May 27, 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. 108

Recent Publications and New Research

Hyndman, J., Reynolds, J., Yousuf, B., Purkey, A., Demoz, D. & Sherrell, K. (2021) Sustaining the Private Sponsorship of Resettled Refugees in Canada. Frontiers in Human Dynamics, (3). Based on an original qualitative study, this paper probes how voluntary sponsorship has been sustained over decades, despite the high personal and financial costs it entails, by analyzing the insights of those who have experienced sponsorship: former refugees who came through the program, long-term sponsors, key informants, and other community leaders. The authors argue that private refugee sponsorship is a community practice, a routine activity that is part of a collective commitment, a way of connecting local community actions to global politics of injustice and displacement. Furthermore, refugee newcomers, who land in Canada as permanent residents become part of the communities and society they stay in. Having left family members behind in refugee camps and cities of refuge, many become sponsors themselves. This phenomenon of ‘family linked’ sponsorship is a defining and sustaining feature of the program, motivating family members in Canada to team up with seasoned sponsors to ‘do more’.

d’Orsi, C. (2021). Migrant Smuggling in Africa: Challenges Yet to Be Overcome. African Journal of Legal Studies, 1–30. This paper focuses on the plight of the smuggling of migrants in Africa. Migrant smuggling has been documented along at least five major and several more minor routes in Africa. This study investigates whether current legislation and policies are effective in curbing the practice of smuggling in Africa. To evaluate the success rate of these measures, the author compares figures over recent years to establish whether there has been a decrease in the number of migrants smuggled throughout the various regions of the continent. The author argues that migration can be better managed, but it cannot be stopped. In this framework, in Africa, the current migration policies and cooperation efforts intended to eradicate the practice of smuggling of migrants have given mixed results.

Weima Y, Minca C. (2021). Closing Camps. Progress in Human Geography. Refugee camp geographies vary greatly; however, the most fleeting informal camps and decades-old institutional settlements have in common that they are meant to be temporary. While research on camps has been attentive to their spatialities, relatively little work has focused on closures. However, the authors consider the permanent possibility of closure as a constitutive element of life-in-the-camp. Closures, then, must be situated within the exclusionary landscapes in which states manage migrants’ custody, protection, and displacement. We accordingly present camp closures as manifestations of sovereign power and the study of camp afterlives as key to critical understandings of camp geographies.

Betts, A. (2021). The Wealth of Refugees: How Displaced People Can Build Economies. Oxford University Press. This book draws upon a decade of original qualitative and quantitative research to offer practical solutions. Focusing on refugees in camps and cities in Africa, it identifies approaches that can effectively improve the welfare of refugees, increase social cohesion between refugees and host communities, and reduce the need for onward migration. The book argues that the key lies in unlocking the potential contributions of refugees themselves. Refugees bring skills, talents, and aspirations and can be a benefit rather than a burden to receiving societies. Realizing this potential relies upon moving beyond a purely humanitarian focus to fully include refugees in host-country economies, build economic opportunities in refugee-hosting regions, and navigate the ambiguous politics of refugee protection.

Spencer, S., Charsley, K. (2021). Reframing ‘integration’: acknowledging and addressing five core critiques. Comparative Migration Studies, (9)18. Empirical and theoretical insights from the rich body of research on ‘integration’ in migration studies have increased recognition of its complexity. Among European scholars, however, there remains no consensus on how integration should be defined nor what the processes entail. Integration has, moreover, been the subject of powerful academic critiques, some decrying any further use of the concept. This paper argues that it is both necessary and possible to address each of the five core critiques on which recent criticism has focused: normativity; negative objectification of migrants as ‘other’; outdated imaginary of society; methodological nationalism; and a narrow focus on migrants in the factors shaping integration processes. The authors define integration and provide a revised heuristic model of the integration process and the ‘effectors’ shown to shape them and contribute to a constructive debate on how these challenges for empirical research can be overcome.

Reports, Policy Briefs and Blogposts

Report: Mosler Vidal, E. (2021). Leave No Migrant Behind: The 2030 Agenda and Data Disaggregation, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Geneva. In order to leave no one behind, migrants must be considered across efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Meanwhile, migrants are also key actors in sustainable development. Migrants around the world make vital contributions to help progress the SDGs, whether these focus on offering high-quality health care, boosting household income or increasing productivity in destination economies. The objective of this guide is to provide user-centric guidance on disaggregation of SDG indicators by migratory status. It is aimed at practitioners across governments, international organizations or other actors who work with migration and/or SDG data. The guide is intended to help practitioners at any stage of the disaggregation process.

Migrants forced to wait four years for benefits in Australian budget’s biggest cost-cutting measure by Paul Karp, May 11, 2021, The Guardian. New migrants to Australia will be forced to wait four years before they can access government benefits under a Coalition plan to save $671m. The cost-cutting measure will affect 13,200 future migrants and 45,000 families, with carers and parents to be hit the hardest, while $464.7m will go to expanding immigration detention

What’s behind the UK’s harsh post-Brexit asylum overhaul? By Andrew Connelly, May 11, 2021, The New Humanitarian. In March, the United Kingdom (UK) introduced more than 40 suggested changes to the country’s asylum rules. UNHCR states that, if implemented, the UK’s plan would undermine the 1951 Refugee Convention and the global refugee protection system. The changes ostensibly target “the business model of smugglers,” but favour refugees arriving through legal routes while punishing those who arrive through irregular routes. Rights groups point out that regular routes often do not exist for asylum seekers and they argue that the UK proposal is a “smokescreen” to create a restrictive asylum system.

Digital and Social Media

12-week long Certificate Course on the Rohingya Crisis hosted by Center for Peace Studies (CPS) under South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG) of North South University (NSU) in partnership with the Human Rights Practice Program at the University of Arizona, starting on June 19, 2021. This course will help participants better understand the Rohingya crisis, gain knowledge on the context and geopolitics around the crisis, and critically analyze the national, bilateral, regional and global politics and policies related to the crisis. If you are a student or professional (teachers, diplomats, journalists, NGO workers, etc.) and would like to expand your knowledge about the Rohingya crisis and seek careers in the humanitarian/ development field, learn more here.

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