May 23, 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. 64

Recent Publications and New Research

Jeffery, L., Palladino, M., Rotter, R., & Woolley, A. (2019). Creative engagement with migration. Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture, 10(1), 3-17. This article introduces a special issue on arts-based engagement with migration, comprising articles, reflections, poems and images. It starts by exploring the ethical, political and empirical reasons for the increased use of arts-based methods in humanities and social sciences research in general, and in migration studies in particular. The authors reflect critically upon arts-based methodological practices and on the (limits to the) transformative potentials of using arts-based methods to engage creatively with migration. While the prospect of influencing the political sphere might seem remote, they advocate for the role and power of the arts in instigating, shaping and leading change by inspiring people’s conscience and civic responsibility. Available at:

Yingwana, N., Walker, R., & Etchart, A. (2019). Sex Work, Migration, and Human Trafficking in South Africa: From polarised arguments to potential partnerships. Anti-Trafficking Review, (12), 74-90. Ex-worker organisations have called for an evidence-based approach whereby migration, sex work, and trafficking are distinguished, and the debate moves beyond the polarised divisions over sex work. This paper takes up this argument by drawing on research with sex workers and a sex worker organisation in South Africa, as well as reflections shared at two Sex Workers’ Anti-Trafficking Research Symposiums. In so doing, the authors propose the further development of a Sex Work, Exploitation, and Migration/Mobility Model that takes into consideration the complexities of the quotidian experiences of migration and selling sex. This, we suggest, could enable a more effective and productive partnership between sex worker organisations and other stakeholder groups, including anti-trafficking and labour rights organisations, trade unions, and others to protect the rights and well-being of all those involved in sex work. Available at:

Niles, C. A. (2018). Who gets in? The Price of Acceptance in Canada. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, 7(1), 10. The Canadian nation state is often applauded for its open and welcoming attitude towards Others. The Prime Minister of Canada has openly stated that “Diversity is our strength.” However, who gets in suggests who and what Canada values. Through the stories of Jazmine, Nico and Harold shared by Global News, the author illustrates how Canada continues to discriminate against people with disabilities. Using critical disability studies and critical race theory, she explores the assumptions the “excessive demand,” point system, and medical exam make in labelling and disregarding disabled applicants who are read as undesirable and unworthy. Finally, she reflects on the dangers of these media stories which focus on the accomplishment/contributions of the parents without considering the inherent values of the children.   Available at:  

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

BVOR Briefing Note, By Shauna Labman and Jennifer Hyndman (May 1, 2019). This short brief highlights how the meaning and place of the BVOR program has shifted across three distinct moments in the span of its short existence. We present these three moments as first, the creation of the program under the former federal Conservative government led by PM Harper; second, the uptake of the program during the Syrian resettlement initiative promised by the new Liberal government of PM J. Trudeau; and third, the current moment in which the question of the sustainability and global replication of the program is top of mind. Available at:

“Whither Immigration and Settlement in Ontario?”A CERIS Community Panel Discussion, Event Recap & Resources. This recent Community Panel Discussion brought together key stakeholders to discuss complex immigration and settlement related issues in Ontario. Adnan Türegün, (CERIS), Léonie Tchatat (La Passerelle-I.D.É), Sunil Johal (The Mowat Centre) and Debbie Douglas (OCASI) shared their views from research, settlement, and policy perspectives, presenting a big picture overview while highlighting specific intractable gaps and challenges. The link includes summaries of the panelists presentations as well as the presenters’ slides and a video of this entire event. Available at:

Report: Abuse or Exile: Myanmar’s Ongoing Persecution of the Rohingya by Daniel Sullivan (April 24, 2019), Refugees International. In February and April 2019, Refugees International interviewed Rohingya who had arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar just days before. Those interviewed described ongoing harassment, arbitrary detention, and forced labor at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces. The newly arrived refugees also reported that the security situation in the Rakhine region had recently deteriorated. In early 2019, the Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic armed group from the non-Rohingya Buddhist community in Rakhine State, carried out several attacks against police stations in the region. In response, Myanmar security forces initiated a crackdown that displaced more than 20,000 people and contributed to a sense of growing insecurity in those areas to which Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh would seek to return. Report available at:

