February 9 2024: 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


Bergmann, J. (2024). At risk of deprivation. Studien Zur Migrations- Und Integrationspolitik. This open-access book examines how and why various forms of climate (im)mobilities can impact people’s objective and subjective well-being. Worsening climate impacts force subsistence farmers worldwide to decide between staying or leaving their homes. This mixed methods study analyzes climate-related migration, displacement, relocation, and immobility cases in Peru’s coastal, highland, and rainforest regions. The results reveal that numerous farmers experienced profound and often negative well-being impacts, regardless of whether they stayed or migrated.

Jakobson, M.-L., King, R., Moroşanu, L., & Vetik, R. (2023). Migration and integration in turbulent times. IMISCOE Research Series, 1–17. This open-access book investigates this question in the present context of turbulent times when, instead of dealing with one crisis, migrants, governments, and whole societies have to cope with a complex web of multiple unsettling events that create anxieties about migration. Emphasizing a plurality of theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, and a variety of geographical settings in Europe and beyond, the chapters bring new insights into migrations produced by global political events, national political shifts, economic downturns and the Covid-19 pandemic. Migrants’ experiences and policy outcomes are emphasized. The result is an impressive rethinking of the concepts and terminology applied to migration and integration, of interest to students, social scientists, and policymakers.

Heck, G., Sevinin, E., Habersky, E., & Sandoval-García, C. (2024). Making routes: Mobility and Politics of Migrant in the Global South. The American University in Cairo Press. This book provides a fresh understanding of mobility flows, transnational linkages, and the politics of migration across the Global South, in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Moving away from North–South, East–West binaries and challenging the conception that migratory movements are primarily unidirectional—from South to North—it explores how state policies, migrants’ trajectories, nationalism and discrimination, and art and knowledge production unfold in places as widespread as Egypt, Turkey, Myanmar, Nicaragua, and Haiti.

Pries, L., Calderón Morillón, O., & Estrada Ceron, B. A. (2023). Trajectories of forced migration: Central American migrants on their way toward the USA. Journal on Migration and Human Security. Migration dynamics from Central America to and through Mexico are mainly considered economic or mixed migration of people looking for work and a better life in the USA. Nevertheless, since the 2010s, the number of asylum applications in Mexico has skyrocketed. Based on a survey of Central American migrants in Mexico, the authors demonstrate that some (organized) violence was a crucial driver for leaving and a constant companion during their journey. After contextualizing the migration route from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) toward Mexico, the authors present the design of the study, describe the sociodemographic and general contexts of the 350 interviewees, and present the migration trajectories as long-lasting sequences of events and stays, where violence in different forms always is at play.

Tiilikainen, M., Hiitola, J., Ismail, A. A., & Palander, J. (2023). From forced migration to the forced separation of families. IMISCOE Research Series, 3–14. This open-access book examines the impacts and experiences of family separation on forced migrants and their transnational families. It investigates how people with a forced migration background in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America experience separation from their families and how family and kin in the countries of origin or transit are impacted by the often precarious circumstances of their family members in receiving countries. This book provides new knowledge on the nexus between transnational family separation, forced migration, and everyday (in)security. Additionally, it yields comparative information for assessing the impacts of relevant legislation and administrative practice in several national contexts. Based on rich empirical data, including unique cases about South-South migration, the findings in this book are highly relevant to academics in migration and refugee studies as well as policymakers, legislators, and practitioners.

Vargas-Silva, C., Hagen-Zanker, J., Carling, J., Carrasco, I. J., Czaika, M., Godin, M., & Erdal, B. M. (2023). Tackling the root causes of migration. Mignex. The authors examine the options that policymakers have for tackling the root causes of migration, defined as improving the economic, social and political conditions in places of origin to reduce aspirations to migrate internationally by making it more feasible and desirable to stay. They discuss root causes on the concept’s own terms to make policy options clear, not to endorse it.


