May 3, 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. 42

Recent Publications and New Research

Borkert, Maren, Karen E. Fisher and Eiad Yafi (2018) The Best, the worst, and the hardest to find: How people, mobiles, and social media connect migrants in (to) Europe.  Social Media + Society Journal Jan-Mar: 1-11.

Displaced people require highly complex information in the process of migrating into Europe. They are faced with various related problems including where to seek needed information, how to assess its trustworthiness, as well as related costs. Poor or false information can lead to harm, loss of family, financial ruin or death. This paper provides insight into digital literacy, information needs and strategies among Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Europe and seeks to challenge the dominant perspective on migrants and refugees as passive victims of international events and policies. An open access version is available at:

Bauböck, Rainer (2018) Refugee Protection and Burden-Sharing in the European Union. Journal of Common Market Studies 56(1): 141-156.

This article starts with a discussion of the principles of a globally just system of refugee protection in which states either admit refugees for resettlement or support refugee integration in other states. The author underlines that such a system requires strong assurances of compliance by the states involved and considers the context of the European Union where Member States have prior commitments and supranational institutions are expected to facilitate such effective burden sharing. The article examines various factors that have contributed to the failure of the EU’s relocation scheme to meet this expectation. An open access version is available at:

Baauw, Albertine and Nicole Ritz (2018) Editorial: Towards better healthcare for migrant and refugee children in Europe. European Journal of Pediatrics 177(2): 161-2.

The editorial board of the European Journal of Pediatrics invited the Committee of International Child Health of the Dutch Association of Paediatrics to arrange a series on migrant health in children. The aim of the series is to promote understanding of health needs of migrant and refugee children and to provide health care workers with practical tools. Articles written by health care workers are planned for publication at regular intervals over the next year. An open access version of this editorial is available at:

Mulvey, Gareth (2018) Social, citizenship, social policy and refugee integration: a case of policy divergence in Scotland. Journal of Social Policy 47(1): 161-178.

This author argues that underpinning divergent policy approaches between Holyrood and Westminster suggest different views of social citizenship. The article considers the place of refugees and asylum seekers in these differing views of social rights and shows that the Scottish Government has taken a different approach from that of Westminster. An open access version of this article is available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Danzer, Alexander M. and Barbara Dietz (2018) The Economic and Social Determinants of Migrants’ Well-Being during the Global Financial Crisis. IZA Institute of Labor Economics Discussion Paper No. 11272.

This paper investigates the economic and social determinants affecting the well-being of temporary migrants before, during and after the financial crisis. The authors examine migration from Tajikistan to Russia and find that the crisis is associated with longer stays, lower earnings as well as higher levels of harassment and deportation. This paper is available at:

Marshall, Katherine, Shaun Casey, Attalah Fitzgibbon, Azza Karam, Majbritt Lyck-Bowen, Ulrich Nitschke, Mark Owen, Isabel Phiri, Alberto Quatrucci, Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Msgr. Roberto Vitillo and Erin Wilson (2018) Religious roles in refugee resettlement: Pertinent experience and insights, addressed to G20 members. Economics Discussion Papers, No. 2018-11. Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

These authors reflect on the experience and insights of religious entities in refugee resettlement. They note that religious entities play significant roles in the current forced migration crisis, including direct action with refugees and forced migrants, advocacy on behalf of refugees and forced migrants, support for integration, promotion of social cohesion, and the addressing of trauma. They argue that policy makers have a poor understanding of religious factors and contributions in this context and propose that the agendas and gatherings of the G20 and of think tanks can benefit from purposeful attention to these neglected dimensions of a central global challenge. Open access version available at:

Global Detention Project (2018) Immigration Detention in Ireland: Will Better Detention Mean More Detention?

Because Ireland does not separate its few immigration detainees from people in criminal procedures, it has faced significant international criticism. This report points out that while Ireland does not emphasize detention in its migration and asylum policies, officials do have long-standing plans to open a dedicated immigration detention facility. While such a move may bring the country into compliance with some international norms, this report discusses how it may also lead to more people being detained. Read the report here:

Bergmann, Jonas and Susan F. Martin (2018) Institutional Frameworks and Environmental Mobility. Knomad: Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development. Policy Brief 10.

These authors propose that holistic institutional frameworks are needed to assist people with adapting to environmental change. They argue that such frameworks need to help those who become displaced as well as those who remain behind. They also propose that such frameworks should address all dimensions of mobility, harness the development potential of migration, channel funding to adaptive mobility, enhance regional cooperation, and facilitate relevant research. The report is available here:

News and Blog Posts

Loreto, Nora (2018) From refugee to murder victim: How Canada failed Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam. Medium. April 18.

This author argues that the story of Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, one of the victims of a recently arrested serial killer in Toronto, demonstrates far more than the failures of the police to stop someone who long preyed on men who were marginalized because they were queer, racialized and/or poor. Loreto discusses Kanagaratnam’s unsuccessful journey to seek safe haven in Canada and proposes that Kanagaratnam’s death also points to how immigration and refugee policy and economic policies in Canada place vulnerable people in harm’s way. The post is available here:

Doğar, Didem (2018) The trouble with impunity: war crimes and a humanitarian agency. The Conversation. April 22.

In this piece the author analyzes whether the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees unwittingly causes countries to neglect investigating war crimes. It is available here:

Schuster, Liza (2018) Eyewitness: a deadly bombing in Kabul. The Conversation. April 24.

This piece was written in Kabul in the wake of a recent explosion that took the lives of dozens of people at a voter registration centre.  The author reflects on the experience of Afghans with increasing levels of insecurity, on the palpable fear and the related decision-making in response to uncertainty that people there grapple with. It is available here:

Digital and social media

Apps for refugees suffering psychological trauma and depression.

A German refugee support organization named Center Überleben has developed two separate online apps for smartphones to help migrants living with psychological symptoms of stress. The online mobile therapy service is available in Farsi, English and Arabic. More information is available here:

Video: Barbara Jackman on refugee rights in Canada – Reflections on the 1985 Singh Decision

Barbara Jackman’s 2010 lecture provides an excellent overview the importance of the Supreme Court’s 1985 Singh decision on refugees and Canada’s refugee determination system. The Supreme Court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights of refugees and refugee claimants and that refugee determination must respect the principles of fundamental justice. Since this decision, refugee claimants in Canada are entitled to an oral hearing before an independent decision maker, before the Immigration and Refugee Board. Video available here:

Graphic Novel: Telling Our Stories – Immigrant Women’s Resilience.

This publication is part of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)’s Prevention of Sexual Violence and Harassment Project. An integral part of the project is to provide education and training to community members and service providers on sexual violence. The graphic novel was created through a series of creative writing workshops with immigrant and refugee women who came together to learn, share and compile the stories it contains. It is available here:

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