Category Archives: Research Digest

March 30 2022: 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. 121


LERRN-RRN Webinar: Changing the Structures of Forced Migration Research, March 31, 2022. The final webinar of the series plans to engage with how research and research funding structures may be changed. While some changes can be brought-about by individual researchers, we recognize that some of the challenges are deeper and more structural, like unequal access to research funding. Some donors are piloting innovative initiatives, like the Canadian International Development Research Centre establishing research chairs on forced displacement with direct funding to scholars in various regions of the global South to pursue their independent research agendas. What is the role of donors in addressing the issues raised in this series? What would it take to get more donors on board with initiatives like direct funding to local researchers? What structures need to change, and what is the path forward? For more information and to register here


 Murrani, S., Lloyd, H., & Popovici, L.C. (2022) Mapping home, memory and spatial recovery in forced displacement, Social & Cultural Geography. This article presents empirical findings of a multimodal participatory mapping project conducted with refugees and asylum seekers in Southwest England. It highlights the impact of memory and deep creative mapping on the spatial practice of making-home in forced displacement. The resulting maps embody spaces of recovery; memory scapes reveal synergies between memory constructs and the concept of home in exile. The project asks how a creative participatory method of mapping home through memory reconsolidation can ameliorate the trauma of displacement and aid the re-making of home.

Kerwin, D., Pacas, J., & Warren, R. (2022). Ready to Stay: A Comprehensive Analysis of the US Foreign-Born Populations Eligible for Special Legal Status Programs and for Legalization Under Pending Bills  Journal on Migration and Human Security10(1), 37–76. This paper offers estimates of US foreign-born populations that are eligible for special legal status programs and those that would be eligible for permanent residence (legalization) under pending bills. It seeks to provide policymakers, government agencies, community-based organizations, researchers, and others with a unique tool to assess the potential impact, implement, and analyze the success of these programs. It views timely, comprehensive data on targeted immigrant populations as an essential pillar of legalization preparedness, implementation, and evaluation.

Rashi, T. (2022). Jewish Ethics Regarding Refugees: Ideology and Realization. Journal of Law and Religion, 37(1), 153-166. This article addresses the Jewish ethical approach to refugees. According to Jewish ethics, help must be offered to refugees of a foreign people, and sometimes, for the sake of peace, even to those of an enemy state. The author reflects on breaking barriers of hatred and concludes that priority must be given to refugees in acute distress and who are near the border.

Wallace, R. (2022). New Reasons for Forced Displacement: A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of the Construction of Refugee Identity. Journalism Practice16(2-3), 244–261. New narratives of forced displacement and complex refugee identities are often excluded from mediated communications about important issues. By focusing on the discourse of two distinct objects of analysis, that of nongovernmental organizations and transnational journalism projects across Latin America, this study sought to better understand how news media and essential advocates for refugees are framing narratives of forced displacement throughout the region. These findings suggest that complex refugee identities are symbolically annihilated in the construction of news narratives. New reasons for forced displacement are primarily ignored, relying more heavily on homogenous representations and existing frames for Latinx refugees, accounting for greater diversity in representations of foreign refugees.


Report: Crisis in Ukraine: Humanitarian and Human Rights Imperatives by Daphne Panayotatos, Irla Atanda, & Eric Schwartz, Refugees International. March 21, 2022. This report is the result of a Refugees International research trip conducted in Poland between March 2 and March 9, documenting a crisis that has resulted in the forced displacement within and outside Ukraine of nearly a quarter of the Ukrainian population, and humanitarian suffering of many millions more. While the speed of the response outside Ukraine has been unprecedented and generous, Refugees International calls for additional EU and international support for Poland and other refugee-receiving countries bordering Ukraine. Additionally, urging for measures to ensure that non-Ukrainians seeking to flee Ukraine are treated with the same fairness and humanity being accorded to Ukrainians.

Report: From adaptability to vulnerability: Changes in admission criteria and refugee participation in social assistance by Lisa Kaida, Max Stick and Feng Hou, Statistics Canada. The 2002 Immigration Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) replaced the Immigration Act, 1976 as the primary legislation guiding immigration in Canada. This report summarizes results from a recent study that compared the long-term use of social assistance among resettled refugees arriving under pre-IRPA guidelines (1997 to 2001), during the transition period (2002 to 2004), and post-IRPA (2005 to 2009). The authors used the Longitudinal immigration database to determine whether resettled refugees arriving after the introduction of IRPA were more likely to rely on social assistance than earlier cohorts.


UNHCR Press Briefing: A month since the start of the war, almost a quarter of Ukraine’s population are displaced, UNHCR. March 25, 2022. Summary of the current humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, outlining the devastating and far-reaching effects of war. Individuals, families and communities will need protection, shelter, assistance and access to basic services like health, education and social protection for years, if not decades. However, the most effective form of humanitarian relief would be a halt to this war.

Family separations in Ukraine highlight the importance of children’s rights by Christina Clark-Kazak, The Conversation. March 20, 2022. Given the conscription of men aged 18 to 60 in Ukraine, most Ukrainians fleeing into neighbouring countries are women and children. Adults making decisions on behalf of separated children and those in care should look to the lessons of the past when focusing on the best interests of children.

Australia should grant temporary visas for all jobs earning over $70,000 by Paul Karp, The Guardian. March 17, 2022. The report argues that workers on the temporary skilled visa are particularly vulnerable to exploitation because the visa is tied to their sponsoring employer, and they must leave Australia within 60 days if they stop working for them.The Grattan Institute called for a crackdown on bad-faith employers who mistreat their workers, with the home affairs department to conduct more random audits.

Can Ukraine Change Australia’s Attitude Toward Refugees? By Grant Wyeth, The Diplomat. March 17, 2022. There is a notable shift in public sentiment toward refugees in Australia in response to the Ukraine crisis. While it might be easy to be cynical about the different responses to European refugees compared to refugees from other regions of the world, the goal instead should be to use this moment to reframe public perceptions toward refugees more broadly, and allow greater empathy to develop for those fleeing other conflict zones too.

Humanitarian protection and durable solutions by Kristin Bergtora Sandvik and Adèle Garnier, Refugee Law Initiative. March 4, 2022. This blog aims to contribute to understanding the evolving displacement context and the implications for the international protection regime and durable solutions, providing a set of initial reflections. Specifically, paying particular attention to contemporary refugee politics, the authors produce a list of initial issues concerning vulnerability, prioritization, and pathways to support advocacy on behalf of Ukraine.


Podcast: The Conversation Weekly (March 10, 2022) The trauma of life in limbo for refugees and asylum seekers in immigration detention. In this week’s episode, two experts on immigration detention in Australia and the UK discuss why people are waiting months, sometimes years, for a decision about their future – and the impact it is having on their lives.

Summer Course: Centre for Refugee Studies, June 6-10. The course provides an interdisciplinary, interactive and experiential approach to the study of forced migration. Through attending lectures and related small group sessions, course participants develop a deepened understanding of the political, economic, social and cultural contexts of forced migration, and the major state and non-state institutions involved in refugee protection and advocacy. In addition, participants will have an opportunity during the course for structured networking and idea collaboration through panels and small group discussions. For more information and to apply click here.

March 17 2022: 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. 120


Goldring, L., & Landolt, P. (2022). From illegalized migrant toward permanent resident: assembling precarious legal status trajectories and differential inclusion in Canada. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 48(1), 33-52. The authors examine the trajectories of illegalized Anglo-Caribbean and Latin American migrants living in Canada in the mid-2000s. They applied for one or both humanitarian legal status adjustment mechanisms to obtain permanent residence: late refugee claims and applications on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Despite sharing early illegal status, the authors found regional racialised and gendered differences in their Precarious legal status trajectories (PLSTs). The article presents a framework for understanding how different trajectories are populated, and how the somewhat unpredictable outcomes of adjudications may lead to further applications and a reorganization of PLSTs.

Simeon, J. C. (Ed.). (2022). Serious International Crimes, Human Rights, and Forced Migration. Routledge. This volume explores the interrelationships and direct causal connection between serious international crimes, serious breaches to fundamental human rights, and gross affronts to human dignity that lead to mass forced migration. The book will be a valuable resource for students, academics, researchers, and policymakers working in international law, migration, human rights, and international criminal law.

Journal Special Issue: Puumala, E. and Shindo, R. (2021). Language, Everyday Citizenship, and Community. Citizenship Studies Vol.25, No. 6. This special issue contributes to the studies of migrant solidarity activism to explore how people come together to build relationships and enact their visions of community. The authors collectively demonstrate the critical role language plays in various everyday interactions, through which the boundaries of community, between ‘us’ and ‘them’, are contested, reproduced, and negotiated.

Weima, Y., & Brankamp, H. Introduction: Camp methodologies: The “how” of studying campsArea. This special section contributes to the growing interdisciplinary field of camp studies by examining how scholars approach and study camps and camp-like spaces. How do camp contexts shape our underlying research philosophies, and how do particular research methods impact our conceptualizations of camps? The contributors to this special section provide a variety of answers to these questions, drawing on empirical research in current and historical camp settings. Overall, the authors use “camp methodologies” not as a set of prescribed tools, techniques, or epistemologies to be followed but as a shorthand for approaches that consider how camp geographies delimit research activities and methodological choices in turn (re)construct the camp conceptually in different ways. Ultimately, this collection aims to encourage critical debates and reflections to shed more light on the methodological effects, positionalities, responsibilities, complicities, and continuing necessities of studying camps.


Report: Nowhere to Run: Eritrean Refugees in Tigray by Sarah Miller, March 3, 2022. Refugees International. This report details the plight of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia amid the country’s civil war recommending steps the government of Ethiopia, UNHCR, the United States, and neighbouring countries must take to offer safety to this population.

Statement: Rohingya Genocide Trial Sends Important Signal by Daniel Sullivan, February 28, 2022. Refugees International. The continuation of the Rohingya genocide trial at the International Court of Justice is an important signal of accountability—and a reminder that the United States has yet to call the military’s crimes genocide.