Bearing witness: Atrocities and looming hunger in Darfur. (2024). Refugees International. Twenty years on from the Darfur genocide, mass atrocities are once again underway in Darfur. As a larger war continues to ravage the country of Sudan, a disturbing new wave of ethnically targeted killing has been unleashed by a militia descended from the groups that carried out the original genocide. However, global action has been tepid and ineffective as the killings mount. With Darfur’s former peacekeeping mission now withdrawn, global diplomacy focused elsewhere, and wildly inadequate levels of aid, there is little in place to prevent the current atrocities from devolving into another mass-mortality catastrophe. Thus, these atrocities are driving mass forced displacement and growing humanitarian needs.

Gender dynamics in internal displacement. (2023). Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. This report is intended to improve understanding of gender inequalities linked with internal displacement and highlight ways forward to promote more inclusive and effective data collection, planning and responses. It begins by drawing from the latest primary data collected by IDMC and other organizations to explore the gendered risks and impacts of displacement. It then showcases promising examples of gender-responsive action to prevent and address the phenomenon, and highlights women’s role as agents of change. The final section takes stock of data sources on the issue and discusses tools and initiatives to address gaps.

Migration at the U.S.-Mexico border: A challenge decades in the making. (2024). Migration Policy Institute. This report examines the history of the federal government’s efforts to improve southwest border security in the modern era, beginning with the Clinton administration in 1993 and looking at subsequent changes during the Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations. The study identifies key developments in the evolution of U.S.-Mexico border security, including the changing origins and characteristics of migrants arriving at the border. The report also draws lessons from this long view of the border that may benefit policymakers and political leaders today. These include recognizing how the Department of Homeland Security’s mission has evolved, how vital interagency partnerships are, and that a transnational phenomenon such as irregular migration requires policies and international partnerships that stretch far beyond the border line itself.

Migration Outlook report: Electoral promises and quick fixes, asylum offshoring, and labour migration’s coming of age. (2024). International Centre for Migration Policy Development. The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) expects migration to be a pivotal topic in a year full of European, national, and regional elections. While many governments implement quick fixes ahead of their electoral cycles, opposition parties are tying their campaigns to migration-related promises. ICMPD’s 2024 Migration Outlook report forecasts record displacement levels resulting from war and conflict, leading to a further securitization of migration and offshoring of asylum procedures and a rise in secondary movements. These developments occur while labour migration is ‘coming of age’ in Europe.

Sudan: Situation report. (2024). The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Sudan is the ‘largest internal displacement crisis globally,’ hosting an estimated 9.05 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the end of 2023, about 13% of all IDPs worldwide. Some 6.1 million people have been internally displaced since the start of the conflict on 15 April 2023, including some 13,500 people newly displaced in the past week, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). UNHCR’s designated human rights expert for Sudan, Radhouane Nouicer, reported multiple human rights violations in Sudan, including extrajudicial killings, unlawful detention, torture, beatings, and sexual violence. 

Summary of the Global Refugee Forum 2023 by the co-hosts and co-convenors. (2024). The UN Refugee Agency. This report summarizes the Global Refugee Forum 2023 that took place from 13 to 15 December in Geneva, Switzerland, with linked events held in other locations from 11 December. Held every four years, the Forum is the world’s largest international gathering on refugees, designed to support the practical implementation of the objectives set out in the Global Compact on Refugees: Ease pressures on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, increase access to third-country solutions and improve conditions in countries of origin


Quake survivors in northwest Syria feel abandoned amid aid cuts and glacial rebuild by Moawia Atrash, February 6, 2024. The New Humanitarian. One year after deadly earthquakes destroyed entire villages in northern Syria, tens of thousands of people who were displaced by the disaster still have nowhere to call home, as local conflict intensifies but international attention points elsewhere and aid funding dwindles. The days and weeks after the 6 February disaster were chaotic in southern Türkiye and northern Syria, with people scrambling to both take shelter and help however they could. The death toll eventually rose to more than 55,000 between the two countries.

How the ICJ could shape protection for people displaced in the context of climate change by Jane McAdam, January 24, 2024. Researching Internal Displacement. The forthcoming Advisory Opinion by the International Court of Justice will provide a weighty, rigorous and contemporary legal analysis of States’ legal obligations concerning climate change and human rights. This opinion piece describes how the court’s response to the request for an Advisory Opinion, led by Vanuatu, might influence protection for people at risk of displacement in the context of climate change.

