Category Archives: Community Scholar

France expels migrants from Calais camps

French police dismantle three camps housing around 650 migrants

Originally from AlJazeera &  Click here to access video.

French riot police have started evacuating three campsites housing hundreds of immigrants in the northern port town of Calais, days after the anti-immigrant National Front party won over the ruling Socialists in a European election.

Wednesday’s evictions, denounced by local rights organisations, had been announced by a local government prefect a week earlier on the grounds that the makeshift camps posed problems for public health and safety.

“This is not a new issue for the French government. People have been coming to Calais for years now to try to get to the UK,” said Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from the scene.

“The problem is, under the EU law, Dublin Convention, people must seek asylum where they first land. For many of these people, that is Italy. By the time they reach Calais they pass maybe four to five countries. The French government is saying that other countries in Europe should share the burden.”

Calais has for years attracted floods of immigrants who flee poverty or conflict in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, many of them hoping to cross the narrow sea channel to Britain by ferry or the sub-sea train tunnel.

“This is sad, and it changes nothing,” said Jalal, an Iraqi in his 20s who watched as police moved in. “I’ll move my tent somewhere else … but I am staying put (in Calais). What else can I do. I will try again to make the crossing. I did not come here just to give up now.”

Many of the estimated 600-800 immigrants living in the three camps had moved out before the well-publicised evacuation ordered by Denis Robin, prefect for the Pas-de-Calais region.

Pas-de-Calais lies in north-west France where the National Front won 34 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, one of its best tallies and a tripling of its score from the 2009 EU election.

The FN has long campaigned for a dramatic reduction in immigration and opposes the “Schengen” borderless zone at the heart of the 28-member European Union.

What are your thoughts on these expulsions? Do you think the FN party will increase these anti-immigrant actions on  other “public health and safety” grounds? Do let us know our thoughts!

Ethnic Somalis under pressure in Kenyan capital

Following up from our earlier posting on the closing of urban refugee registration centers in Kenya is a relevant posting on the harassment of ethnic Somalis in the nation’s capital as a result of an ongoing operation dubbed Usalama Watch

From (IRIN) 

11th April 2014

Thousands of ethnic Somalis have been arrested and detained in an ongoing security operation dubbed Usalama Watch mainly in Eastleigh, a suburb of Nairobi often known as “Little Mogadishu” because of its predominantly Somali population. Usalama means security in Swahili.

The crackdown, which began on 2 April, came after a series of explosions in Eastleigh that killed six people and injured more than 20. Most of those arrested are being held at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani, a popular national sports venue, which has now temporarily been converted into a police station.The government says the security operation is aimed at arresting the perpetrators of the attack and weeding out sympathizers of the insurgent Al-Shabab militia, but Muslim and Somali community leaders, as well as rights activists, have vehemently opposed the move, arguing that it is another heavy-handed exercise unfairly targeting ethnic Somalis.

Mass arrests

On 11 April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement: “Kenyan police and other security agencies should stop arbitrary arrests and detentions, extortion, and other abuses against Somalis during security operations.” Earlier, HRW noted that the directive to make refugees in urban areas return to camps is in violation of a High Court ruling.

On 9 April, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku told a press conference in Nairobi that some 3,000 people had been detained in the security operation, with 82 illegal migrants being deported to Mogadishu. The deportees were accompanied to Mogadishu by the Somali ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ali Nur Ameriko, who told IRIN that the deportees had chosen to return home to Somalia.

But according to HRW, “the government should also halt summary deportations and ensure that any undocumented Somalis are given the opportunity to file asylum claims.”

On 7 April, Ole Lenku told his Somali counterpart Abdullahi Godah in a meeting in Nairobi that all undocumented Somali refugees arrested in the operation will be deported.

“People who are definitely seeking asylum in Kenya, who are refugees in Kenya – we agreed during the tripartite agreement reached in November that their return should be voluntary. So all we can do is to keep engaging the government – which we are doing consistently”

Among those detained are refugees who have been returned to Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya.