Report: The Fallacy of Control: Tightened Asylum and Reception Policies Undermine Protection in Greece by Daphne Panayotatos, February 24, 2022. Refugees International. Greek officials claim a decline in asylum seekers indicates that the government has “regained control” of migration in Greece. But in reality, Greece has undermined access to asylum. Refugees International offers a new vision for Greece to humanely manage asylum and reception.

One Year Later: Canada’s Enduring Appeal to Prospective Immigrants in the Face of COVID-19 Comparative Analysis, August 2020 – August 2021 by World Education Services (WES), January 27, 2022. This report compares results from surveys of individuals who had applied for a WES academic credential evaluation for immigration purposes. The goal was to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigration plans. The comparative analysis addresses questions such as: To what extent were people still interested in immigrating to Canada? What was making them more or less interested? Over the past year, how had key factors affected their interest in immigration?

UN Brief: War in Ukraine causes fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II by Kristy Siegfried, March 11, 2022. The number of people who have fled Ukraine today reached 2.5 million, while nearly 2 million are thought to be displaced inside the country, and the number of refugees is expected to exceed 4 million in the coming days. Reuters reports from Poland, where thousands of Poles have jumped in to help some 1.5 million refugees with offers of places to stay, transportation, food, and even babysitting services, but risk becoming overwhelmed. Together with UNHCR today, the Polish government began distributing emergency cash assistance to refugees in Warsaw. Meanwhile, some refugees have moved westward, with more than 80,000 Ukrainians now registered in Germany and more arriving every day.

2021 Conference Report: Making sense of movement in the context of climate change, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last month noted that 3.3 to 3.6 billion people – nearly half the world’s population – live in contexts highly vulnerable to climate change. The latest Kaldor Centre Conference delved deep into the legal and practical challenges of responding to people forced from their homes by the impacts of disasters and climate change. This conference report includes key takeaways, a full video and the six sessions in podcast format.


New research asks who counts as ‘vulnerable’ in Canada’s refugee protection regime, Yfile, York University. March 2, 2022. What does it mean to be vulnerable? York University Professor Dagmar Soennecken (School of Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) is part of a global team of researchers examining the meaning of vulnerability in the context of migrants who need special assistance and protection.

A Tale of Two Refugee Crises, By Rachael Reilly and Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), Inter Press Service, March 7, 2022. When the 2015 refugee “crisis” drove more than a million Syrians towards Europe, the EU justified detaining these refugees for up to 18 months. Less than two weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and more than one million people have already fled into neighbouring countries—but don’t expect Brussels to call for their detention this time. 

Also on our Radar on the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis:


Podcast: The trauma of life in limbo for refugees and asylum seekers in immigration detention by Gemma Ware and Justin Bergman, March 10, 2022. The Conversation. The life of limbo for people in immigration detention is often deeply traumatic. In this week’s episode of The Conversation Weekly, two experts on immigration detention in Australia and the UK discuss why people are waiting months, sometimes years, for a decision about their future – and the impact it’s having on them.

Video Recording: Book Launch – Documenting Displacement. The PRIO Migration Centre has released the online book launch of Documenting Displacement: Questioning Methodological Boundaries in Forced Migration Research, edited by Katarzyna Grabska and Christina R. Clark-Kazak.


March 3 2022: 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. 119

Webinar: Haunted by Violence. March 11 at 10:30am EST/Toronto time. We are excited to welcome this extraordinary trio of anthropologists to CRS and LERRN for Haunted by Violence, a discussion of auto-ethnographical journeys between Bosnia-Hercegovina and the US (as well as Canada). Anyone interested in refugee subjectivity, autonomy, agency, epistemic or ontological violence may want to read these short interventions by the authors here before attending the discussion. Please register to receive a zoom link.


Bose, P. (2021). White nationalism and the specter of the refugee. In Nilsen, S. & Turner, S (Eds.), White supremacy and the American media (pp. 169-185). London: Routledge. In this chapter, the author argues that the figure of the refugee has always played a complicated and contradictory role in global culture. While those fleeing persecution and danger have been seen through the lens of victimhood and thus deserving of sanctuary, news coverage, discourse, and cultural representation have helped produce the refugee as a figure of threat. These are the ideas of refugees as a security threat, as a demographic threat, and as an environmental threat to existing populations and nations.

New Journal Issue: Banerjee, P. (Ed.). (2021). A Special Issue on Displacements and Dispossessions. Refugee Watch: A South Asian Journal on Forced Migration. This special issue includes original research papers and book reviews that engage with issues of forced displacement and dispossessions, specifically the role of education, the effects of economic recession and global pandemic, labour market and more. These articles are intended to initiate dialogue in transnational and global spaces and thus encourage innovative interventions. 

[Open Access] New Book: Yi-Neumann, F., Lauser, A., Fuhse, A., & Bräunlein, P. J. (Eds.). (2022). Material Culture and (Forced) Migration: Materializing the transient. UCL Press. The authors argue that materiality is a fundamental dimension of migration. During migration journeys, people take things with them, or they lose, find and engage things along the way. Movements themselves are framed by objects such as borders, passports, tents, camp infrastructures, boats and mobile phones. This volume brings together chapters that are based on research into a broad range of movements – from the study of forced migration and displacement to the analysis of retirement migration. The chapters are tied together by the perspective of material culture and an understanding of materiality that does not reduce objects to mere symbols.

New book: Twigt, M. (2022). Mediated lives: Waiting and hope among Iraqi refugees in Jordan. Berghahn Books. Using the example of Iraqi refugees in Jordan’s capital of Amman, this book describes how information and communication technologies play out in the everyday experiences of urban refugees geographically located in the Global South. It shows how interactions between online and offline spaces are key for making sense of the humanitarian regime, carving out a sense of home, and sustaining hope. This book paints a humanizing account of making do amid legal marginalization, prolonged insecurity, and the proliferation of digital technologies. The introduction can be read here. If you are interested in reviewing this book for a relevant journal, an electronic review copy can be requested here. To recommend this book to your library, use this form

[Open Access] Cantat, C., Cook, I. M., & Rajaram, P. K. (2022). Opening up the University: Teaching and Learning with Refugees. Berghahn Books. Through a series of empirically and theoretically informed reflections, Opening Up the University offers insights into the process of setting up and running programs that cater to displaced students. Including contributions from educators, administrators, practitioners, and students, this expansive collected volume aims to inspire and question those who are considering creating their own interventions, speaking to policy makers and university administrators on specific points relating to the access and success of refugees in higher education, and suggests concrete avenues for further action within existing academic structures.

 Salam, Z., Odenigbo, O., Newbold, B., Wahoush, O., & Schwartz, L. (2022). Systemic and Individual Factors That Shape Mental Health Service Usage Among Visible Minority Immigrants and Refugees in Canada: A Scoping ReviewAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. The purpose of this review is to explore the following research question: “what are the barriers and facilitators for accessing mental health care services among visible immigrants and refugees in Canada?”. A wide range of barriers and facilitators were identified at both the systemic and individual levels. Unique differences rooted within landing and legal statuses were also highlighted within the findings to provide nuance amongst immigrants and refugees. The interplay of structural issues rooted in Canadian health policies and immigration laws coupled with individual factors produce complex barriers and facilitators when seeking mental health services. The findings also provide suggestions for mental health care providers, resettlement agencies, policy recommendations, and future directions for research are discussed as actionable points of departure.

 [Open Access] Jubilut, L. L., & Casagrande, M. M. (2021). The continued pivotal role of the 1951 Convention in Refugee Protection: Evidences from dialogues with Latin American refuges law and the GCR. Editora da Universidade Federal de Roraima.

The 1951 Convention sets out the international legal definition of refugee accepted to this day and, at the same time, allows for its (regional) expansion. It also lays the foundation and the operational framework for a human rights-based approach towards rights for refugees. This human rights-based approach becomes clearer when dialogue between the 1951 Convention and more recent normative instruments – such as the Latin American Cartagena Declaration and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) is established. Building on these inter-normative dialogues, this article aims to unpack the lasting impacts of the 1951 Convention in its 70th anniversary, from a protection framework perspective and through Human Rights and International Refugee Law lenses.

Gisselquist, R. M. (2021). Involuntary migration, inequality, and integration: Vietnamese and Afghan Migrants in Canada, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 47(21).  This special issue explores the experiences of global migrants across diverse environments, focusing on inequality between migrants and host populations in countries of settlement. It explores questions such as: why are economic inequalities between these populations deeper and more persistent in some situations than others? How has ‘integration’ in this sense varied across groups and contexts over time? What factors contribute to such variation? What policies and programmes facilitate better and more equitable economic outcomes for migrants?

 Esaiasson, P., Lajevardi, N., & Sohlberg, J. (2022). Reject, limbo, and accept: the effect of migration decisions on asylum seekers. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

What effect does the state’s decision to grant or reject a residence permit have on asylum seekers? Relying on repeated surveys with recently arrived asylum seekers to Sweden, the authors examine how the “limbo” nature of the waiting period, and the subsequent rejection or acceptance, shapes asylum seekers’ life satisfaction, health, horizontal trust in Swedes, and vertical trust in Swedish institutions. The migration decision meaningfully affects their well-being and shapes their attitudes towards the host country’s institutions and people.

New book: Bisaillon, L. (2022). Screening Out: HIV Testing and the Canadian Immigration Experience. University of British Columbia Press. Following the sequence of events in the application process of a sub-Saharan African woman in her interactions with an immigration doctor, this book is an institutional ethnography of the Canadian immigration process from the perspective of the very people to whom the exclusionary health policy is directed. Laura Bisaillon demonstrates that mandatory HIV screening triggers institutional practices that are highly problematic not only for would-be immigrants, refugees, and refugee applicants, but also for those bureaucrats, doctors, lawyers, and other actors whose work tethers them to the Canadian immigration system. This book produces a vital corrective to state claims about the functioning – and the professional and administrative practices supporting – mandatory HIV testing and medical examination, showing how and where things need to change.


