June 6, 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. 65

Recent Publications and New Research

New special issue: Christopher Kyriakides, Dina Taha, Carlo Handy Charles and Rodolfo Torres (2019). Special issue: Racialized Refuge, Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 35 (1). A set of political and media-validated scripts play out to inform Western assumptions of what a refugee is and that excludes the “non-deserving.” The construction of “the refugee” as a “forced” “non- Western” object without will or socio-cultural history, to be rescued by the benevolent West is the central point of overlap between racialization and refuge in the contempo­rary context of refugee reception. Each of the articles featured in this special issue grapples with what the authors refer to as the “Racialized Refugee Regime”. “Race” is not thought of as a discreet variable for consideration but as part of an embedded structure of oppression in which the racialized refugee regime is generated and reproduced. The issue is open access and available in full at:


New Special issue: Guest Editors: Julie Young, Johanna Reynolds and Peter Nyers (2019). Dis/placing the Borders of North America, International Journal on Migration and Border Studies 5 (1/2).  This special issue considers critical questions about displacement, resistance, and bordering practices throughout the region. What is innovative about the framing of this special issue is the cross-regional approach to the study of borders, and the transversal connections it draws across indigenous and migration studies. While the individual authors in this special issue address specific bordering practices, the goal in this introduction (available open access here) is to bring them into discussion. This special issue aims to contribute to broader theoretical and practical debates about border control policies, bordering practices, and indigenous and migrant rights advocacy. More information about the issue and its contributions available at:


Schmidt, J. D., Kimathi, L., & Owiso, M. O. (2019). Refugees and Forced Migration in the Horn and Eastern Africa. Springer. This volume sheds new light on the refugees and forced migration at the Horn of Africa and East Africa. Adopting a multidisciplinary perspective, it traces historical, structural, and geopolitical factors to reveal the often-brutal uprooting of people in a region that hosts more than three million refugees and almost six million internally displaced persons (IDPs). By doing so, it enriches our understanding of the socio-economic, geopolitical and humanitarian causes and implications of migration and population displacement. Some highlights in the book include Iman Ahmad’s in-depth analysis of the effects of the Merowe Dam project in Sudan (available for purchase here) and Fred Nyongesa Ikanda’s exploration of how Somali Kinship Practices Sustain the Existence of the Dadaab Camps in Kenya (available for purchase here). More details about the book and other chapters available at:


Report, Policy Briefs and Working papers

Ray Silvius, Hani Al-ubeady, Emily Halldorson (May 30, 2019). Resettling Refugees’ Social Housing Stories’, The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. This paper is a companion piece to the report, Making Social Housing Friendly for Resettling Refugees. It aims to understand the relationships between cost of housing, suitability of housing, and the resettlement process. In many respects, the parameters and conditions of resettlement vary from family to family and individual to individual. However, for many former refugees, resettlement trajectories will involve important considerations like employment, social supports, acculturation, family reunification, language acquisition, education and employment training, establishing new forms of community, and providing care for self and family (including family that remains overseas). This paper includes the accounts of nine interviewees who have desired to have, applied for, or attained social housing. The report is available in full at:


Kaurin, D. (May 15, 2019). Data Protection and Digital Agency for Refugees World Refugee Council Research Paper No. 12. Despite recent improvements in data protection mechanisms in the European Union, refugees’ informed consent for the collection and use of their personal data is rarely sought. Using examples drawn from interviews with refugees who have arrived in Europe since 2013, and an analysis of the impacts of the 2016 EU-Turkey deal on migration, this paper analyzes how the vast amount of data collected from refugees is gathered, stored and shared today, and considers the additional risks this collection process poses to an already vulnerable population navigating a perilous information-decision gap.” Two main takeaways from this research are first, the lack of transparency about the asylum process and how it prevents asylum seekers from entrusting the system with the exact information that would likely win them asylum status. The second takeaway is that innovation in the humanitarian sector may inadvertently be causing distrust within the refugee community and disrupting the asylum process. Full report available at: https://www.cigionline.org/publications/data-protection-and-digital-agency-refugees

News Reports and Blog Posts

European Border and Coast Guard: The EU force of securitisation in migration governance by Mariana Gkliati (April 24, 2019). RLI blog on Refugee Law and Forced Migration. The EU has chosen to perceive migration as a threat, and is focusing its efforts in securing its borders, increasingly depending on the work of Frontex. With its powers and competences constantly growing, and its budget now being counted in billions, Frontex achieves even greater autonomy. Its reach in European border control, even far beyond EU borders, makes questions about its responsibility for breaches of fundamental rights of refugees and other migrants more urgent than ever. More available at:


Briefing: The civilian fallout from the Sahel’s spreading militancy, May 30, 2019, The new humanitarian. For the past 10 months, The New Humanitarian has been one of the few news organisations reporting consistently from the front lines on the civilian impact of the rapid rise in violence by the militants, who are based primarily in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. The briefing points out some takeaways on this growing violence, particularly on how the Jihadist groups are manipulating inter-communal conflicts; how Governments have helped local militias thrive, and how Displacement, food insecurity, and other humanitarian crises are escalating, but resources to respond are lacking. Available at:


The Web, Digital and social media

Video lecture: De-Carceral Futures Conference: Keynote Addresses, May 9, 2019: Queens Law archived the keynote addresses with Harsha Walia and Jonathan Simon. The lectures and Q&A are free to stream at: https://law.queensu.ca/news/de-carceral-futures-conference-keynote-address-may-9-2019

Podcast: Can we end migrant detention? May 23, policy options. Related to the De-carceral futures conference, Julia Bugiel travelled to Kingston to record a special podcast for Policy Options on ending migrant detention. She compiled an excellent summary of the ideas and proposals that were discussed. The podcast features contributions from Sharry Aiken, Harsha Walia, and Stephanie Silverman, and also Senator Kim Pate and Souheil Benslimane. Available at: https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/may-2019/can-we-end-migrant-detention/

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