January 24, 2018: 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. 31

Recent Publications and New Research

New book: Seeberg, Marie Louise, and Elżbieta M. Goździak, eds (2016). Contested Childhoods: Growing Up in Migrancy: Migration, Governance, Identities. Springer.

This open access book explores specific migration, governance, and identity processes currently involving children and ideas of childhood. The chapters demonstrate the importance of how we understand phenomena involving children: when children are trafficked, seeking refuge, taken into custody, active in gangs or in youth organisations, and struggling with identity work. The book examines countries representing very different engagements and policies regarding migrancy and children. As a result, readers are presented with a comprehensive volume ideal for both the classroom and for policy-makers and practitioners. The chapters are written by experts in social anthropology, human geography, political science, sociology, and psychology. Available at:  http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319446080

Cole, G. (2018). How friends become foes: exploring the role of documents in shaping UNHCR’s behaviour. Third World Quarterly, 1-17.

This paper starts by outlining how the issuance of certain documents within the refugee regime suppresses within a ‘black box’ the supporting and competing narratives that resulted in their genesis. Second, it considers why particular announcements are capable of catalysing responses that outlive their authors’ finite intentions. By illustrating why greater attention should be paid to the ways that material objects can come to shape organisational behaviour, in this case legal texts, this article complements existing theoretical frameworks used to explain UNHCR’s conduct. This helps explain how, when and why non-legally binding declarations nonetheless came to bind UNHCR’s actions as it attempted to cancel the status of Eritrean refugees in 2002. Available to subscribers at:


Sarah Koelsch (2017). A journey towards conscientisation: Motives of volunteers who support asylum seekers, refugees and detainees, The University of Notre Dame Australia.

This MA thesis examines the factors that motivate people to engage in volunteerism working with asylum seekers. Based in Perth, the project’s aim is to investigate the values, belief systems, and attitudes of Centre for Asylum seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD)’s volunteers. Fourteen volunteers, many of whom assist with student support, detention centre visits and visa application workshops, were interviewed within two focus groups. The findings suggest that volunteering within the migration sector can bring about social change and that it has the potential to enhance social and cultural diversity. Available at:


Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

 Ensuring respect for rights in the provision of refugee protection and assistance – Summary of an expert meeting held at UNHCR, Geneva by Heaven Crawley

On 13th November 2017, critical thinkers, experts and representatives from international and civil society organisations including those working with refugees in different settings around the globe met together at UNHCR for a frank and open exchange around how to ensure respect for refugee rights is central to, and promoted throughout, the Global Compact process. The discussion was both detailed and wide ranging. Although participants were not always in agreement, this document provides a summary of the key themes and recommendations made by participants to guide the Global Compact process. Available at:


Libya: IDP & returnee report by DTM Libya

This report presents the findings of Round 16 of data collection, which took place between the end of November and December 2017. It shows the number of IDPs and returnees identified across rounds from August until December. It demonstrates that the number of identified returnees had been steadily on the rise across the rounds conducted in 2017 mirrored by a gradual decrease in the number of IDPs identified in the country. Available at:


WIDER Working Paper-The integration of Vietnamese refugees in London and the UK: Fragmentation, complexity, and ‘in/visibility’ by Tamsin Barber

The Vietnamese refugee experience in the UK has been characteristically different from the broader international flows of Vietnamese ‘boat people’ to the West. With no pre-existing Vietnamese community in the UK, largely composed of the rural poor from northern Vietnam, this numerically small community has remained largely invisible in British society. London houses over half of the UK Vietnamese population and the London Vietnamese communities are notoriously heterogeneous, fragmented, and divided according to political ideology, refugee wave, social class, ethnicity, geographical location, and social origins. These factors have translated into differential access to/proximity to local ethnic and co-ethnic labour markets and services, opportunities for self-employment, ethnic and transnational networks, political representation, community organization, public service provision, and belonging. This article explores how these various layers have worked together to produce divergent outcomes for these population fragments across London. Available at:


News Reports and Blogs

 Illegal migration to Spain likely rise further in 2018: EU agency By Reuters staff

This news report highlights the expectations by Europe’s border agency of a further increase in arrivals of “illegal” migrants to Spain by sea this year after numbers more than doubled in 2017, with the flows boosted by the use of fast boats. Nearly 40 percent of migrants intercepted while crossing by sea to Spain were Algerian and Moroccan nationals, according to Frontex data. Available at:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-spain/illegal-migration-to-spain-likely-rise-further-in-2018-eu-agency-idUSKBN1F8192

Divorced at 15: Inside the Lives of Child Brides By Alexa Keefe

For Syrian refugee families in Turkey, early marriage is seen as a pathway to security though the outcome is not always as hoped. More details are available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2018/01/child-marriage-divorce-syrian-refugees-turkey/

Stanford scholars develop new algorithm to help resettle refugees and improve their integration By Alex Shashkevich

A new machine learning algorithm developed by Stanford researchers could help governments and resettlement agencies find the best places for refugees to relocate, depending on their particular skills and backgrounds. More available at: https://news.stanford.edu/2018/01/18/algorithm-improves-integration-refugees/

Academic refugees have much to offer countries which give them a safe haven by S. Karly Kehoe, Debora B. F. Kayembe and Shawki Al-Dubaee

In 2016, the Royal Society of ­Edinburgh’s Young Academy of ­Scotland (YAS) decided to recognise the rights of academic researchers and practitioners fleeing conflict by introducing the at-risk academic and refugee membership initiative (ARAR). Founded in 2011, YAS brings together the next generation of Scotland’s talent and its mission is to achieve transformative societal change through citizenship, ­innovation, collaboration, evidence and leadership.  You can read more about YAS’s work, and our current ARAR member recruitment round, here: https://www.youngacademyofscotland.org.uk/ more is available at: https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/s-karly-kehoe-debora-b-f-kayembe-and-shawki-al-dubaee-academic-refugees-have-much-to-offer-countries-which-give-them-a-safe-haven-1-4664819  .

Digital and social media

Democratizing data

CMS’s Democratizing Data Initiative makes demographic data on immigrants accessible to a wide range of users. Launched in 2013, the project provides estimates on the size and characteristics of the US unauthorized and naturalization-eligible populations at national, state and sub-state levels. The initiative offers this information through interactive data tools, tables, charts and ground-breaking reports. CMS data have been broadly used by scholars, researchers, government officials, and service-providers in crafting, implementing, and evaluating programs that serve noncitizens. Available at: http://cmsny.org/cms-research/democratizingdata/

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