MPP as a microcosm: What’s wrong with asylum at the border and how to fix it by Yael Schacher, Refugee International, February 11, 2022. The program “Remain in Mexico,” formally known as the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), returned asylum seekers to Mexico while their claims were adjudicated has been terminated. However, in December, the administration began a court-ordered reimplementation of the program, putting asylum seekers at risk and belying the U.S. responsibility to provide access to protection at the border. In January, Refugees International’s Deputy Director Dr. Yael Schacher watched the first immigration court proceedings for asylum seekers placed in the new iteration of MPP in El Paso. In this brief, she describes “a program with a Kafkaesque quality,” applied arbitrarily and disadvantages asylum seekers in presenting their claims. The author argues the new MPP is indicative of a compromised approach to asylum at the border and fundamental problems with asylum adjudication in the United States and recommends a new approach to both.

The Fallacy of Control: Tightened Asylum and Reception Policies Undermine Protection in Greece by Daphne Panayotatos, Refugee International, February 24, 2022. Greek officials point to recent declines in the numbers of asylum seekers arriving, awaiting decisions, and residing in camps as indicators that they have “regained control” of the migration situation in Greece. However, the trends are primarily driven by policies and practices that undermine protection and dignified reception. New facilities on the Aegean islands and mainland reflect an approach to asylum based on deterrence, containment, and exclusion. This report details the current state of asylum policies in Greece, offering a new vision for responsibility and humanely managing asylum and reception.

With Australia reopening its borders to tourists, why are thousands of refugees still waiting for entry? By Claire Higgins & Regina Jefferies, The Conversation, February 15, 2022. There is no clear path for Afghans already in Australia. Not only has the Australian government been slow to process Afghans fleeing their homeland, but it has also not made it easier for those already in Australia to stay permanently.


Webinar: Haunted by Violence. March 11 at 10:30am EST/Toronto time. We are excited to welcome this extraordinary trio of anthropologists to CRS and LERRN for Haunted by Violence, a discussion of auto-ethnographical journeys between Bosnia-Hercegovina and the US (as well as Canada). Anyone interested in refugee subjectivity, autonomy, agency, epistemic or ontological violence may want to read these short interventions by the authors here before attending the discussion. Please register to receive a zoom link.

New film: Bisaillon, L. (2020) (dir.). The Unmaking of Medical Inadmissibility. In this 20-minute documentary film in animatic form, Bisaillon unfolds experiences that people including refugees and refugee applicants with chronic illness and developmental or genetic otherness have with the Canadian immigration system as they apply for permanent residency. The film features the stories of people wanting to immigrate to Canada permanently, who are struggling to deal with having been denied or contending with the possibility of being denied because of who and how they are. 14 original illustrations appear on the project website to help the viewer interpret the medial, legal, bureaucratic and academic language.

Short Course: Palestine Refugees and International Law led by Professor Dawn Chatty (RSC) and Professor Susan M Akram (Boston Law School). March 11-12, 2022. Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. This online two-day short course places the Palestinian refugee case study within the broader context of the international human rights regime. Within a human rights framework, it examines the policies and practices of Middle Eastern states as they impinge upon Palestinian refugees. Through a mix of online lectures, online working group exercises and interactive sessions, participants actively engage with the contemporary debates in international law and analyze the specific context of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel).

Short Course: International Online Schools in Forced Migration led by Dr. Catherine Briddick, Professor Matthew J Gibney, and Professor Tom Scott-Smith. Dates: 14-18 March 2022, 4-8 July 2022 and 11-15 July 2022. Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. The school will be held three times online this year. Each Online School will involve an intensive, interdisciplinary and participative approach to the study of forced migration that enables people working with refugees and other forced migrants to reflect critically on the forces and institutions that dominate the worlds of displaced people. The course combines Oxford’s tradition of academic excellence with a stimulating discussion-based method of teaching, learning and reflection. The Online School will cover subjects including Conceptualising Forced Migration, The Moral Foundations of Refugeehood, International Law and Refugee Protection, and The Politics of Humanitarianism and a choice of optional modules.

February 10 2022: 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. 118


In celebration of Black History month, the RRN team would like to share with you some useful resources and publications. Please share with us any other information to include in the upcoming February issue:


New journal issue:  Refugee Review Volume V. Refugee Review is a journal of the Emerging Scholars and Practitioners on Migration Issues network and is a fully open access, peer-reviewed journal that supports young researchers who work on issues of refugees and forced migration studies. The latest volume is dedicated to the impact of Covid-19 on migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in areas of borders, welfare, and intersectional vulnerabilities. It contains articles by refugee scholars and artists as well as practitioners from Poland, Lebanon, Jordan, India, Morocco, Greece, Somalia, Nigeria, South Africa, the U.S., and Italy.

New book: Grabska, K., & Clark-Kazak, C. R. (Eds.). (2022). Documenting Displacement: Questioning Methodological Boundaries in Forced Migration Research. McGill-Queen’s University Press. Documenting Displacement explores the ethics and methods of research in diverse forced migration contexts and proposes new ways of thinking about and documenting displacement. Each chapter delves into specific ethical and methodological challenges, with particular attention to unequal power relations in the co-creation of knowledge, questions about representation and ownership, and the adaptation of methodological approaches to contexts of mobility. Contributors reflect honestly on what has worked and what has not, providing useful points of discussion for future research by both established and emerging researchers. The recording of our pre-book launch with LERRN & RRN webinar series is available here. PRIO hosts the next event in the book launch series; details here.

Screening Out: HIV Testing and the Canadian Immigration Experience, by Laura Bisaillon, University of British Columbia Press (to appear in April 2022). Following the sequence of events in the application process of a sub-Saharan African woman in her interactions with an immigration doctor, this book is an institutional ethnography of the Canadian immigration process from the perspective of the very people to whom the exclusionary health policy is directed. Laura Bisaillon demontrates that mandatory HIV screening triggers institutional practices that are highly problematic not only for would-be immigrants, refugees and refugee applicants, but also for those bureaucrats, doctors, lawyers, and other actors whodr work tethers them to the Canadian immigration system. This book produces a vital corrective to state claims about the functioning – and the professional and administrative practices supporting – mandatory HIV testing and medical examination, showing how and where things need to change.

Elcioglu, E. F. (2021). Neoliberal Fatigue: The Effects of Private Refugee Sponsorship on Canadians’ Political Consciousness. Critical Sociology. Drawing on 25 interviews, this article examines the insights that these privileged citizens of the global north gain as they help refugees struggling with the marginalizing consequences of neoliberal austerity in their new hostland. While sponsors learn about the challenges facing working-class racialized newcomers (otherwise obscured to sponsors by their racial, class, and citizenship privileges), the program robs sponsors of the time and mental bandwidth to reflect on the structural nature of these challenges.

Consequently, sponsors rarely understand refugees’ struggles as public troubles necessitating broader intervention, including modest policy reform. I call this cognitive outcome neoliberal fatigue. The author concludes by discussing how this fatigue thwarts social change and reinforces neoliberal capitalism.

[Open access] Nicholas R. Micinski (2022). Delegating Responsibility: International Cooperation on Migration in the European Union. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Press. Delegating Responsibility explores the politics of migration in the European Union and explains how the EU responded to the 2015–17 refugee crisis. Based on 86 interviews and fieldwork in Greece and Italy, Micinski proposes a new theory of international cooperation on international migration. States approach migration policies in many ways—such as coordination, collaboration, subcontracting, and unilateralism—but which policy they choose is based on capacity and on credible partners on the ground.

[Open access] Lunstrum, Elizabeth, and Bose, Pablo S. (2022). Environmental displacement in the anthropocene. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. This intervention invites more substantial scholarly attention to human displacement in and of the Anthropocene—this current age in which humans have become the primary drivers of global environmental change—and sets out an initial framework for its study. The framework is organized around three interrelated contributions. First is the recognition that displacement is driven not just by climate change but also broader forms of environmental change including biodiversity loss, changes to land and water resources, and the buildup of nuclear debris, along with their intersections. Second, the framework parses out three distinct moments of displacement in the Anthropocene: displacement as a consequence of, prerequisite to, and active response to environmental change. Third, the framework rejects environmental (neo)determinism by showing how displacement across these distinct moments and drivers is more than environmental: It is the articulation of environmental and sociopolitical–economic factors, which are routinely shaped by inequality and play out within a broader series of crises and crisis narratives that drive displacement and hinder viable solutions.


Issue Brief: Networks of Care for Displaced LGBTQ+ People: How the United States Can Support LGBTQ+-led Organizations in Central America and Mexico, Refugee International and ICRA Casabierta, January 27, 2022. Refugees International and ICRA Casabierta surveyed NGOs throughout Central America about the challenges facing LGBTQ+ displaced people in the region and what the United States can do to help.

Report: Do Not Forget: Aiding and Protecting Civilians in South Sudan, By Daniel Sullivan, Refugee International, January 13, 2022. South Sudan is facing one of the largest displacement and humanitarian crises on earth, with 4 million citizens displaced. Yet the attention of donors and diplomats is waning.

