December 1 2023: RRN Research Digest

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

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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