May 4 2023: 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. 137


Eleanor Paynter (2022). Testimony on the Move: Navigating the Borders of (In)visibility with Migrant -Led Soundwalksa/b: Auto/Biography Studies, 37(1), 129-152. With the Rome-based soundwalk initiative “Invisible Guides,” migrant narrators lead neighbourhood tours, recounting Roman history while witnessing their own experiences. This essay discusses the potential for these testimonial transactions between authors, participants, and urban space to challenge the invisibilization of migrant realities within the city center. (up to 50 free views are available here)

Kutor, S. K., Arku, G., & Bandauko, E. (2023). Instead of ‘writing against’ and discarding ‘immigrants’ integration, why not reconceptualize integration as a wicked conceptComparative Migration Studies11(1), 1-16. This paper raises an important question relating to the benefit or otherwise of writing against the concept of integration in the field of integration studies. The paper asks: Is it appropriate to write against and reject the concept of integration? The authors respond to this question from a provocative conceptual perspective. They argue that when the concept is purged of its inherent criticisms and reconceptualized as a wicked concept, it still offers a unique analytical spectrum with which scholars can approach several substantive critical questions regarding immigrants’ integration.

Kulu, H., Christison, S., Liu, C., & Mikolai, J. (2023). The war, refugees, and the future of Ukraine’s populationPopulation, Space and Place, 29(4), 1-13. This study analyses the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 on the future of Ukraine’s population. Ukraine’s population is projected to decline by one-sixth over the next two decades and become older. Past and current demographic developments primarily drive these trends: continued very low fertility and large-scale emigration at the turn of the century. With war casualties and a large portion of the Ukrainian population seeking safety abroad from the conflict, the country’s population is projected to decline by one-third. Russia’s invasion has not only led to immense human and economic costs in Ukraine in the present but also carries long-term demographic repercussions.

Santen, S. D. (2022). Keeping Countries Safe from Refugees–How the Canadian Courts Interpret International Law to Place Sovereign Rights Above Individual Rights [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Toronto. This thesis examines the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States, and the ongoing litigation contesting its compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Drawing from the work of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) scholars, the thesis traces the development and creation of racially motivated but facially neutral laws and procedures in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to present-day immigration control measures. The thesis argues that the architecture of international law elevates sovereign rights over those of the individual, and this structural imbalance has encouraged and facilitated the widespread diffusion of ‘safe country’ agreements between states.

Kassam, S., O’Mahony, J., & Clark, N. (2023). Factors supporting settlement among Syrian refugee women: A longitudinal participatory action research studyInternational Health Trends and Perspectives, 3(1), 88-105. In Canada, over 50,000 Syrian refugees have resettled through varying resettlement programs. Half of the refugees are women who are mothers or of child-bearing age, experiencing numerous health disparities. This article reports findings from a larger, Canadian-based study inquiring into the factors supporting and shaping the settlement and integration experiences among women who are Syrian refugees and mothering. A longitudinal intersectionality-framed participatory action approach was initiated through multiple meetings with diverse non-profit community organizations focused on refugee health and settlement. The two findings described in this article convey facilitators that add to understanding influences on the mental well-being of Syrian refugee mothering women. Unique to this study is the novel integration of peer research assistants and a model of support which contributes to an ethical and inclusive approach to understanding lived experiences among refugee women.


Lokot, M., Hashmi, I., & Hartman, E. (2023). Participation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in research: guidance for researchers from researchers. This guide is for researchers (including humanitarian practitioners) seeking guidance on promoting the participation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) within the research process. It is based on a qualitative study exploring how humanitarian practitioners and academics operationalize participation in their research with these populations, with a particular focus on experiences researching gender equality and gender-based violence (GBV). 

Sakamoto, I., Lin, K., Tang, J., Lam, H., Yeung, B., Nhkum, A., Cheung, E., Zhao, K., & Quan, P. (2023). 2020 in Hindsight: Intergeneration conversations on Anti-Asian Racism during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO) & Factor-Iwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. This report fills a gap in community-based research focused on first-person accounts of experiences of anti-Asian racism and stories of resistance. It also clearly outlines Calls to Action — for governments, schools, those in the social work and human services fields, and others — to address anti-Asian racism on the ground.


Linn Biörklund, ‘Tragedies, not accidents: Tougher Canadian and U.S. border policies will cost more lives’, The Conversation, April 12, 2023. The most recent example of this environment of rejection in North America is the closure of Roxham Road between Québec and New York state. At midnight on March 24, 2023, the closure was enforced to stop asylum-seekers from entering Canada at unofficial border crossings. These are not isolated events but part of deliberately constructed transnational border infrastructure that slams the door on certain people moving across borders, even though freedom of mobility is a fundamental human right.

Shelby Carvalho and Alebachew Kemisso Haybano, ‘Ethiopia was feted for expanding education rights for refugees, then politics got in the way’, The Conversation, April 13, 2023. The new system was expected to improve teaching, learning and financial support for refugee schools. It would also bring them into the Ethiopian national system. The implementation, however, had become mired in turf wars between the national refugee agency and the education ministry. As a result, the expected benefits were largely unrealized, for the school-going refugee children.

Nicholas Keung, Why do Roma living in Europe flee to Canada? Is life that bad thereThe Star, April 16, 2023. Critics say deep-rooted ‘anti-Gypsyism’ in Europe amounts to ethnic persecution, and EU rules also play a role in driving marginalized Roma out of the continent.

Dania Koleilat Khatib, Local solutions should come first in Syria, Arab News, April 27, 2023. Since Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s visit to Damascus last week, the discourse in the international community has centered on whether or not to talk to Bashar Assad. The author argues that the international community should move from a normative discourse to a more practical one. It should talk to whoever makes a difference on the ground.

 ‘Why narratives around migration in Latin America need to change’, The New Humanitarian, April 18, 2023. Flipping the Narrative is an ongoing series that puts the voices of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants at the centre of conversations about the policies and events that shape their lives. This fourth essay examines the consequences of refugees in Latin America being neglected by Global North-led migration narratives and why it is time for a change.

Tania Das Gupta and Yvonne Su, Canada’s costly housing market leaves international students open to exploitation, The Conversation Canada, April 30, 2023. Skyrocketing rent prices in Canada’s major cities are leaving more and more people struggling to find an affordable place to live. National conversations about the housing crisis often overlook a growing segment of the population extremely vulnerable to housing discrimination, rent gouging, rights abuses and sexual harassment: international students.

<< Back