Top 10 Migration Issues of 2021, Migration Policy Institute. The rollout of vaccines, increased testing, and other public-health measures led several parts of the world in 2021 to begin recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. But the virus and its variants abated in fits and starts. As a result, 2021 did not see a return to pre-pandemic migration trends, but instead witnessed new patterns of movement in some places. At the same time, new conflicts erupted in 2021, ongoing crises continued to smoulder, and forcibly displaced migrants often found themselves stuck in the middle. Impacts of the pandemic were not responsible for all MPI Top 10 migration issues of the year, but the repercussions of the public-health crisis and related economic fallout were felt widely. Explore these and other issues in the MPI annual countdown below:

  1. World Reopens Unevenly after First Year of Pandemic as It Reckons with Delta and Omicron
  2. In Landmark Integration Move, Countries in South America and the Caribbean Extend Protections to Millions of Venezuelans
  3. Increasingly, Vaccination Is Becoming a Necessary Ticket to Travel, Challenging Those Who Lack Access
  4. New Crises Around Globe Add to Existing Humanitarian Burden and Destabilize Countries of First Asylum
  5. Biden Struggles to Dismantle Trump-Era Border Restrictions
  6. As Government in Afghanistan Falls, Mass Evacuation of Afghans Occurs
  7. At Europe’s Edge, “Weaponizing” Migration for Geopolitical Aims
  8. Migration Streams through the Western Hemisphere Diversify
  9. The United States Joins Europe in Focus on “Root Causes” of Migration
  10. Remittance Flows Beat the Odds to Grow Despite Pandemic


Campaign Targeting Immigration Detention in Canada Builds Momentum, By Samer Muscati & Hana Gros, Human Rights Watch, January 27, 2022. Since Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International launched the joint #WelcomeToCanada campaign in October 2021 calling on Canada to stop incarcerating immigration detainees in provincial jails, more than 5,000 people have written to the Government of British Columbia (BC) urging the province to listen. Learn about the campaign here.

Asylum-seeker smuggling is a symptom, not a root cause, by Rober Falconer and Craig Damian Smith, The Globe and Mail, January 31, 2022. Earlier this month, the Patels – a family of four from India – died of cold exposure trying to walk south through the Canada-U.S. border near Emerson, Man. But rather than look at how policies incentivize such irregular migration and produce such tragedies, Canadian politicians and news media have been quick to parrot rhetoric from other rich countries, speculating about the responsibility of criminal smugglers and wider networks of nefarious actors. Read more.

Abul Rizvi, ‘Smoke and mirrors: Afghans neglected in Australia’s humanitarian program’, Pearls and Irritations, January 25 2022. Far from holding out a helping hand to Afghans left stranded by the withdrawal of foreign troops, Australia has been even less generous than normal. Read more.

Rebecca L. Root, ‘Promises and pledges: Has the Global Compact on Refugees delivered?’, Devex, January 27 2022. Out of the current 1,626 pledges, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency’s pledge dashboard, only 164 have been marked as completed, 620 are listed as “in progress,” and 47 are considered in the planning stages. Read more.


New video: Cruel, costly and ineffective: The failure of offshore processing in Australia. Based on Madeline Gleeson and Natasha Yacoub’s recent Policy brief from Kaldor centre that takes a deep dive  into Australia’s offshore processing system for refugee claims. This new short video features striking animation and data visualisation.

Zoryan Institute’s New Dispersion Podcast. Season One of the Zoryan Institute’s new Dispersion Podcast is now live on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Acast. Through conversations with individuals from diverse communities, Dispersion celebrates the experiences of Canadians living away from, and returning to, their homeland, and explores important theories and topics related to diaspora and transnational studies. Topics covered in Season One range from defining diaspora, to return migration, to cross-generational identity and cultural education, to artistic representations of diaspora experiences. By bringing these conversations to new audiences, Dispersion aims to challenge stereotypes and discrimination, and bring people together. 

Upcoming webinar: BHER Speaker Series: Together for Peace in Somalia Film Screening and Rebuilding Somalia Panel

February 16, 2022

9:00 – 10:30am (Toronto)

with Hawa Sabriye, Maryan Madobe and Jama Ahmed Mohamed

Join the Zoom session here.

January 26 2022: 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. 117

LERRN/RRN Workshop Series

Learn more and register here

Recent Publications and New Research

Souter, J. (2022) Asylum as Reparation: Refuge and Responsibility for the Harms of Displacement (Palgrave-Macmillan). This book argues that states have a special obligation to offer asylum as reparation to refugees for whose flight they are responsible. It shows the great relevance of reparative justice and the importance of the causes of contemporary forced migration for our understanding of states’ responsibilities to refugees. Part I explains how this view presents an alternative to the dominant humanitarian approach to asylum in political theory and some practices. Part II outlines the conditions under which asylum should act as a form of reparation, arguing that a state owes this form of asylum to refugees where it bears responsibility for the unjustified harms that they experience and where asylum is the most fitting form of reparation available. Part III explores some of the ethical implications of this reparative approach for the workings of states’ asylum systems and the international politics of refugee protection. 

Special Issue: Involuntary Migration, Inequality, and Integration: Vietnamese and Afghan Migrants in Canada, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S., Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, New issue 47(19) November 2021. A rich literature considers the experiences of global migrants across diverse environments. This special issue explores such experiences with a focus on inequality between migrants and host populations in countries of settlement. It asks: why are economic inequalities between these populations deeper and more persistent in some situations than others? How has ‘integration’ in this sense varied across groups and contexts and over time? What factors contribute to such variation? What policies and programmes facilitate better and more equitable economic outcomes for migrants? The issue approaches these questions through a focused and comparative study of two migrant populations (Vietnamese and Afghan) in four Western countries (Canada, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S.). It pays particular attention to involuntary migrants, who fled conflict in their home regions beginning in the 1970s–1980s.

New issue: Externalisation / Mobility and agency in protracted displacement, Forced Migration Review (FMR) 68. The issue includes a major feature on Externalisation. With States increasingly taking action beyond their own borders to prevent the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers, we examine the consequences for protection. A second feature focuses on mobility and agency for those living in protracted displacement, produced in collaboration with the TRAFIG research project. Articles available in French here.

Dedeoglu, S. (2021). Cultivating Precarisation: Intersecting Vulnerabilities of Syrian Refugees in the Turkish Agricultural Sectorv. Work, Employment and Society. This article explores how the vulnerabilities of Syrian refugees influence their integration into Turkish labour markets, in particular the agricultural sector. ‘Vulnerable integration’ refers to the inclusion of the most vulnerable migrant labour – women and children – in the face of rivalry among different segments of the precariat to obtain existing agricultural jobs. With a focus on intersectional vulnerabilities and the feminisation of precarisation of Syrian labour in Turkey, the author aims to highlight the interconnectedness between women’s production and social reproduction by developing a sociological multidimensional dynamic way of thinking about the integration of Syrian refugee labour in Turkey’s seasonal agricultural labour markets.

New publication: Poetry and Settled Status for All: An Anthology (CivicLeicester, 2022) is now available. Poetry and Settled Status for All presents 114 poems and short prose pieces from 97 writers from around the world, exploring themes that include lived experience of migration, refugee and undocumented migrant experiences, and the hostile environment. The anthology features contributions from seasoned writers with many publications to their names alongside emerging voices and has been described variously as “powerful,” “thought-provoking,” and “effective”. The volume is inspired by and builds on how, around the world, campaigners are asking governments to give Settled Status, Indefinite Leave to Remain and humane pathways to citizenship to all in their jurisdictions who need such status. You can also watch a video of readings by the authors held on December 21, 2021.

News and blog posts

Novak Djokovic was detained for five days – refugees in the same hotel have been there for years, Melissa Gater, The Conversation Canada, January 24, 2022. Djokovic’s visa debacle and short stay in the Park hotel is a stark contrast to the plight of the 30-plus asylum seekers also detained there. Journalists flocked to the hotel to cover the story of the detained tennis player but paid little attention to Djokovic’s neighbours, some of whom have been there for more than two years. The author spotlights the plight of those detainees and highlights how governments could find loopholes in laws and conventions to detain asylum seekers indefinitely. 

How Canada should be preparing to help young Afghan refugees, Emily Pelley, The Conversation Canada, January 16, 2022. The government of Canada has committed to bringing 40,000 Afghan refugees to Canada. To date, almost 6,500 have arrived since August 2021. The author uses her focus on young refugees from Syria to draw some lessons learned and better understand how Canada was prepared to receive and support refugee children and youth coming from countries devastated by war and armed conflict. She focuses on Halifax, N.S., as a case study to show how smaller urban centres supported the integration of young refugees.

Digital and social media

The value of social structures for new refugees: Lessons from the Syrian experience (podcast), this Policy options Podcast episode three individuals who have deep experience in refugee migration and settlement in Canada are interviewied.  

January 13 2022: 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. 116

Recent Publications and New Research

Korntheuer, A., Hynie, M., Kleist, M., Farooqui, S., Lutter, E., & Westphal, M. (2021). Inclusive Resettlement? Integration Pathways of Resettled Refugees With Disabilities in Germany and CanadaFrontiers in Human Dynamics3. The purpose of this article is to explore the existing intersectional knowledge on integration and resettlement of refugees with disabilities in two of the top five resettlement countries in the world, Germany and Canada. There is limited research on the intersection of migration and disability, especially in the context of refugee resettlement. The review describes settlement programs in each country. The authors draw from the global literature around forced migration and disability, as well as disability and migration more broadly in each country, to enhance the limited existing research and conduct an intersectional analysis at the level of systems, discourses, and subjective narratives. Findings highlight three dominant themes that weave across all three levels: being a “burden” on society, being invisible, and agency and resistance. Finally, drawing from the theoretical stance of Disability Studies, critical and holistic integration theories, the authors discuss how this intersectional analysis highlights the importance of reshaping the policies, discourse and definition of integration, and the consequences this can have on research, service delivery, and evaluation of integration and resettlement.

Weidinger, T. (2021): Onward (Im)Mobilities and Integration Processes of Refugee Newcomers in Rural Bavaria, Germany. Erlanger Migrations- und Integrationsstudien 8. FAU University Press: Erlangen. This cumulative PhD thesis, comprised of five articles, sought to better understand the onward (im)mobilities and integration processes of refugee newcomers in rural areas in Germany, focusing on rural specificities in terms of settlement and integration. Accordingly, the analysis drew on the discursive framing of refugee settlement processes in rural areas, the residential and everyday (im)mobilities of refugee newcomers in rural areas, and the characteristics of mechanisms of socio-spatial exclusion and inclusion of forced migrants in rural areas in terms of everyday mobility and access to housing. Methodologically and ethically, the project aimed to develop and enhance research tools that can give voice to refugee newcomers and better integrate them into research processes.

