May 9, 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. 63

Recent Publications and New Research

Glanville, E. G. (2018). Refracting exoticism in video representations of the victim-refugee: K’Naan, Angelina Jolie and research responsibilities. Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture9(2), 233-251. The article revisits issue of refugee representation between resilience and victimhood. It describes the results of focus groups, where research participants in refugee claimant communities responded to media representations of the victim-refugee by emphasizing its strategic use-value in the Harper era. One conclusion for critical scholars is the reminder of holding theory in check both in research methods and in dissemination as a way of impacting broader cultural contexts. Unfortunately, this article it is not open access but more information available at:

Mayblin, L. (2019). Imagining asylum, governing asylum seekers: Complexity reduction and policy making in the UK Home Office. Migration Studies7(1), 1-20. Migration Studies is an international refereed, online only journal dedicated to advancing scholarly understanding of the determinants, processes and outcomes of human migration in all its manifestations. The editor’s choice in the latest edition is open access and asks how policy programmes are produced by particular ways of imagining asylum seeking. The article explores how such processes can lead to the curtailment of the economic rights of asylum seekers with specific reference the UK policy of severely restricting labour market access for asylum seekers. The policy imaginary—the story which is utilized in reducing the complexity of irregular migration in this context—is the idea of the ‘economic pull factor’. That is that disingenuous asylum seekers (economic migrants in disguise) are ‘pulled’ to particular countries by economic opportunities. Available at:

New Journal Issue: Hospitality and Hostility Towards Migrants: Global Perspectives, Migration and Society. Volume 1 (2018): Issue 1. This issue reflects on the complex and often contradictory nature of migration encounters by focusing on diverse dynamics of hospitality and hostility towards migrants around the world and in different historical contexts. Hospitality and hostility are interlinked, yet seemingly contradictory concepts and processes, as also acknowledged by earlier writers, who coined the term hospitality. The articles and short pieces included in this issue, all engage with, challenge, refine, and add theoretical and empirical nuance to past and present processes of hospitality and hostility in the world, via interventions that reflect on academic research, political, and cultural action and activism, and utopian/dystopian imaginings. View table of content and access content here:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working papers

Making Social Housing Friendly for Resettling Refugees, by Ray Silvius, Emily Halldorson and Hani Al-ubeady (April 29, 2019), Canadian Center for Policy alternatives. This work is an extension of a larger research project that aims to: (a) demonstrate the challenges and successes that resettling refugees have in obtaining adequate and affordable housing after arriving in Winnipeg; (b) demonstrate the relationships between the cost and availability of housing, social supports and employment in the context of settlement; and (c) demonstrate how social, public or otherwise ‘supported’ housing can positively affect the lives of resettling refugees. Available at:

Alexandra Saieh et al, Barriers from Birth: Undocumented children in Iraq sentenced to a life on the margins, Norwegian Refugee Council (April 2019). An estimated 45,000 displaced children in camps are missing civil documentation and may face total exclusion from Iraqi society: barred from attending school, denied access to healthcare and deprived of their most basic rights, warns the Norwegian Refugee Council in a new report. Available at:—report.pdf

Research Brief: Counseling to protect: Supporting the choices of irregular child migrants, SEEFAR (April 2019). European Union cooperation with Turkey and Libya and the family separation crisis in the United States show global failures in reconciling ‘tough’ border policies with every child’s right to live free from violence and exploitation. Many child protection measures in Western destination countries do not address children’s needs before or during difficult journeys. Effective and responsible early intervention can reduce the number in need of emergency protection, with better outcomes for children and a cost-conscious international humanitarian community. The main highlights from the report include: Intervention before children leave home has the potential to drastically reduce the vulnerability of hundreds of thousands of children migrating irregularly each year; Children thinking about irregular migration need specialist support in processing migration information and making decisions; and Children react to their environment, process information, and weigh risks and rewards differently than adults. Available at:

News Reports and Blog Posts

James C. Simeon and Elies van Sliedregt, (April 9, 2019) New Wars, Ever Escalating Crises, and Exclusion, Refugee Law Initiative. Increasingly, Western States have resorted to Article 1F of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to exclude claimants from protection by referring to their (alleged) affiliation with a specific regime, organization or government, that are noted for their serious human rights abuses and/or international crimes, thereby raising potentially ‘serious reasons for considering’ that they may have been complicit in serious international crimes and/or human rights violations. The authors make the case to interrogate and rethink the rationale of ‘undeserving’ of refugee protection. What does it mean to be ‘deserving’ of rehabilitation and/or, as some would have it, punishment? Where should we draw the line between criminal complicity and mere association with criminal conduct? They argue that The Refugee Convention was drawn up in the specific historical and political context of the WWII and the Nuremberg era; a time where the line between victors and vanquished, between war criminals and ‘genuine’ refugees, was easier to draw. Modern day refugee exclusion takes place in a different context, of civil war and terrorism. Available at:

Anti-foreigner rhetoric inflames South African elections By Geoffrey Yorks, The Globe and Mail (May 6, 2019). As South Africans prepare to go to the polls, opposition parties and the ruling ANC have seized on immigration as a top issue. The Globe and Mail reports that migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees, mainly from other African countries, are a convenient scapegoat for South Africa’s economic stagnation and high unemployment. Refugee and migrant rights advocates say the anti-immigrant rhetoric has fuelled worsening xenophobic violence that resulted in at least six deaths in the Durban area in late March. More available at: Similarly, this older piece from IRIN (now the New Humanitarian) addressed the same xenophobic sentiments in the country 4 years ago in 2015 and looked at South Africa’s long history of xenophobia and some of the misconceptions that have been allowed to take root. More available at:

The Web, Digital and social media

Faces on the front lines of local aid, The New Humanitarian (April 16, 2019). A video series on local emergency response from the ground up, available at:

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