Paving pathways for inclusion: 3 levers countries can use to include refugees in education systems by Arthur Borkowski, Lily Calaycay, and Bindu Sunny, January 30, 2024. Global Partnership for Education. Over 36 million refugees around the globe, many of whom are school-aged children, continue to grapple with the instability that defines their new reality. Each step they take—from crossing international borders seeking safety to navigating the complex pathways toward education and local integration—is fraught with uncertainty. With protracted crises causing prolonged periods of displacement, the inclusion of refugees within national education systems can help mitigate this uncertainty and equip them with the tools to rebuild their lives.

Sudan conflict fuels world’s largest internal displacement by Mohamed Osman, January 31, 2024. Human Rights Watch. Last week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that 10.7 million people have been uprooted from their homes in Sudan, including 9 million displaced internally—two-thirds since the conflict broke out in April 2023. Sudan now has the highest rate of internal displacement in the world, even surpassing Syria’s 7.2 million. The author argues that this grim record should be a wake-up call.

Where do Ukrainian refugees in EU go after 2025? by Sheraz Akhtar and Patrick Keeney, January 23, 2024. EU Observer. Due to the ongoing Ukrainian-Russian war, millions of Ukrainian refugees have fled to EU countries, where they were met with generous and unprecedented support. Ukrainian refugees have encountered numerous challenges. As with anyone who flees from a war, it can be psychologically distressing to leave behind loved ones, community ties, and homes on short notice, not knowing what the future holds. In the host countries, refugees face housing issues, rising inflation, difficulty in securing decent jobs, a higher risk of exploitation, and language barriers, which are some of the critical predicaments they encounter.


Are the Pacific’s climate migration experiments a Preview for the world? by Changing Climate, Changing Migration. A landmark climate migration deal inked in late 2023 would allow hundreds of climate-vulnerable residents of the small island nation of Tuvalu to move to Australia. The pact is the latest step for a region that is at the leading edge globally in policy experimentation to address climate displacement. This Australia-Tuvalu deal, which is not uncontroversial, follows a brief and ultimately shelved attempt by New Zealand to create a “climate refugee” visa. How are these policies playing out, and what can the rest of the world learn from the Pacific experiences? This episode features renowned legal scholar Jane McAdam, who directs the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW.

Beyond Livelihoods: A Protracted Displacement Economy Approach by Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Mutual aid, feminist economics and film in displacement affected communities. This podcast research seminar will present findings and short films from qualitative and quantitative fieldwork conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Pakistan. The findings are from the Protracted Displacement Economies project based at the University of Sussex.

Evacuations as displacement by Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. This talk about evacuations as displacement will be led by Jane McAdam AO, Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW. The event will take place on February 14, 2024, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM GMT on Zoom.

Global approaches to refugee response – what difference can they make? by Amanda Gray Meral and Jeffery Crisp, ODI. In recent times, many thousands of Afghan refugees have been forcibly repatriated from Pakistan, while Egypt’s border has been closed to prevent the arrival of Palestinians from Gaza. In Bangladesh, 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar live an increasingly precarious existence, unable to settle in the country or go back to their homes. Meanwhile, the UK government has been making intense efforts to implement an agreement that would allow newly arrived asylum seekers to be deported to Rwanda. As these examples suggest, refugees around the world are not accessing the protection, solutions and assistance to which they are entitled. The second Global Refugee Forum (GRF) with hundreds of delegates from the international aid sector met in Geneva in mid-December 2023.

Refugee protection at Europe’s borders: Problems and proposals for change by Jeffery Crisp for the University of Oxford. Razor-wire fences and naval blockades. Pushbacks on land and at sea. Physical punishment by border guards, militia forces and vigilante groups. Detention without trial and confinement to squalid camps. Deportation deals with states that abuse human rights. These are just a few of the methods that European states are employing to obstruct and deter the arrival of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from other parts of the world. As a result, people who are on the move and hoping to find security in the region are subjected to many different forms of inhumane treatment, in many cases violating the international and European human rights treaties that states have freely signed.

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