Shapiro, S. (2021). Altruistic capital and refugee-background youth: Creating educational counter-stories and opportunities. Linguistics and Education. This theory-based article argues that the theme of altruism should be a central focus of educational research and practice with refugee-background (RB) students and families. The author suggests that altruistic capital, as a form of community cultural wealth (CCW), can be part of counter-storytelling oriented in Critical Race Theory (CRT), which can challenge deficit-oriented “master narratives” about RB students. The author draws on data from previously published research to illustrate the prevalence and power of altruistic capital in RB students’ lives. Finally, the article includes a heuristic of questions that can guide educational policy, instructional practice, and future research with RB students and other marginalized groups.

Chatty, D. (ed.)(2021). Special issue: Displaced Syrians. Journal of Refugee Studies 34(2). The articles presented here in this special issue on Displaced Syria emerged from a workshop held at The Institute of New York University in Abu Dhabi in March 2019. It aims to encourage an examination of the perceptions and aspirations of displaced Syrians and practitioners in hosting countries in the Levant, the Gulf, and in Europe with particular attention to the voices of the displaced, their reimagining of home and homeland, and the emerging transnational sense of identity and belonging.

Loftsdóttir, K. (2021). We Are All Africans Here: Race, Mobilities, and West Africans in Europe. Berghahn Books, New York. This book looks critically at the racialization of mobility in Europe, anchoring the aspiration of precarious migrants from Niger in Belgium and Italy. It contextualizes their experiences within the ongoing securitization of mobility in their home country and the persistent denial of racism and colonialism in Europe. The book is available in hardback and eBook, and the introduction can be read here

Briefs, Reports and Resources

Donald Kerwin, José Pacas, and Robert Warren. Ready to Stay: A Comprehensive Analysis of the US Foreign-Born Populations Eligible for Special Legal Status Programs and for Legalization under Pending Bills, Center for Migration Studies, December 2021. This report offers estimates of US foreign-born populations that are eligible for special legal status programs and those that would be eligible for permanent residence (legalization) under pending bills. It seeks to provide policymakers, government agencies, community-based organizations (CBOs), researchers, and others with a unique tool to assess the potential impact, implement, and analyze the success of these programs. The report views timely, comprehensive data on targeted immigrant populations as an essential pillar of legalization preparedness, implementation, and evaluation. The report and the detailed estimates that underlie it, represent the first attempt to provide a detailed statistical profile of beneficiaries of proposed major US legalization programs and special, large-scale legal status programs.

Craig Damian Smith, Sean Rehaag, and Trevor C. W. Farrow. Access to Justice for Refugees: How Legal Aid and Quality of Counsel Impact Fairness and Efficiency in Canada’s Asylum System. SSRN, December 7, 2021. This report presents findings from a study exploring relationships between refugee legal aid, quality of counsel, the fairness and efficiency of asylum procedures, and access to justice for refugee claimants in Canada. This report aimed to understand how access to legal aid affects access to justice for claimants. This study employed a multi-method approach to collect data from stakeholder groups across Canada’s asylum system, including surveys, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups. Findings demonstrated that refugee claimants in Canada experience significant barriers to justice, which often begin at the outset of their procedures and persist through the asylum process. Representation rates are currently higher than for other tribunals, though funding for legal aid remains precarious over the mid and long-term. In that context, our most important finding is that the quality of representation is an urgent and long-standing issue. This issue currently has more significant impacts on efficiency, outcomes, and access to justice than the inability of claimants to secure counsel.

Regina Jefferies. Comparative perspectives on airport asylum procedures before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, December 2021. This Policy Brief examines how different countries have dealt with international protection needs during the pandemic and provides guidance moving forward. It does so by reviewing the pre-pandemic use of airport asylum procedures in seven different countries (Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Uganda, and the United States) and those countries’ subsequent use of border restrictions and/or closures in response to COVID-19. Reviewing a range of approaches, highlights persistent issues of transparency, procedural fairness, and accountability that pre-date – but have been exacerbated by – the pandemic. Finally, for measures suspending or limiting air travel, it identifies several recommended practices to ensure that States continue to meet their international protection obligations towards refugees and asylum seekers while also responding to public health concerns.

As part of a collaboration between CCR, CARFMS, CRS, and IASFM, several reference documents related to ethical considerations for research with people in forced migration have been developed. Your Rights in Research is an information sheet available in 20 translations for people who are asked to participate in research. It is intended to explain some of the vocabulary found in standard consent forms in lay person’s terms. It also outlines key considerations and resources, with particular attention to lived experiences of newcomers. The translations were funded by SSHRC and uOttawa and completed by Access Alliance Language Services, Ayar Ata, and Ulrike Krause, and collaborators. The CCR website has the ethical guidelines, the executive summary (with checklist), and most of the translations of “Your Rights in Research” in both English and French. Finally, the IASFM website has the International Code of Ethics in English, French and Spanish.

Sahar Atrache. Lebanon’s Deepening Crisis: The Case for a Sustainable Aid Response. Refugees International, December 2, 2021. Lebanon’s political and economic collapse has left hundreds of thousands of Lebanese and Syrian and Palestinian refugees struggling to make ends meet. At present, international and national aid organizations are striving to address the urgent needs of those disproportionally hit by the crisis. But humanitarian actors have neither the mandate nor the capacity to address root causes of the situation. Still, donors and international aid agencies should focus on durable solutions and make sure that their efforts address state capacities, are transparent, and empower local actors.

Lifesaving Humanitarian Response for Women and Girls in Afghanistan: An Urgent Call for U.S. Action. Refugees International, December 10, 2021. Violent conflict, a devastating drought, and food insecurity affecting over half the population in Afghanistan are driving one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Assessments indicate this emergency will exponentially grow as Afghanistan’s economy teeters on the edge of total collapse and the country remains almost entirely dependent on external aid. Urgent action is needed to address the looming famine and avert a humanitarian catastrophe that will impact women and girls and other marginalized groups the most.

News and blog posts

Sandra Sanchez, ‘Denial of Asylum Often Depends on the Region in Which Migrants Live, Report Finds’, Border Report, December 17, 2021. According to a Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) report, asylum seekers’ chances of prevailing in their cases vary dramatically based on where they live. The report finds that immigration courts in New York, San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago, and Arlington, Virginia grant asylum at higher rates, based on an analysis of 223,469 total asylum decisions from 62 immigration courts and 492 immigration judges nationwide from 2016 to 2021. Conversely, courts in Houston, Atlanta, Oakdale, California, and Los Fresnos, Texas had some of the highest denial rates in the nation. TRAC also offers data on individual judges.

Madeline Gleeson, Australia’s asylum policy has been a disaster. It’s deeply disturbing the UK wants to adopt it. The conversation, December 7, 2021. Recently, at least 27 people drowned after their inflatable dinghy capsized while trying to cross the English Channel to the UK. While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked and appalled and deeply saddened” by the tragedy, it will no doubt spur on efforts to rush through the country’s much-maligned Nationality and Borders Bill. This bill, which is being debated in the UK parliament again this week, seeks, among other things, to “deter illegal entry into the United Kingdom”. The sense of urgency mounting around this issue does not sweep aside the need for reasoned and rational policymaking.

Digital and social media

Seminar Series: Race, Borders, and Global (Im)mobility (January 19, 2022 – March 9, 2022) convened by Dr. Hanno Brankamp, Departmental Lecturer in Forced Migration, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. This series critically interrogates how militarized borders, migration enforcement, and racial orderings continue to be normalized globally. Speakers in this series come from a range of disciplines and will examine global migration through questions of race and racism, coloniality, nationalism, citizenship, belonging, criminalization, and bordering. The first seminar of the series, Immigration Controls, Captivity and Reproductive Injustice in Britain: Punishing illegalized migrant women from the Global South and separating children from their mothers by Monish Bhatia (Birkbeck University of London), will focus on how race, gender, class, sexuality, marital and migration status intersect to oppress, control and discipline poor and illegalized single migrant mothers and pregnant individuals from the Global South. Register for the first Seminar of the series on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm UK time here.

December 9, 2021: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 115

Recent Publications and New Research

Abdelaaty, L. (2021). The relationship between human rights and refugee protection: an empirical analysis. The International Journal of Human Rights, 1-20. What is the relationship between a government’s respect for the rights of its own citizens and that government’s regard for refugee rights? On one hand, we may expect that a country with high human rights standards will also offer a higher quality of asylum. Domestic laws that protect citizens’ rights may be extended to refugees, for example. On the other hand, there are reasons to theorize that a country with high human rights standards may offer a lower quality of asylum. For instance, governments may claim that protecting citizens’ wellbeing necessitates the rejection of refugees. To explore these questions, the author analyses a global dataset drawn from reports by the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. Abdelaaty finds that the relationship between citizens’ rights and refugee rights is modified by economic conditions and the size of the refugee population. Moreover, some domestic rights (like freedom of movement and labor rights) may increase protections for refugees, while others (like rule of law) may decrease them (50 free eprints).

Parent, N. (2021). Commitments to forced migrants in African peace agreements, 1990–2018. The International Journal of Human Rights, 1-20. This article presents data on peace agreement commitments towards forced migrants on the African continent (excluding MENA) from 1990 to 2018, resulting from the analysis of 177 peace agreements responding to the search queries ‘Africa (excl. MENA)’ and ‘refugees and displaced persons’ on the Peace Agreement Database (PA-X). The author presents preliminary results from four thematic categories: (1) return, reconstruction, rehabilitation, reintegration, and resettlement (5R), (2) provision commitments, (3) rights and law, and (4) land and property. Initial probing and statistical testing of the data revealed several trends. Notably, most 5R commitments were made towards the return of forced migrants. From twelve provision variables, physical protection was the most common provision commitment, followed by relief support. Where commitments to laws and rights related to forced migration remained relatively low, these results suggest that peace agreements in this region seldom take a rights-based approach to displacement. (50 open access copies).