Final Report: Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Service-Use by Newcomers with Disabilities and Complex Health Needs, By: Caitlyn Dwyer, Natalie Krzywiecki, Madeline Poole, Petek Yurt. The objective of this report is to provide Toronto East Quadrant of the Local Immigration Partnership (TEQ LIP) with information regarding the experiences of newcomers with disabilities and complex health needs when accessing support services and navigating the healthcare system, and to offer advice as to how the barriers they encounter can be mitigated. It provides more nuanced insight into the barriers faced by this group when accessing external support and highlights important promising practice examples of services catering to the needs of immigrants and/or people with disabilities. In addition, the report offers recommendations for service improvement in the hopes of supporting TEQ LIP’s mission to create accessible communities with effective resources that are responsive to the unique needs of newcomers and immigrants. Available at:

News Reports and Blog Posts

Despite Gains, Mauritania’s Road to Defeat Slavery is Long and Bumpy, by Cristiano D’Orsi (May 8, 2019), The Globe Post. In January 2018, the African Union’s children’s rights committee ruled in the case of Said and Yarg Salem against Mauritania that the country’s authorities had failed to take adequate steps to prevent, investigate, prosecute, punish, and remedy the widespread practice of slavery, resulting in impunity. In the African country, human trafficking is the third most important illegal business, after drug and weapon trafficking. Local human rights groups estimate that about 20 percent of the population lives in slavery. This article takes an in-depth look at the practice in Mauritania. Available at:  

Syria cash aid freeze, Somali biometrics, and poverty porn: The Cheat Sheet (26 April 2019), The New Humanitarian. This editors’ weekly take on humanitarian news, trends, and developments from around the globe. Snapshots include how Somalia’s ability to make social and economic progress potential is held back by the lack of a national ID system, Refugees evacuated after Tripoli detention centre attack as well as news from Afghanistan, DRC on the Ebola situation, Flooding in South Africa, as well as an exploration of “poverty porn”. More available at:

Some refugees are now integrated. Can Greece’s economy keep up? By John Psaropoulos (May 6, 2019). Al-Jazeera. This long-read by Al Jazeera reports on efforts to settle and integrate asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece three years after arrivals peaked in 2016. Some recognized refugees have managed to learn Greek, send their children to school and resolve their legal status, but they now worry about losing the housing support they have relied on. With nationwide unemployment standing at 18.5 per cent, their prospects of finding work to support their families are slim. Meanwhile, funding to support integration programmes run by non-profit organizations is often short-term. More available at: 

The Web, Digital and Social Media

CCR – Resources on Building Bridges Between Newcomers and Indigenous Peoples. This webpage compiles initiatives, practices, and resources that Canadian Council for Refugees member organizations and allies use to connect the work they are doing with newcomers with Indigenous communities. Categories include commitment from the organization’s leadership, partnerships with Indigenous Peoples, treaty and land acknowledgements, staff training, educational materials, and events and programs for education and dialogue.

“Lexit is not a bad idea”: Portraits of EU families in London in the shadow of Brexit (May 2019). This photo project is part of the EU families and their children in Brexiting Britain: renegotiating inclusion, citizenship and belonging’s study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and The UK in a Changing Europe Initiative. The overall research investigates how families with EU27 parents are managing the change and uncertainty brought by the referendum, and the kind of family strategies put in place to mitigate the actual and expected impact of the vote on their own circumstances. To mark this year’s International Day of Families, The project has released the first of a series of audio and photo portraits of EU families living in London. The portraits stem from a participatory photo research project that aims to capture a glimpse of the lives of  EU families in Britain’s cosmopolitan and diverse capital city in the days, weeks and/or months (hard to know really) leading to Brexit.

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