December 15 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. 131


[Open Access] Banerjee, P., Canefe, N., & Chowdhory, N. (Eds.). (2022). A South Asian Journal on Forced Migration Contemporary Wars and Politics of Dispossession: Afghanistan and Ukraine. Refugee Watch, Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group. This special issue of Refugee Watch focused on the forced migration crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine, addressing the significance of forced migration studies within the larger context of history, politics and critical methodological interventions in the post-colonial context. This issue aims to facilitate a robust conversation amongst scholars on the Afghan exodus defined in the long dureé and not just the American invasion of the country, and, the recent Ukrainian refugee crisis concerning the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian war. Both armed conflicts and chronic insecurity continue to have accumulative consequences for those affected in their respective regions.

[Open Access] Isaakyan, I., Triandafyllidou, A., & Baglioni, S. (2022). Immigrant and Asylum Seekers Labour Market Integration upon Arrival:NowHereLand: A Biographical Perspective. Springer. Through an inter-subjective lens, this book investigates the initial labour market integration experiences of migrants, refugees or asylum seekers, characterized by different biographies and migration/asylum trajectories. The book gives voice to the migrants and seeks to highlight their experiences and understandings of the labour market integration process in the first years of immigration. It adopts a critical, qualitative perspective but does not remain ethnographic. Each chapter discusses the migrant’s intersubjective experiences with the relevant policies and practices and with the relevant stakeholders, whether local government, national services, civil society or migrant organizations.

[Open Access] Kinchin, N., & Mougouei, D. (2022). What can artificial intelligence do for refugee status determination? A proposal for removing subjective fear. International Journal of Refugee Law. Viewing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in refugee status determination (RSD) as part of the digital transformation of the refugee regime forces us to consider how it may affect decision-making efficiencies, as well as its impact(s) on refugees. Assessments of harm and benefit cannot be disentangled from the challenges AI is being tasked to address. Through an analysis of algorithmic decision-making, predictive analysis, biometrics, automated credibility assessments, and digital forensics, this article reveals the risks and opportunities involved in the application of AI in RSD. On the one hand, AI’s potential to produce greater standardization, mine and parse large amounts of data, and address bias, holds the significant possibility for increased consistency, improved fact-finding, and corroboration. On the other hand, machines may end up replicating and manifesting the unconscious biases and assumptions of their human developers, and AI has a limited ability to read emotions and process impacts on memory.

Sackett, Blair. 2022. “A Uniform Front?: Power and front-line worker variation in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.” EthnographyDrawing upon ethnographic observation in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and interviews with aid workers, this article examines three types of humanitarian workers (international, national, and refugee), who work directly with refugee clients. Workers use day-to-day work practices to structure where, when, and how they interact with refugee clients. However, refugee workers at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy are less equipped to use these practices. As a result, they are vulnerable to increased criticism and accusations of corruption from co-workers and are uniquely affected by criticism from the refugee client community. By examining their day-to-day work practices, this paper illuminates how inequalities in power among workers contribute to differences in work practices and vulnerability in workplace interactions – and reinforces refugees’ marginalization.

Ogoe, S. (2022). Measuring success: predictors of successful economic integration of resettled female refugees. PhD thesis – University of Manitoba. This dissertation examines the successes and challenges of refugee women in the Canadian labour market. The author addresses the question: What characteristics predict economic success among refugee women in Canada? This dissertation uses Critical Race theory, Intersectional theory and Segmented Labour Market theory informed by a quantitative research design to address this question. The findings suggest that the barriers in the Canadian labour market help to sustain existing racism, discrimination and inequality that refugee women experience.


Nakache et al. (2022). Migrant Vulnerability in the Canadian Protection System: The View of Migrants, Public Servants and on-the ground Practitioners. VULNER Research Report 2, Canada. Throughout the VULNER project, the Canadian team seeks to answer three questions: How are the ‘vulnerabilities’ of migrants defined in the relevant Canadian legislation, case law, policy documents and administrative guidelines? How do Canadian decision-makers understand and address the ‘vulnerabilities’ of migrants? Finally, how do the legal frameworks and the implementation practices concretely affect vulnerabilities experienced by migrants in Canada? This second report describes how the vulnerability is addressed and accommodated within the claims for protection, according to civil servants and practitioners. Furthermore, it explicitly outlines key factors of vulnerability in migrants’ lives. Overall, participants’ responses indicate that immigration status and health (both mental and physical health) act as intersecting factors of vulnerability in migrants’ lives.

We Were Warned: Unlearned Lessons of Famine in the Horn of Africa by Abdullahi Halakhe, Refugees International. December 9, 2022. Below-average rainfall and drought are causing an unprecedented food emergency for 40 million people in the Horn of Africa. This report outlines the current situation, lessons from the past, and a way forward to save thousands of lives before it is too late.


Ukraine war: Poland welcomed refugees with open arms at first, but survey shows relations are becoming more strained by Felix Krawatzek & Piotr Goldstein, The Conversation. December 7, 2022. Ukrainians were initially welcomed with open arms in Poland, but there are signs that the relationship might be strained. Among them are diverging views on critical historical events and figures. Nevertheless, there are still signs of solidarity between the two populations – but increasingly, Ukrainian refugees are seen as a burden.

Electronic monitoring in community could reduce immigration detention, document states by Paul Karp, The Guardian Australia. November 22, 2022. The Australian Department of Home Affairs started the “alternatives to held detention” program, which in its first phase, conducted research on “international detention models, the use of parole and bail in domestic jurisdictions, dynamic risk assessment models, and how electronic monitoring could be utilized in an immigration context”.

Australia: Many Children Returned from Syria Detention Doing Well, Human Rights Watch, November 21, 2022. Many children repatriated from detention camps for Islamic State (ISIS) suspects and their families in northeast Syria are successfully reintegrating into their home countries, according to this Human Rights Watch report. Australia is urged to allow the return of an estimated 30 or more Australian children and 16 women who remain in camps and prisons in northeast Syria. Detained Australian men should also be returned as soon as possible.

Five migration solutions for Europe for 2023 by Bram Frouws, The New Humanitarian, December 6, 2022. This article provides ideas to help break the policy impasse and reduce the dangers and abuse people face while on the move. European debates about migration are intractable, polarising, and broken, fuelling a downward spiral of ever more extreme policies aimed at keeping people out. To break this cycle, there is a desperate need to reframe the conversation to focus on achievable policy goals that will benefit both people on the move and the countries they aim to reach.


[CYRRC’s new podcast mini-series] The Refuge: Policy Matters features discussions between policy makers, academics, community partners and people with lived experience about how to better support children, youth, and families with refugee experience in Canada. The most recent episode features Ali Duale (MLA for Halifax Armdale and former refugee from Somalia), Dr. Nicole Ives (Associate Professor of Social Work at McGill University), and Sherman Chan (Director of Family and Settlement Support at MOSAIC B.C.), discussing the importance of newcomers’ sense of belonging, factors affecting belonging, and recommendations on how to improve belonging for newcomers to Canada.

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