Isabelle Lemay (2021), Theorizing the Life and Death of Moments of Openness toward Refugees in the Global North: The Case of Germany during the 2015–2016 Refugee “Crisis”, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies. This paper proposes a theoretical framework for the analysis of moments of openness toward refugees in the Global North. Four key types of representations and perceptions of the displaced are identified: deservingness, relatedness, perceived proximity, and connectedness to national identity. These representations and perceptions may enter policymaking through top-down and bottom-up mechanisms. This theoretical framework is applied to Germany’s response to the 2015–2016 refugee “crisis.” Findings highlight the fragility of some representational and perceptional registers and set the stage for a broader research agenda on the emergence, evolution, and decline of moments of openness toward refugees in the Global North.

From neighbourhood to arrival infrastructure? Hospitality areas in hostile times. Building Migrant Resilience in Cities (BMRC) Research Digest, Released November 22, 2021. Centraide launched the ‘Vivons nos quartiers’ initiative for more inclusive and welcoming neighbourhoods for refugees and immigrants. The objective was to concentrate on the neighbourhood as an area of hospitality in order to understand the reception dynamics starting from the vision that new immigrants have of the neighbourhood on their urban experience. What places do they like to frequent in their everyday life? Do these places vary according to their status on arrival (economic immigrant, refugee, asylum-seeker)? And with what types of social relations are these places associated? Two neighbourhoods receiving immigrants were studied: the borough of Saint-Laurent and the western sector of downtown, Peter-McGill, in Montréal.

Ellen Percy Kraly and Holly E. Reed (2021). New Demographic Directions in Forced Migrant and Refugee Research, The Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS), Volume 9 Issue 3. This special collection considers refugee resettlement and integration in the United States within the broader framework of the literature on migrant integration and reflects on the role that population research can play in promoting successful and healthy refugee resettlement in the United States. Articles in this special collection also explore the ethical challenges of forced migration research, humanitarian work with children and adolescents, the resilience of forced migrant communities, the value of computer modeling for human migration and health, demographic methods for estimating and forecasting migration, and research priorities for US refugees and refugee communities.

Briefs, Reports and working papers

Marie McAuliffe (ed.). World Migration Report 2022 International Organization for Migration. The International Organization for Migration, November 2021. The IOM launched its flagship World Migration Report 2022 which reveals a dramatic increase in internal displacement due to disasters, conflict and violence at a time when global mobility ground to a halt due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The report, the eleventh in IOM’s World Migration Report series, draws upon the latest data from around the world to explain key migration trends as well as issues that are emerging on the migration policy horizon.

Jock Collins, Carol Reid, Dimitria Groutsis, Katherine Watson, Annika Kaabel & Stuart Hughes,  Settlement experiences of recently arrived refugees from Syria and Iraq in Victoria in 2018/19: Report #3, November 2021, University of Technology Sydney; Western Sydney University; University of Sydney. The present report is the third of three place-based reports on the outcomes of the first year of a three-year research project – funded by the Australian Research Council – examining the settlement, employment and education experiences and outcomes of recently-arrived Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees. It is a longitudinal study: we have interviewed 248 refugee families – 131 Syrian, 84 Iraqi and 33 Afghan families – and surveyed 699 individuals settling in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (Qld) and Victoria (Vic).

Delphine Nakache, Dagmar Soennecken, Christiana Sagay, Mélissa Mary Anderson, François Crépeau, Edit Frenyo, Zainab Mahmood, Anna Purkey & Rikita Tanotra, Vulner Policy Brief: Canada, European Policy Brief, September 2021. This first Canadian report draws solely on desk research findings. Some of the policy recommendations are subject to revision, following interviews with civil servants and practitioners. Others reflect long-standing issues in the Canadian context. The recommendations include: expanding the mandate of a ‘designated representative’ to all immigration proceedings; developing more consistent and fair oversight and appeal mechanisms to ensure that decision makers effectively and consistently rely on existing guidelines; and ensuring that training of decision-makers is closely followed by regular, transparent and publicly accessible monitoring and evaluation of the decisions being made.

Keith Neuman, Canadian public opinion about immigration and refugees: Final Report, Focus Canada, Environics Institute for Survey Research & Century Initiative, Environics Institute for Survey Research & Initiative du Siècle, October 22, 2021. As part of its Focus Canada public opinion research program (launched in 1976), the Environics Institute updated its research on Canadian attitudes about immigration and refugees. This survey was conducted in partnership with the Century Initiative. This survey is based on telephone interviews conducted (via landline and cellphones) with 2,000 Canadians between September 7 and 23, 2021. A sample of this size drawn from the population produces results accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points in 19 out of 20 samples.

News and blog posts

Katie Kuschminder, ‘We interviewed 150 women migrants – revealing how their journeys involve peril at every turn’, The Conversation, 27 November 2021. Experts have come together from the World Universities Network to work on a collaborative, storytelling project looking into women, migration and their stories of resilience. This article reflects on the news that seven women and three children were among the 27 people who tragically lost their lives in the English Channel on the eve of November 25, the international day for the elimination of violence against women.  

Adele Garnier, ‘The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on refugee resettlement’, Asylum Insight, December 2021. This article puts Australia’s resettlement and COVID experience in context, investigating why the drop in resettlement has been comparatively sharp in Australia, briefly suggesting implications.

Kaamil Ahmed and Lorenzo Tondo, Fortress Europe: the millions spent on military-grade tech to deter refugees, The Guardian, December 6, 2021. This piece maps out the rising number of high-tech surveillance and deterrent systems facing asylum seekers along EU borders.

Rachel SilverContributors, S. Nombuso Dlamini and Nathan Englander, Travel bans expose continued enforcement of colonialism, December 3, 2021. This article argues that the latest Travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant are just the latest symptom of a colonial approach to COVID-19. The ban will devastate the region’s economy, while passengers from the U.K., Germany, Italy, Belgium and other countries where Omicron had been detected continue to fly.

November 25, 2021: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 114

BHER Speaker Series

Learn more and register here


Recent Publications and New Research

[Open Access] New Refuge issue: General Issue with Special Focus on Humanizing Studies of Refuge and Displacement, November 2021. The contributors to this forum examine the un/desirability and im/possibility of “humanizing” studies of refuge and displacement. All of the interventions address underlying epistemological and methodological approaches in refugee studies as central to addressing dehumanization in research. Collectively, the interventions in this forum urge us to engage reflexively in struggles to undo persistent indignity, marginalization, and violence towards refugees, as well as to people affected by both displacement and involuntary immobilities beyond this category.

[Open Access] Clark-Kazak, C. (2021). Ethics in Forced Migration Research: Taking Stock and Potential Ways Forward. Journal on Migration and Human Security, 9(3), 125-138. Migration research poses particular ethical challenges because of legal precarity, the criminalization and politicization of migration, and power asymmetries. This paper analyzes these challenges in relation to the ethical principles of voluntary, informed consent; protection of personal information; and minimizing harm. It shows how migration researchers — including those outside of academia — have attempted to address these ethical issues in their work, including through the recent adoption of a Code of Ethics (now available in French and Spanish) by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM). However, gaps remain, particularly in relation to the intersection of procedural and relational ethics; specific ethical considerations of big data and macrocomparative analyses; localized meanings of ethics; and oversight of researchers collecting information outside of institutional ethics boards. The paper concludes with some recommendations to address arising ethical issues and challenges specific to Forced Migration research.

[Open Access] Lamis Abdelaaty, Refugees and Guesthood in Turkey, Journal of Refugee Studies, Volume 34, Issue 3, 2021, p. 2827–2848. Even as Turkey took in over 3 million Syrians at great expense, Turkish officials were referring to these individuals as guests rather than refugees. Despite significant legal developments in the country, and particularly the formalization of a temporary-protection regime, this choice of labels reveals the influence of underlying political trends on Turkish policymaking regarding refugees. This article compares Turkey’s reactions to the Syrian inflow with its responses to previous refugee groups, including Iraqis in 1988, Bosnians in 1992, Kosovars in 1998 and Chechens starting 1999. In so doing, it demonstrates that the refusal to designate certain populations as asylum seekers or refugees enables Turkey to opt in or out of what might otherwise appear to be generally applicable, national-level policies. Through these strategic semantics, policymakers retain a freedom to manoeuvre in response to international and domestic political incentives.

[Open Access] Yousuf, B., & Berry, N. S. (2021). The Resettlement Experiences of Oromo Women Who Entered Canada as Refugees. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 37(2), 78–92. A growing body of literature shows that gender-based experiences produce different circumstances for men and women who become refugees and thereafter. This article sought to contribute to this literature by investigating the challenges faced by Oromo women who have immigrated to Canada as refugees. Toward this end, we interviewed six Oromo women in Western Canada regarding what led them to leave Ethiopia, their experiences as refugees seeking asylum, and their struggles with resettlement and integration. The findings reveal that Oromo women share the challenges endured by their male counterparts, but also are victim of gender-based subjugation at each stage of emigration.

[Open Access] Khan, Adrian A. 2021. Connecting Crises: Young People in Nepal Reflecting on Life Course Transitions and Trajectories during Times of Uncertainty. Social Sciences 10, no. 11: 439. Young people in displacement contexts often face the challenge of restrictions towards engaging their agency in migration decision-making processes. Through multi-sited ethnography throughout Nepal and in-depth interviews with 30 trans-Himalayan participants, this paper investigates multiple experiences of crises experienced by young people and the effects on their life course trajectories. From focusing on the Civil War in 1996–2006, the 2015 earthquake, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper proposes that initial displacements from the Civil War, when connected with other crises later on in a participant’s life course, better prepared them to deal with crises and enabled them to create a landscape of resilience. Furthermore, a landscape of resilience that connects past and present life course experiences during crises prepared some participants for helping their larger communities alleviate certain crisis-related tension. Overall, connecting crises shaped their (im)mobility and life trajectories, rather than approaching crises as singular/isolated experiences.

