March 9 2023: RRN Research Digest

he 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. 134


[Working paper] Bernhard, J. K.,  Young, J. E.,  & Goldring, L. (2023). Access to Early Childhood Services by Precarious Status Families: Negotiating Multiple Borders in a Sanctuary City, Toronto Canada, TMCIS & the CERC in Migration and Integration. This paper examines policies and practices in Toronto related to services that families with young children require, focusing on what is specified in policies and discrepancies in how policies are applied and experiences of access in childbirth, childcare, parenting programs, and schooling. The paper is based on a review of literature and government documents, and information from key informants. Consistent with others, our analysis shows that the City’s access agenda is entangled with policies from other levels of government or institutions that do not follow this agenda (e.g., police and border services). Combined with inadequate information and discretionary and uneven implementation, families experience a patchwork of access in practice across the four service areas.

Ferreira, N. (2023). Utterly Unbelievable: The Discourse of “Fake” SOGI Asylum Claims as a Form of Epistemic InjusticeInternational Journal of Refugee Law. Media and political debates on refugees and migration are dominated by a discourse of  ’fake’ and ‘bogus’ asylum claims. This article explores how this discourse affects in acute ways those people claiming asylum based on sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). In particular, the article shows how such a discourse of ‘fakeness’ goes far beyond the well-documented and often inadequate credibility assessments carried out by asylum authorities. By framing the analysis within the context of the scholarship on epistemic injustice and by drawing on a large body of primary and secondary data, this article reveals how the discourse of ‘fake’ SOGI claims permeates the conduct not only of asylum adjudicators, but also of all other actors in the asylum system, including non-governmental organizations, support groups, legal representatives, and even asylum claimants and refugees themselves.

O’Mahony, J., Kassam, S., Clark, N., & Asbjoern, T. (2023). Use of participatory action research to support Syrian refugee mothers in the resettlement period in Canada: A longitudinal study, PLoS ONE 18(2). In Canada, refugee women experience a range of physical and mental barriers, including poor access to interpreter services and transportation, and a lack of accessible childcare, all of which can negatively affect their successful integration. Social factors supporting Syrian refugees settling in Canada have yet to be systematically explored. This study examines these factors from the perspectives of Syrian refugee mothers living in British Columbia. The study draws on Syrian mothers’ perspectives of social support in the early, middle, and later phases of resettlement.

Banerjee, P., & Thomas, C. (2022). Pandemic Perspectives: Racialized and Gendered Experiences of Refugee and Immigrant Families in CanadaCanadian Ethnic Studies 54(3), 1-8. This Special Issue includes seven articles resulting from an open call for proposals about emerging research and perspectives on the effects of COVID-19 on Canada’s immigration and refugee families. Empirical studies that center the intersections of gender and race in appraising the impact of the pandemic on immigrant and refugee families of colour (substantively and theoretically) were invited from scholars from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

Rosenthal, G. (ed.)(2022). Transnational Biographies. Changing We-images, Collective Belongings and Power Chances of Migrants and Refugees.  Göttingen: Göttingen University Press / Göttingen Series in Sociological Biographical Research. The contributions to this volume are based on the results of three empirical research projects which set out to investigate the situation of migrants in Jordan, Brazil, Germany and other European countries. The articles focus on migrants at their place of arrival and ask questions such as: How do they look back on their life histories and migration paths? What dynamics and processes led to their migration projects, and how do they explain their motives?


Kagan, M. (ed.)(2023). RELATED Manual for Teachers of International Refugee Law, Refugee Law Teaching Support Initiative. The RELATE Manual is a free model syllabus that guides junior educators to prepare and launch their first refugee law and international protection teaching activities. It includes relevant, freely available international legal and soft law instruments, international and domestic jurisprudence, training manuals, reports, articles, and audiovisual resources.

Slootjes, J., & Zanzuchi, M. B. (2023). Toolkit for Evidence-Informed Policymaking in Migrant Integration. Migration Policy Institute. This toolkit aims to help policymakers, program implementers, and other actors involved in migrant integration efforts more fully leverage evidence in their work, thus promoting the development of an evidence culture in the field. Sections 1 through 4 present tools and strategies to infuse evidence into different phases of the policy cycle. In sections 5 and 6, the toolkit offers resources on two important issues throughout the cycle: funding and stakeholder engagement.

Ferreira, N., Townend, J., McCready, W., Carrière, E., Farkas, H. and Robinson, S. (2022). Developing a cost-free legal advice service for asylum seekers and migrants in Brighton and Hove. Project Report. University of Sussex Migration Law Clinic, Brighton and Hove. The team gathered new empirical data based on interviews with a range of local stakeholders. This report sets out the findings, describes how they informed the development of the clinic, and makes recommendations for the further development of the clinic and changes to the provision of legal aid. Finally, it offers advice to other universities contemplating setting up their own clinic in this area.


Cristiano d’Orsi, Will asylum-seekers and refugees in Rwanda be mistreated? What we can learn from Rwandan law, policy, and practice today, African Law Matters, March 8, 2023. Recently, the United Kingdom (UK) has chosen to send certain asylum-seekers to Rwanda, creating the impression that they are unwelcome in its territory. Much has been written on this topic, mainly focusing on the UK’s position and its possible violations of Refugee Law, Human Rights Law, and Anti-Trafficking Law. However, in this contribution, the author focuses on Rwanda’s position and answers the following question: what are the conditions of asylum-seekers and refugees in that country?

Hanne Beirens, Lucia Salgado & Jasmijn Slootjes, Prolonged Ukrainian Displacement: An Uneasy Marriage of Reception, Integration, and Return Policies, Migration Policy Institute, February 2023. EU, national, and subnational leaders in and out of government are having to juggle work in three domains in parallel: fostering the integration of Ukrainians who will stay long(er), organizing first-reception services for future arrivals, and preparing the departure of those who intend to return and play a role in rebuilding Ukraine. This is a challenging endeavour. For example, responsibilities for first-reception, integration, and return policies often lie with different government entities and executive agencies—whose coordination track record may be limited or marred by challenges. 

Kerry Murphy, Australia ends decades-long uncertainty for thousands of refugees, Eureka Street, 16 February 2023. A Valentine’s Day present from the Minister for Immigration for those on temporary protection visas is a much-anticipated relief for approximately 19,000 refugees in Australia. Like the old Punch cartoon’s Curate’s egg, it is good in parts. However, while a solution is welcome for these refugees, around a further 10,000 refugees whose status and future are still being determined.

Daniel Ghezelbash, Changes to temporary protection visas are a welcome development – and they won’t encourage people smugglers, The Conversation, February 13, 2023. Refugees in Australia on temporary protection visas and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas now have a pathway to permanent protection. The changes are a welcome development for people who have lived with uncertainty for a decade, allowing them to rebuild their lives with a sense of security. The decision is also highly unlikely to encourage asylum seekers to try to reach Australia by boat.

Rachel Schmidtke & Kayly Ober, Two Years after Eta and Iota: Displaced and Forgotten in Guatemala, Refugee International, February 17, 2023. Climate hazards in Central America are becoming more frequent and more severe, while far outpacing investments in resilience and recovery. These events—combined with poverty, a lack of basic services, and wealth and gender inequalities—make Central America highly vulnerable to climate displacement.

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