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. 60
Recent Publications and New Research
FitzGerald, D. S. (2019). Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers. Oxford University Press.
The author traces how rich democracies have deliberately and systematically shut down most legal paths to safety. Drawing on official government documents, information obtained via WikiLeaks, and interviews with asylum seekers, he finds that for ninety-nine percent of refugees, the only way to find safety in one of the prosperous democracies of the Global North is to reach its territory and then ask for asylum. The book identifies some pressure points and finds that a diffuse humanitarian obligation to help those in need is more difficult for governments to evade than the law alone. More information available at: https://t.co/BmD0KWoK0A excerpts from google scholar available at this link
Culcasi, K. (2019). “We are women and men now”: Intimate spaces and coping labour for Syrian women refugees in Jordan. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.
Many Syrian women refugees have become income providers for the first time in their lives. Bringing literature from critical feminist and migration studies, the author offers the ideas of coping and coping labour as a framework to examine the intimate spaces of displacement. The paper shows that in the intimate spaces of displacement women have taken on traditionally masculine practices, but while their gendered performances shift, they are simultaneously entrenched as the ideals of appropriate feminine and masculine performances are recreated. Though these multiple gendered performances are creating numerous demands and challenges for Syrian women refugees, these women are also experiencing an increased sense of strength, confidence and respect as a result of their shifting performances. Available at:
FMR 60 on Education – now online
Education is one of the most important aspects of our lives – vital to our development, our understanding and our personal and professional fulfilment throughout life. In times of crisis, however, millions of displaced young people miss out on months or years of education, and this is damaging to them and their families, as well as to their societies, both in the short and long term. In FMR issue 60, authors from around the world debate how better to enable access to quality education both in emergency settings and in resettlement and asylum contexts. Full articles available at: www.fmreview.org/education-displacement.
Naujoks. D. (2019). Refugee Camps and Refugee Rights: A simulation of the response to large refugee influxes. Journal of Political Science Education.
This article introduces and analyzes a one-class role-play simulation during which students engage in stakeholder negotiations on how to respond to a large flow of refugees between two fictional African countries. The simulation addresses questions related to courses on development, conflict and refugee studies, international organizations, human rights, and international relations. Based on six iterations of the simulation, the essay discusses specific design decisions in the preparation, interaction, and debriefing stage and their impact on the simulation, as well as principal learning outcomes. This includes detailed discussions of briefing memos, role sheets, role selection, and key questions during the debriefing session. The online annex contains the full role-play simulation that can used to replicate the simulation. Unfortunately the article is not open access but more information are available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15512169.2018.1559066
Report, briefs and policy papers
“They don’t even understand why we fled’: the difficult path to reintegration in Burundi”, The International Refugee Rights Initiative, IRRI (February, 2019)
Based on interviews with returnees in Burundi, the report, describes the daily struggle of recently returned refugees from Tanzania to provide for their families. Most rely on the help of neighbours or local authorities, but this solidarity will be further strained as larger numbers are likely to return ahead of the upcoming electoral process. Available at:
http://refugee-rights.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Burundi-returns-report-IRRI-Feb-2019-1.pdf also available in French at: http://refugee-rights.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Burundi-rapport-retour-IRRI-FR.pdf
Wilkinson, L., et al (2019), Yazidi resettlement in Canada, Final report 2018, Immigration Research West (IRW)
In 2017, Canada resettled 1,215 Yazidis refugees who have experienced extreme violence, torture, and displacement at rates that astonished the international community. Early reports from settlement agencies in Canada reveal that the high degree of trauma Yazidis have experienced has made their resettlement and integration very difficult. The study examines the following questions: 1) what settlement services do Yazidi refugees require? Do they have access to these services? 2) what has their experience in attaining language training been like? 3) what might their job prospects be? and 4) what are their housing conditions? Available at:
Forced into Illegality: Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Trinidad and Tobago – Fielf Report by Melanie Teff, Refugees International
Based on the fact that Trinidad and Tobago has received more than 40,000 Venezuelans but has done little to support them, this report suggests several ways that Trinidad and Tobago can improve its response to the influx of Venezuelans fleeing their country and the dire circumstances they would confront upon their return. Among those discussed are: (a) a special regularization process, which would allow the undocumented migrants currently in the country to apply for residency and work permits. Second, a government legislation on refugees and asylum that reflects its international obligations under the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. These include commitments to provide access to public education to all children, regardless of their legal status, and access to legal work by refugees. Finally, Trinidad and Tobago should also reduce its use of immigration detention and use alternatives to detention. Available at:
News Reports and Blog Posts
Olliff, L (2019). Time to Reimagine Asylum, Asylum Insights
The blog argues that reimagining resettlement should mean not only increasing the number of resettlement countries and places globally, but also amplifying its (potential) protection benefits through a more considered and ongoing engagement with people who have been through this process. It is also important to acknowledge the significant ways in which communities change as borders are crossed and displaced populations continue to connect with each other and create their own solutions in the context of the significant failings of the international refugee regime to ensure effective protection. Available at:
Selection on the Rohingya, The New humanitarian (March 2019)
The IRIN is now “The New Humanitarian” to signal its move from UN project to independent newsroom and more clearly communicate its role in covering humanitarian crises and the response to them. The section in the link below, offers a selection of IRIN’s reporting on the deep roots of anti-Rohingya violence; the ongoing emergency in Bangladesh’s refugee camps; and the next steps for Myanmar’s rejected minority. Available at:
Multimedia and Social media
Podcast: Is it Time to Stop Putting Status Determination at the Heart of the Refugee Response?
This talk disentangles misconceptions about temporary protection and considers its relationship with a resettlement response and with definitions of a refugee, with reference to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa and the Cartagena Declaration. Available at: https://soundcloud.com/refugeelawinitiative/is-it-time-to-stop-putting-status-determination-at-the-heart-of-the-refugee-response