[Open Access] FMR issue 68 now online – Externalisation / Mobility and agency in protracted displacement. Forced Migration Review issue 68 includes two features. In the main feature on Externalisation, authors examine the consequences for protection when States increasingly take action beyond their own borders to prevent the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers. A second feature focuses on Mobility and agency for those living in protracted displacement, produced in collaboration with the TRAFIG research project. FMR 68 is available in two formats: a magazine and a shorter Editors’ briefing

[Open Access] Megan Bradley (2021) Realising the Right of Return: Refugees’ Roles in Localising Norms and Socialising UNHCR, Geopolitics. Drawing on extensive material from the UNHCR archives on repatriation movements from Honduras to El Salvador in the 1980s, this article examines how refugees themselves have influenced the governance of return by serving as norm entrepreneurs, localising the right of return and socialising UNHCR to rethink and support broader interpretations of this principle. It analyzes how Salvadoran refugees envisioned the right of return as a collective and deeply political process of asserting citizenship claims, and took direct action to implement this right, compelling UNHCR and government actors to adjust to their vision. These experiences have important implications for understandings of the right of return as an international norm, and the roles of refugees themselves as actors in norm localisation and socialisation processes.

Reports, and Policy Briefs and Opinion Pieces

[Policy Paper] Naomi Alboim and Karen Cohl. (2021). Expanding Refugee Pathways to Canada: Strategies for welcoming Afghan and other refugees. Ryerson University CERC in Migration and Integration, Policy Paper No. 5. This paper recommends strategies for implementing the new Afghan programs and strengthening the impact of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot. It also recommends ways to keep refugee families together and to open up refugee pathways through educational opportunities. The recommendations build on the concept of complementary pathways for refugees, as embodied in section 3.3 of the Global Compact on Refugees. The Compact encourages member states to employ a range of pathways, over and above traditional government resettlement. As a member state with multiple pathways already in place, Canada is a leader in this regard, but more could be done to make the most of each pathway.”

[Brief] From Displacement to Development: How Kenya Can Create Shared Growth by Facilitating Economic Inclusion for Refugees, Refugees International, November 2021. This case study dives deep into refugee economic inclusion in Kenya. It lays out the profile of refugees and hosts in the country, describing the demographics of refugees and gaps in outcomes between refugees and hosts that result from barriers to economic inclusion. Next, it analyzes the main barriers to greater economic inclusion and  describes the benefits, for both refugees and hosts, of overcoming those barriers. The brief also offers recommendations for how to overcome the barriers.

[Report] Research and knowledge mobilization in the GTA’s immigrant and refugee-serving sector: A needs assessment, Wellesley Institute, November 15, 2021. This report provides an overview of the current landscape for research into migration, settlement, and immigration in the Greater Toronto Area, and offers recommendations for closing gaps, strengthening research relationships, and ensuring a solid base of knowledge and evidence for policy and practice among academics, policy-makers, and community organizations and service providers.

[Blog] Cristiano d’Orsi and Juan Pablo Serrano Frattali ‘The right to food and housing for Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): geographical distance does not forcibly mean different situations’, AfricLaw, November 2, 2021. In this piece, the authors  offer a legal and policy comparison between the present situation of IDPs in Colombia and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. If at the legal level Colombia has certainly a more complete framework for the protection of IDPs, loopholes and lacunae in the treatment of IDPs are still present in both countries.

Also on the RRN Radar:

Digital and social media

Refugee-Specific Locally-Engaged Refuge Research Network (LERRN) on-line training course. This 12-unit training program engages with the theory and practice of cross-cultural partnered fieldwork.  Units will be delivered through a series of pre-recorded lectures and supported by readings and other materials, with on-line discussions and assignments supported and moderated by a designated course facilitator. This training program will both equip emerging scholars with new research skills and foster critical reflection and dialogue among participants on these issues. The pilot program will run from the 10 January 2022 until 1 April 2022. Students will be asked to dedicate approximately 6 hours a week to the course. There is no fee for participating in the pilot offering of the course. Please direct any questions to Nimo Bokore ( and Amanda Klassen (

Recorded sessions from CARFMS21 now available on YouTube. The recorded sessions (where permissions have been released) from the CARFMS21 conference to the CARFMS YouTube Channel: CARFMS21: Utopias as Practices: Refugee Protection and The Coming Futures – YouTube.

November 11, 2021: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 113


Learn more and register here

Recent Publications and New Research

Van Haren, Ian and Claudia Masferrer (2021). Visitor Visa Policy Changes and Mexico-Canada Migration. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies. Although recent scholarship shows that restrictive visa policies curtail migration, research does not disaggregate policy effects within migration flows. This article analyzes Mexico-Canada migration when a travel visa was imposed in 2009 and removed in 2016. The imposition coincided with a dramatic decrease in travel and refugee claims. However, the number of Mexican immigrants grew, contrasting expectations of migration policy effectiveness research. The authors suggest that future research should disaggregate effects of policy changes, consider a state’s broader approach to migration policy, and examine how subnational programs and number of legal migration pathways influence trends of mixed migration flows [The link includes 50 open-access copies].

Lawlor, A., & Paquet, M. (2021). Deservingness in context: perspectives toward refugees and asylum seekers in CanadaJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-21. This article explores the conditions under which Canadians are willing to provide the right to stay and access to migrant-specific services to refugees and asylum seekers in Canada. Taking into consideration the institutional and policy specificities of Canada’s immigration regime, the analysis suggests that refugees and asylum seekers are evaluated as qualitatively different groups by the Canadian public. Consequently, the authors propose that economic cues and deservingness cues should have different influences on the evaluation of these two groups. Using a survey experiment, this article finds that economic cues play a role in the evaluation of refugees and that humanitarian needs are central to Canadians’ evaluation of asylum seekers. These results demonstrate the need to take national and institutional contexts into account when considering attitudes towards vulnerable migrant groups and, in particular, deservingness evaluations of these groups.

New open access issue: Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso (ed.) (2021). Migration and Refugee Flows: New Insights. Politics and Governance 9 (4). Population movements between countries and continents are not recent phenomena. What is new today is that migration flows are increasingly linked to the globalization process and to environmental degradation. Most of the migrants leave their homes for economic reasons, but also due to the higher frequency of natural disasters. Of the total migrant population, those who escape from conflicts or persecution still represent a smaller fraction and are entitled to obtain refugee status. This thematic issue includes eight articles that analyse migration flows and migration governance from different analytical perspectives. Five of the eight contributions examine the role that several factors play in explaining international migration flows and its effects, namely cultural diversity, information technology tools, governance, terrorism, and attitudes towards immigration. The remaining three articles are country studies that analyse the socio-economic causes/effects of migration flows to Portugal, Spain, and Germany, devoting special attention to forced migration and refugees.

Chowdhory, N., & Poyil, S. T. (2021). Speaking the language of the ‘other’: negotiating cultural boundaries through language in chitmahals in Indo-Bangladesh borders. Citizenship Studies, 1-17. Borders are not merely assertions of sovereign territorial demarcations, but indicative of cultural boundaries. This article discusses how the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (2015) led to reorganisation of territorial boundaries, whereby the inhabitants had the choice of citizenship between India and Bangladesh that reaffirmed their identity. The subjective differentiation between ‘us’ and ‘them’ was negotiated by various cultural elements such as Bangla language, an everyday language symbolizing membership in the constituting communities, kinship and citizenship in the nation. Language was an important attribute that identified them as ‘Bengali’/‘Bangladeshi’ while navigating the trans-territorial national identity. While arguing that the new citizens’ construction of ‘acts of citizenship’ was based on a linguistic identity and everyday languages made claims to citizenship possible, the paper also explores: how does language help negotiate the cultural boundaries of ‘us’ or ‘them’ in post Land Border Agreement? How has language (re)shaped identity towards attainment of citizenship?

Salam, Z., Nouvet, E., & Schwartz, L. (2021). Reflections of methodological and ethical challenges in conducting research during COVID-19 involving resettled refugee youth in CanadaJournal of Medical Ethics. This article reflects on the ethical and methodological challenges encountered when conducting qualitative research during the pandemic with Syrian migrant youth who are resettled in Canada. The three areas discussed from the study are recruitment, informed consent and managing the interviews. Special attention to culture as being part of the study’s methodology as an active reflexive process is also highlighted. The goal of this article is to contribute to the growing understanding of complexities of conducting research during COVID-19 with populations which have layered vulnerabilities, such as migrant youth. This article hopes that the reflections may help future researchers in conducting their research during this pandemic by being cognizant of both the ethical and methodological challenges discussed


Reports, and Policy Briefs and Opinion Pieces

[Brief] Dire Consequences: Addressing the Humanitarian Fallout from Myanmar’s Coup, Refugees International (October 2021). Nine months have passed since the coup in Myanmar, and the country’s humanitarian outlook is increasingly dire. Amid the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing economic crisis, the military junta’s crackdown on dissent has resulted in the killing of more than 1,100 civilians and the forcible displacement of more than 200,000 people and has left an estimated 3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. This brief details the current situation in Myanmar and the complex geo-political dynamics hampering much-needed action, and recommends steps Myanmar’s neighbors, ASEAN countries, donor countries, and the United States must take to address the crisis and provided aid and safety to those in need.

[Report] No Shelter from the Storm: The Urgent Need to Recognise and Protect Climate Refugees, Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) – October 2021. Since 2008, weather-related hazards have displaced over 21 million people each year on average. This figure does not include those forced to leave home due to slow-onset climate impacts, such as desertification and sea level rise. Most of the world’s climate refugees come from vulnerable communities in lower-income countries, where environmental degradation and climate change intersects with and exacerbates other stressors such as poverty, oppression, and conflict. The current international protection regime does not meet the needs of climate refugees. There remains a deficit of adequate legal and policy frameworks governing climate-induced displacement at the international level. The report includes recommendations and urges the international community to urgently work together to protect climate refugees by mitigating global heating through rapid decarbonisation action and developing protections for those already affected by climate change.

