Jan 31, 2019: 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. 56

Recent Publications and New Research

Hudson, G., Nakache, D. and Atak, I. (2018). Special Issue on: The Criminalisation of Migration and Asylum: A Comparative Analysis of Policy Consequences and Human Rights Impact. International Journal of Migration and Border Studies. Vol.4 No.4

The criminalisation of migration [or as the editors refer to it crimmigration], describes one of the ways in which state power is used to exclude non-citizens from social, legal and geographic spaces. This special issue reflects on the ways in which crimmigration is constituted, constructed, and challenged in diverse settings. It seeks to promote a better understanding of the dynamics and processes pertaining to crimmigration, and to provide a critical analysis of the practical and human rights implications associated with it. The editorial of the special issue is open access and offers a clear overview of the contributions. Available at:


Gill, N. & Good, A. (eds.) (2019). Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives. Springer. Palgrave Macmillan socio-legal studies book series.

Drawing on research material from ten European countries, this book brings together a range of detailed accounts of the legal and bureaucratic processes by which asylum claims are decided. It includes a legal overview of European asylum determination procedures, followed by sections on the diverse actors involved, the means by which they communicate, and the ways in which they make life and death decisions on a daily basis. The contributors employ a variety of disciplinary perspectives – sociological, anthropological, geographical and linguistic – but are united in their use of an ethnographic methodological approach. Through this lens, the book captures the confusion, improvisation, inconsistency, complexity and emotional turmoil inherent to the process of claiming asylum in Europe. The book is open access available at: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-94749-5

Guruge, S., et al (2018). Healthcare needs and health service utilization by Syrian refugee women in Toronto. Conflict and health, 12(1), 46.  

Access to healthcare is an important part of the (re)settlement process for Syrian refugees in Canada. There is growing concern about the healthcare needs of the 54,560 Syrian refugees who were admitted to Canada by May 2018, 80% of whom are women and children. The article explores the healthcare needs of newcomer Syrian women, their experiences in accessing and using health services, and the factors and conditions that shape whether and how they access and utilize health services in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6276153/

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report (2019)

The 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report is a unique publication that brings together commentary from leading scholars and professional experts on the major trends shaping global and regional mobility patterns today. The report uses cutting-edge research and historical data to explore regional and global mobility trends, and, significantly, to reveal the links between travel freedom, growth, and democracy. It includes specific chapters on talent migration, forced migration, and climate migration, with additional sections covering global mobility trends, and broader trends in travel freedom. Available at:


Agrawal, S., & Zietouny, S. (2017). Settlement experience of Syrian refugees in Alberta. SSHRC

This report documents the settlement experiences of recently arrived Syrian refugees in Albertan cities. It compares them across the three streams of sponsorship to better understand the perspectives of the refugees, the sponsors, and the social agencies that work with them.  Our findings suggest that all three government and private sponsorship programs were largely successful in bringing in Syrian refugees, from various asylum countries in the Middle East, to safe places in Canada. However, the settlement experience of refugees varied after they arrived in Canada. PSRs seemed to benefit from the personal attention, care, and networks provided by their sponsors. Still, this experience can vary widely based on how committed and resourceful sponsors are. Challenges in learning English and finding employment were paramount among all three refugee streams, irrespective of the place of settlement. Refugees were not sufficiently prepared to become financially independent after the government support ended at one year—particularly in their proficiency in English or in training in their profession or vocation. Available at:


A Right To Be Heard: Listening to Children and Young People on the Move, UNICEF report, December 2018

This report presents the perspectives of nearly 4,000 young migrants and refugees who responded to a recent global poll conducted by UNICEF. Globally, 30 million children and young people – including 12 million refugees and asylum seekers – lived outside their countries of origin in 2017. The report highlights many of the challenges faced by these uprooted youth, as well as their hopes and aspirations. It also reminds world leaders of UNICEF’s six-point agenda for action to protect the rights of all migrant and refugee children and young people. Available at:  https://www.unicef.org/publications/index_103433.html

New reposts and blog posts

Need to Solve a Border Dispute? Look to Ethiopia or Uzbekistan by Nick Megoran. Refugees deeply (Jan. 9, 2019).

What’s happening in America is the latest in a series of recent political crises over migrant deterrence around the world. The author argues however that the Western perspective isn’t the only one and that  2018 saw a number of hopeful and instructive developments for international borders, namely in Ethiopia-Eritrea and Central Asia. More available at: https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2019/01/09/need-to-solve-a-border-dispute-look-to-ethiopia-or-uzbekistan

First Person: Returning to Dadaab by Moulid Hujale, IRIN (January 24, 2019)

A former refugee from Dadaab reflects on his visit back to the camp. He points the evolution of the camp socially and economically, the impact of uncertainty and the threats of the Kenyan government on the camps activities, as well as the effect of global events such as the US travel ban on the members of the camp. More available at:


Digital and social media

Podcast: Current Thinking in Refugee Law: State Protection and Internal Relocation

The boundaries of refugee status remain one of the most important aspects of the protection afforded to forced migrants by international and domestic law.​ In this lecture series – Current Thinking in Refugee Law – two of the foremost thinkers in refugee law, Mark Symes (Garden Court Chambers) and Hugo Storey (Judge of Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber), present a series of four discussions addressing the key constituents of refugee status. Available at:


Digital Archive: York researchers launch Syrian refugee archive for scholarly use

A team of researchers at York University has developed a web-based archive on Syrian refugee settlement. It is the first web archive at York that is publicly accessible and permanently protected within the library system. The digital, open-source scholarly archive is organized into five topics, including: the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Context; Political Debates in Canada; The History of Private Sponsorship and Private-Public Partnership Programs for Resettlement; Drawbacks of Hybrid/Blended Refugee Resettlement Schemes; and Back to the Future. It features an analytically organized display of important policy and legal documents. Available at: https://scalar.library.yorku.ca/syrian-refugee-settlement-in-canada/index

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