March 14, 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. 36

Recent Publications and New Research

Kahn, L., & Fábos, A. H. (2017). Witnessing and Disrupting: The Ethics of Working with Testimony for Refugee Advocacy. Journal of Human Rights Practice9(3), 526-533.

While advocacy on behalf of forcibly displaced people often demonstrates the best of intentions, many human rights advocates grapple unsuccessfully with the power differentials at all stages of the process. Using techniques derived from drama and experiential learning, the authors of this note learned to recognize narrative strategies and ethical dilemmas inherent in sharing, choosing, and representing the difficult subject matter produced by many refugees and forced migrants. Drawing from the results of a series of workshops provided to a mixed group of refugee service professionals, community leaders, journalists, artists, and academics, this note reflects upon the use of these practices as a way to encourage empathetic listening and develop strategies of narrative disruption for refugee advocacy. Available at:

Robinson, C. (forthcoming) Making migration knowable and governable: Benchmarking practices as technologies of global migration governance

This article theorizes global migration governance as a governing technology that constitutes migration as an object of global governance. The article uses the illustrative example of the International Organization for Migration’s Migration Governance Index to make the case for a material-semiotic account of global migration governance more concrete.  Overall, the article seeks to examine and enhance the contribution practice-theoretical approaches make to the analysis of global governance. Available for members at:

Graziano Battistella, Return Migration: A Conceptual and Policy Framework, Scalabrini Migration Center

The paper offers a conceptual framework for analyzing return migration, both forced and voluntary, and developing appropriate policies to ensure that human rights are protected through the process. It identifies a continuum of types of return based on the time of return and the decision to return. These are: “return of achievement,” “return of completion,” “return of setback,” and “return of crisis (forced return).” The paper recommends particular return and reintegration policies which would benefit migrants and their communities of origin. It urges the member states negotiating the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration to not treat return as “an act that simply concludes migration,” but one that requires effective policies to protect and ensure the well-being of migrants, to facilitate their reintegration, and to maximize their contributions. Available at:

Reports, working papers and briefs

 Akgündüz, Y. E., van den Berg, M., & Hassink, W. (2018). The impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on firm entry and performance in Turkey. Policy research working paper, The World Bank Economic Review.

This report analyses how the Syrian refugee inflows into Turkey affected firm entry and performance. The results suggest that hosting refugees is favourable for firms. Total firm entry does not seem to be significantly affected. However, there is a substantial increase in the number of new foreign-owned firms. In line with the increase in new foreign-owned firms, there is some indication of growth in gross profits and net sales. Available at:

Country detention report: Immigration Detention in Lebanon: Deprivation of Liberty at the Borders of Global Conflict, Global detention Project

The Global Detention Project (GDP) is a non-profit research centre based in Geneva, Switzerland, that investigates the use of detention in response to global migration. This country detention report focuses on Lebanon, a country faced with extremely complex regional mobility dynamics and buffeted by the competing strategic goals of numerous global powers involved in the war in neighbouring Syria. Lebanon has adopted an increasingly restrictive regime for controlling the movement of migrants and refugees. Vulnerable to arrest and detention, non-citizens are regularly charged with violations of Lebanese law on account of their legal status. Although the country recently replaced a controversial dedicated immigration detention centre located in a former parking lot under a highway, rights observers continue to express concern at the conditions in which detainees are kept. Detainees are forced into overcrowded prisons with insufficient food, medical treatment, and legal aid, and harsh migrant labour laws have resulted in Lebanon-born children being detained and deported with their parents who had worked as domestic labourers. More available at:

News reports and blog posts

Neighbor nations can’t bear costs of Venezuelan refugee crisis alone by Dany Bahar and Sebastian Strauss

The ongoing massive exodus of Venezuelans into neighboring Colombia and other South American countries has the potential to become the largest refugee crisis since the eruption of the Syrian civil war. More available at:

‘All these flashbacks come’: Rohingya’s teens speak out on Myanmar brutality

Action Against Hunger, Médecins Sans Frontières and Save the Children are among more than 10 NGOs and aid agencies now providing mental health support to refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Their efforts, supported by the Bangladeshi government, have so far enabled almost 350,000 people to receive counselling. But men are less likely than women to put themselves forward for help. More available at:

Niger: humanitarian needs increase as migrants and refugees flock to Agadez

Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers trapped in Agadez—having failed to make it to Europe, via north Africa and across the Mediterranean Sea. In their attempt to reach Europe, most fell prey to smugglers and became victims of extortion of money, torture, abuse, prison, rape and slavery. For years, Agadez has been the transit point for migrants hoping to make their way to Europe through Libya. However, since the implementation of a law in 2016 in Niger criminalizing transport of migrants, the crossing of the Sahara Desert has become difficult. More available at:

Why climate migrants do not have refugee status?

Experts worry that adding climate refugees to international law would reduce protections for existing refugees. The article argues that if the UNHCR broadens its definition of “refugee” to support an entirely new category, it is unclear if the political appetite exists to provide the necessary funding. Available at:

Digital and Social Media

 Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Project

This is a free, online training with capacity-building resource for settlement, social and health service providers. Building on the existing work with immigrants and refugees, the partaker will be able to: strengthen their knowledge; develop their skills; and build their networks. Growing from the success of the Refugee Mental Health Project, which trained over 6,000 service providers across Canada, the project has expanded to give evidence-based learning experience with practical activities, where the partaker can learn skills that they would use on the job. To learn more, check out the introductory video here and explore the project at:

MOAS Podcast: Rohingya Migrants Prepare for Extreme Weather

In a few short weeks, the cyclone and monsoon seasons will hit Bangladesh bringing with them wind speeds of up to 100 kilometres and almost two metres in rainfall in some places. This podcast explores what’s going on the ground, why this year could be deadly and how the aid agencies are preparing for a multitude of emergencies. Joins the dicussion are Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Dave Petley and WASH Officer for UNHCR, Emmett Kearney. Listen to the Podcast here:

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