[Opinion] From Dadaab to Mogadishu, and Back Again?  A Somali Refugee’s Journey by Abdirahman Ahmed Aden, The New Humanitarian – October 20, 2021. After living in a refugee camp for most of his life, Abdirahman Ahmed Aden returned to Somalia, his country of origin. He has a job as a journalist and filmmaker, but he is afraid to leave his home because of the violence. “[W]hat I didn’t bargain for were the bombings, the shootings, the unpredictability of the violence here,” Aden said. “I will never get used to the fear and the violence.” When he can earn enough money, Aden plans to return to Dadaab, the refugee camp in northeastern Kenya where he grew up. He writes that he never felt at home in the refugee camp. Instead, he always felt that it was a “transient” place — refugees waiting to be either repatriated or resettled.

[Policy paper] Seizing the opportunity for a coherent refugee policy! Recommendations for the protection of Afghans on various levels of governance, by Petra Bendel, Johanna Günther, Raphaela Schweiger, Janina Stürner-Siovitz. This report presents policy recommendations for action in 21 key messages for decision-makers at different governance levels: (1) the international level, (2) the EU level, (3) the level of the German federal government and (4) the levels of the German Länder and municipalities. It highlights both short- and medium-term prospects, whereby there are also opportunities for overlap in the interest of coherent approaches. In the face of general concern, helplessness and incoherent policy approaches, the aim of this policy paper is to identify initial solutions and to make proposals for addressing the Afghan refugee situation at various levels of governance.

[Special issue] LERRN success stories, October 2021. The Local Engagement Refugee Research Network is a community of researchers and practitioners, committed to promoting protection and solutions, with and for refugees. LERRN is pleased to present this special issue of our Newsletter featuring Success Stories from the first half of the Partnership, 2018 to 2021. This report showcases the accomplishments of the network since its launch in 2018. Now at its halfway point, LERRN is excited to share some of the many successes of their researchers, students, and refugee partners.

October 21, 2021: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 112


Learn more and register here

Recent Publications and New Research

Istaiteyeh, Rasha (2020): The Impact of COVID-19 on Syrian Refugees in Jordan. World Refugee & Migration Council (WRMC). Research Paper. This report analyzes the economic implications of COVID-19 for the Jordanian economy, including its diverse economic sectors and, most importantly, on its levels of poverty and inequality. It also surveys Jordan’s policies toward Syrian refugees, including provision of Executive Summary 6 health, education and other essential services, as well as the impact on the livelihoods of Syrian refugees in Jordan. The report also considers the important question of whether present and future international assistance can mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the Jordanian economy and specifically on the ability of Jordan to continue hosting Syrian refugees

Fallah, B., Istaiteyeh, R., & Mansur, Y. (2021). Moving Beyond Humanitarian Assistance. World Refugee & Migration Council Research Report, September 2021.This study, conducted by three economists in the region — Belal Fallah, Rasha Istaiteyeh and Yusuf Mansur — analyzes the impact of Syrian refugees on Jordan’s economy and suggests ways that the international community can receive more international support. The first section of the study, written by Belal Fallah, analyzes the characteristics of Syrian refugees and their impact on the Jordanian economy. In the second section of the study, Rasha Istaiteyeh assesses the possibilities for Syrian refugees to find solutions for providing economic opportunities for Syrian refugees. Yusuf Mansur, in the third section of this report, begins by analyzing the international assistance received by Jordan from 2012–2019 and the impact of the Syrian refugees on aid inflows.

Khasalamwa-Mwandha, S. (2021). Local Integration as a Durable Solution? Negotiating Socioeconomic Spaces between Refugees and Host Communities in Rural Northern Uganda. Sustainability 13(19). With a growing number of displaced people, there is a need for robust approaches to coping with displacement. Uganda has a progressive refugee policy that promotes freedom of movement and the socioeconomic rights of the refugees. Specifically, refugees are often allocated land to settle and cultivate rural settlements, and the integrated social service provision facilitates interaction with host communities. However, there remain challenges in creating sustainable livelihoods for refugees in rural settlements. There exist significant tensions over shared resources such as land, water, woodlots, and grazing areas. Based on a survey of 416 households and key informant interviews with South Sudanese refugees in selected settlements in the Adjumani district, the paper highlights refugees’ access to social and economic spaces as critical pathways to sustainable livelihoods and integration. Uganda’s progressive policy expands the opportunity space; however, refugees still encounter significant barriers in accessing the socioeconomic spaces.

Reports, and Policy Briefs and Opinion Pieces

New Report: Intentional Connections for Welcoming Communities Improving Settlement for Privately Sponsored Refugees in Ontario through Settlement-Sponsor Collaboration. Allies for Refugee Integration, 2021. Allies for Refugee Integration has been about dreaming of a future where privately sponsored refugees have a consistent and smooth settlement journey in Canada. With the support of hundreds of stakeholders and dozens of partnerships. From 2018 to 2021, ARI and its partners focused on creating more welcoming communities for privately sponsored refugees. Project partners, OCASI and Refugee 613 had both observed gaps in knowledge, relationship and operations between private sponsors and the formal settlement sector; gaps that often become cracks that negatively affected the settlement journey of refugees. The aim of this report is to generate and test adjustments to the user experience for both settlement workers and sponsors, with the goal of improving access to support for refugees.

New Report: “I Didn’t Feel Like a Human in There” Immigration Detention in Canada and its Impact on Mental Healthv, Human Rights watch, 2021. Despite its reputation as a refugee-welcoming and multicultural country, Canada incarcerates thousands of people on immigration-related grounds every year, including people who are fleeing persecution, those seeking employment and a better life, and people who have lived in Canada since childhood. Figures from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reveal that the number of immigration detainees incarcerated in Canada has increased every fiscal year between 2016-17 and 2019-20, peaking in fiscal year 2019-20 with a total of 8,825 people in immigration detention. For many detainees, not knowing how long they will be detained causes trauma, distress, and a sense of powerlessness. Detention can exacerbate existing psychosocial disabilities and frequently triggers new ones, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. The authors expose the mental health effects of the Canadian detention system and recommend the gradual abolition of Immigration detention in Canada. The report is available in a report format as well as a public education document.

 Petra Molnar, ‘Inside new refugee camp like a ‘prison’: Greece and other countries prioritize surveillance over human rights’, The Conversation. 28 September 2021. During her visit to Samos, Molnar was told about refugees being intercepted by Greek authorities without being given the opportunity to claim refugee protection or even speak to a lawyer. Without these opportunities, they are often returned to Turkey.This practice is known as “pushbacks” or “interceptions at sea,” where boats of people seeking refugee protection are returned to Turkish waters by Greek and European authorities without being allowed to claim asylum. This process is facilitated by various surveillance technologies. Read more.

Mandy Hughes, Barbara Rugendyke and Louise Whitaker, ‘‘It’s given me love’: connecting women from refugee backgrounds with communities through art’, The Conversation, 4 October 2021. Women from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria, Iraq and other countries are settling in regional Australian communities. Adjusting to life in a new home involves facing many challenges — but finding a sense of belonging can help the settlement process.For those who have experienced trauma, including women from refugee backgrounds, creative arts can enhance well-being, improve social connections and promote a sense of belonging. Connecting through creativity also builds bridges, addressing fears of newcomers and communities around refugee settlement. Read more.

 Robert Falconer, ‘Why Joe Biden should emulate Canada and go big on private refugee resettlement’, The Conversation, 12 October 2021. As attention turns from the evacuation of Afghanistan to the arrival of refugees, U.S. President Joe Biden has an opportunity for large-scale engagement of the American public in a deeply personal fashion. If Canada’s history is any indicator, the capacity of private American citizens to resettle refugees is large and untapped. It may even bridge the divide over immigration in the United States. Read more.

Caitlin Katsiaficas (2021). Investing in refugee talent. International Centre for Migration Policy Development. 13 October 2021. In the ’global race for talent,’ countries are seeking to attract the best and brightest – and often look to international students as a significant source of future talent. Meanwhile, universities, student groups, and other stakeholders are increasingly spearheading initiatives to support the enrolment of refugee students through scholarship and sponsorship programmes. This commentary argues that teaming up to thoughtfully incorporate international refugee students into European talent management initiatives can be a win-win. Read more.

New Blog: Cristiano d’Orsi, Analysing access to healthcare for refugees and migrants (“mixed migrants”) in South Africa and Kenya: protective laws and progressive policies clashing with daily reality, Refugee Law Initiative, October 18, 2021. In this blog, the author analyses whether discrimination is permitted, whether it happens anyway, and what could be done to combat intolerance against refugees and migrants in South Africa and Kenya in terms of their access to healthcare in these host countries. He chose these two countries because they are among the African countries with the longest history of hosting aliens. Read more.

Online Resources and Social Media

Watch virtual panel: research launch: thinking long-term about syrian refugees in jordan, lebanon and turkey (September 9, 2021), World Refugee and Migration Council. This panel discussion to launch the three reports and hear firsthand from the researchers about the economic impact of the refugees on the three countries and their recommendations for mobilizing additional international support.

Researching Internal Displacement: This platform connects researchers, practitioners, policymakers, students, artists and people from displacement-affected communities with cutting-edge research, analysis, creative materials and events on internal displacement. The site features working papersblog posts, and many other resources to showcase and push forward new research. We welcome your contributions too!  

Internal Displacement, Conflict and Protection: This is a free six-week online training course that provides your staff, counterparts and the general public with a comprehensive introduction to key issues in this field. These resources respond to the UN High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement call to strengthen ‘effective use of internal displacement data and analysis’.