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.

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