March 25, 2021: 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. 104

Emerging BHER Scholars: Establishing a Refugee Research Agenda in the Dadaab Refugee Camp

Building upon Appadurai’s argument that “Research is a specialized name for a generalized capacity to make disciplined inquiries into those things we need to know, but do not know yet…. [and that research] is the capacity to systematically increase the horizons of one’s current knowledge, in relation to some task, goal, or aspiration” (Appadurai, 2013), the four speakers address the importance of ongoing research in and on Dadaab. Barriers to inclusivity in education in the Dadaab refugee camps is the overall topic of this panel and is addressed by Dadaab scholars with specific reference to their research in progress.

Appadurai, Arjun (2013) The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition.

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Recent Publications and New Research

Melnyk, G., & Parker, C. (Eds.). (2021). Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation. AU Press.  [Open access]. This book is available as a free resource at It gathers the voices of refugees who have come to Canada and encountered varying kinds of reception. Their stories confront dominant public discourse about Canada as a benevolent country and move the reader beyond sensationalized headlines that often focus only on numbers and statistics.  

Mental health and psychosocial support, data and displacement, missing migrants. Forced Migration Review 66 (FMR), March 2021[Open access]. FMR 66 includes three features. In the Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) feature, authors debate initiatives and challenges, advocating for strengthened collaboration and new ways of thinking. The Data and displacement feature examines recent advances in gathering and using data. Finally, the Missing migrants feature explores initiatives to improve data gathering and sharing, identification of remains, and assistance for families left behind. 

Molly Fee. 2021. Lives stalled: the costs of waiting for refugee resettlement. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Online first. Available [Open access] working paper here. This paper examines the context of waiting for Iranian religious minorities who must first travel to Vienna, Austria to apply for resettlement to the U.S. Drawing on theories of waiting, the author demonstrates how uncertainty and the passage of time shape refugees’ experience in transit contexts. While in Vienna, refugees endure months of compulsory idle waiting, free from persecution yet unable to begin the long-term process of settling in a new country. The author argues that the duration of stay and life conditions in transit can have significant consequences for refugees. Even when waiting is temporary and remedied by eventual resettlement, time spent in transit carries material, emotional, and physical costs.

Mole, R. C. (Ed.). (2021). Queer Migration and Asylum in Europe. UCL Press [Open access]. This book brings together scholars from politics, sociology, urban studies, anthropology and law to analyse how and why queer individuals migrate to or seek asylum in Europe, as well as the legal, social and political frameworks they are forced to navigate to feel at home or to regularise their status in the destination societies. The subjects covered include LGBTQ Latino migrants’ relationship with queer and diasporic spaces in London; diasporic consciousness of queer Polish, Russian and Brazilian migrants in Berlin; the role of the Council of Europe in shaping legal and policy frameworks relating to queer migration and asylum; the challenges facing bisexual asylum seekers; queer asylum and homonationalism in the Netherlands; and the role of space, faith and LGBTQ organisations in Germany, Italy, the UK and France in supporting queer asylum seekers.

Mwanri, L., & Mude, W. (2021). Alcohol, other drugs use and mental health among African migrant youths in South Australia. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(4), 1534 [Open access]. The paper reports perspectives about alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and mental health among African migrant and refugee youths in South Australia. African migrant and refugee youths revealed challenging stressors, including cultural, socioeconomic, living conditions, and pre- and post-migration factors that contribute to mental health problems and the use of AOD in their new country. The findings highlight the need to understand these social and cultural contexts to improve mental health services and help reduce the use of AOD, which, when problematic, can influence the health and integration experiences of these populations.

Lea-Maria Löbel & Jannes Jacobsen  (2021) Waiting for kin: A longitudinal study of family reunification and refugee mental health in Germany. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies [Open access].  Reunification in hosting communities is difficult, as governments limit institutional family reunifications and the individual journey of kin is dangerous and often illegal. For refugees, having family abroad, especially in danger, is mentally distressing. Additionally, reuniting with family members can be a source of support in the new environment. This paper investigates the association between family reunifications and refugee mental health in a random sample of refugees in Germany (N = 6610), the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees 2016–2018.

Reports, policy briefs and Blogposts

Select US Immigration and Refugee Policy Resources.  CMS Research. March 11, 2021. Over the last five years, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) has produced and published a series of reports, articles, and special collections of papers – primarily in its Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS) – that are devoted to reform of US immigration and refugee protection policies. CMS would like to make these resources broadly available as the Biden administration, Congress, states, and localities consider ways to reform the nation’s immigration, refugee, and integration laws and policies. CMS has also built a webpage that tracks Biden-era immigration and refugee protection developments. 

Leveraging networks to overcome displacement: Urban internally displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Caitlin Katsiaficas, Carolien Jacobs & Martin Wagner (2021). TRAFIG policy brief no. 2. Based on empirical research in Bukavu, eastern DRC, this policy brief explores how left largely on their own, IDPs are proactively seeking their own solutions, including tapping into their networks to unlock opportunities. It also highlights the need for policies and practices that support urban IDPs by helping them nurture and leverage their networks. It suggests some ways in which humanitarian and development actors might do so.

Doing No Harm in Lebanon: The Need for an Aid Paradigm Shift by Sahar Atrache. Refugees International. March 4, 2021. This report details the current state of crisis in Lebanon that has pushed hundreds of thousands into misery. The report calls for a new and innovative aid approach that could help the country get on the right course while protecting the most vulnerable among Lebanese and refugees from the dire consequences of the humanitarian and health crisis.

Settlement Sector and Technology Task Group Preliminary Report (2020). The Settlement Sector and Technology Task Group (coordinated by AMSSA, reporting to IRCC’s National Settlement and Integration Council (NSIC). February 2, 2021. This report focuses on the future of how the immigrant and refugee-serving sector delivers services to newcomers and communities. The Task Group’s work includes looking at infrastructure, privacy issues (e.g., advice and protocols on how to safeguard information), professional development for staff, including digital literacy and addressing the digital divide among newcomers and our communities.

Latest Asylum Trends – 2020 Overview, European Asylum Support Office (EASO), February 18, 2021. The visualisation included in this report provides an overview of the key indicators regarding international protection in the EU+ in the past 25 months. The size of the different circles in the countries of origin is proportional to the volume of applications lodged in EU+ countries; the colour of the circle reflects the recognition rate at first instance (blue – high, red – low). The shade of the country reflects the stock of pending cases at the end of the selected year. By clicking on a circle, the evolution of these key indicators for the citizenship selected is displayed in the lower panel.

Biden on immigration: The first six weeks, by Susan F Martin, Cambridge Blog, March 16, 2021. Professor Susan Martin discusses Biden’s immigration policy in the first 6 weeks in light of her book “A Nation of Immigrants – 2nd edition” which has just been released.

Opinion: No amount of detention is safe for a child. Here are better solutions for migrant kids by Rachel Pearson. The Washington Post. March 4, 2021. The author, a pediatrician and humanities researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, shares alternative solutions.

Digital and social media

Watch: Climate Change and Forced Displacement: During this panel discussion hosted by the World Refugee and Migration Council, experts engaged in a north-south dialogue to address managed retreat, the role of local community adaptation in the absence of national action, refugee designation for climate causes, and the multifaceted characteristics of climate displacement.

Watch: International Women’s Day: To celebrate International Women’s Day, the co-founders the Global Independent Refugee Women Leaders (GIRWL) met on March 10 to talk about one year of refugee women-led achievements. 

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