protection and similar schemes come to an end, to initiate discussions on ways forward.

Report of the Immigration Advisory Council 2023, Manitoba Immigration Advisory Council, February 14, 2023. This report represents a collection of inputs from every corner of the province on immigration programs and policy. It is a call to action to advance Manitoba’s economic prosperity and continue our legacy as a leader in immigration. The recommendations within the report support Manitoba’s Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy. By examining ways to improve the entire process of immigration to Manitoba, the province will increase the number of workers with the right skills, talent and knowledge to enjoy a high quality of life and grow the provincial economy.

Pauline Endres de Oliveira & Nikolas Feith Tan, External Processing: A Tool to Expand Protection or Further Restrict Territorial Asylum?, Migration Policy Institute, February 2023. This report highlights the opportunities that external processing offers, the challenges to its implementation, and the risks it could pose to territorial asylum. It explores three categories of external processing policies implemented or proposed to date: humanitarian visas, emergency evacuations, and external processing centers. The report also identifies key conditions that must be present for external processing to occur in a protection-sensitive manner.


Katsiaficas, C., Segeš Frelak, J. and Castelanelli, C. (2023). Displacement, integration, and return: What remote work possibilities for Ukrainians?, ICMPD. One year after the Russian invasion, much uncertainty remains. Remote work can provide a degree of flexibility for some refugees from Ukraine, supporting integration in the short term and reconstruction in the long term. Supporting Ukrainian teleworkers is a smart move. 

Katsiaficas, C., Segeš Frelak, J. and Wagner, M. (2023). The clock is ticking for temporary protection: What comes next? ICMPD. In March 2025, at the latest, temporary protection for people fleeing Ukraine ends. Determining what comes next is a complex process in which host countries must navigate multiple policy options, practical considerations, and political and economic interests. There is no time to waste in developing a coordinated approach, particularly due to the large number of people concerned, the range of countries involved, and the prospect of necessary legislative changes.

Fearmongering about people fleeing disasters is a dangerous and faulty narrative,  by Yvonne Su and Cory Robinson, The Conversation, March 12, 2023. The international community mobilized to offer humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the earthquakes. These developments come at a time when climate and disaster-induced displacement is ascends on the global policy agenda. With climate change predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of disasters, there is mounting concern about how future displacement and migration will be addressed.

Why are some refugees more welcome in Canada than others? By Kandice Pardy, Policy Options, February 27, 2023. Afghan refugees still face delays in their attempts to come to Canada. Yet, Ukrainians have seen red tape cut and doors open. Why the difference?

Will asylum-seekers and refugees in Rwanda be mistreated? What we can learn from Rwandan law, policy, and practice today, by Cristiano D’Orsi, African Law Matters, March 8, 2023. Recently, the United Kingdom (UK) has chosen to send certain asylum-seekers to Rwanda, creating the impression that they are unwelcome in its territory. A lot has been written on this topic, particularly focusing on the UK’s position and its possible violations of Refugee Law, Human Rights Law, and Anti-Trafficking Law.

Also on our radar:

Digital resources and social media

The RELATE Manual, Refugee Law Teaching Support Initiative. The RELATE manual is a free model syllabus that guides junior educators to prepare and launch their first refugee law and international protection teaching activities. It includes relevant, freely available international legal and soft law instruments, international and domestic jurisprudence, training manuals, reports, articles, and audiovisual resources.