In late March, Ole Lenku ordered all refugees residing outside the designated refugee camps of Kakuma and Dadaab to return to their respective camps with immediate effect.

“There are no other designated refugee camps outside these areas. Any refugee found flouting this directive will be dealt with in accordance with the law. Consequently, all refugee registration centres in urban areas – Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi, Isiolo and Nakuru – are hereby closed,” he stated.

Kenya hosts some 550,980 refugees and asylum seekers, among them 50,800 living in Nairobi, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Most of the refugees and asylum seekers are from Somalia.

In an interview with IRIN, UNHCR Kenya spokesperson Emmanuel Nyabera said the agency is in discussion with the government to access those arrested.

Nyabera also reiterated that returns to Somalia should be voluntary. “People who are definitely seeking asylum in Kenya, who are refugees in Kenya – we agreed during the tripartite agreement reached in November that their return should be voluntary. So all we can do is to keep engaging the government – which we are doing consistently.”

UNHCR had in an earlier press statement urged “law enforcement agencies to uphold the rights of all those arrested and to treat them in a humane and non-discriminatory manner.”

The statement added that UNHCR had “sought access for itself and its partners to the detained refugees and asylum-seekers. This access will allow UNHCR to properly identify refugees, asylum-seekers and others of concern. It will also allow the agency to provide assistance to the detainees and obtain their release where appropriate.”

Somalis targeted

According to Yusuf Hassan, member of parliament for Kamukunji constituency within Eastleigh, the comparison of the area to Mogadishu is unjustified as it implies it is an outpost of the Somali republic and not part of Kenya. This negative perception could be part of the reason Somalis feel unfairly targeted.

“We support any operation that will weed out all kinds of criminals but what we are against is the nature of the operation. The government needs to adopt smart policing, intelligence gathering and fighting corruption within the police force [rather] than targeting [a] specific community,” Ahmedkadar Ali, a Somali Kenyan blogger, told IRIN.

“Somalis have been the scapegoat for police failure. Corruption is the biggest obstacle to [a] stable Kenya security-wise. What the police are doing is a short-term, reactionary strategy that will yield nothing.”

On the interior security ministry twitter handle Ole Lenku said the arrests have been made across the country and not in Eastleigh alone. “Let the criminals escape to other countries. Our exercise is to secure Kenya,” he added, noting that a “state of lawlessness has existed in Eastleigh for more than 20 years.”

Commenting on the large presence of Somali refugees residing in Eastleigh instead of in designated camps in Dadaab or Kakuma, Ali said: “Refugees, Somalis or otherwise, can live anywhere provided they comply with the law of the land. Some refugees have mandates from relevant UN agencies to live in major towns. If not, refugees will do anything to make [it] to the cities, thus corruption.”

Indeed, corrupt security forces have often been blamed for infiltration into the county by Al-Shabab insurgents.

Police inspector-general David Kimaiyo warned his forces against graft on Twitter stating: “We’ve put proper mechanism to fight corruption and those who’ll be caught receiving and giving bribes during [the] operation will face the law.”


Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Shakul, a Kenyan Somali community leader, accused the government of indiscriminately arresting the elderly, women and children. There were also claims of looting.

The member of parliament for Wajir East constituency in northeastern Kenya, Abbas Mohammed, added  that the exercise is “inhumane, and it’s actually not in agreement with the Geneva Convention. Even if these guys are foreigners, even if they’re refugees, what the Kenyan police is doing is actually not fair.”

The Somali ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ali Nur Ameriko, accompanied the deportees

Nimo Nur Hajji, 25, who said she had arrived in Nairobi about two weeks ago for treatment, was among the deportees. She spoke with IRIN on the phone while in custody at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport detention centre an hour before she was deported to Mogadishu.

“I came from Garowe [Puntland’s administrative capital] for medical purposes. I had an appointment with a doctor on 15 April but I am being forced to leave the country. This is not my choice,” Hajji said.

She complained about the cold weather and hunger during her three days of “detention” at the Kasarani stadium. But according to Ole Lenku, the stadium is being used, “for screening suspects only and they do not spend the nights here. It has also been gazetted as a police station. Those suspects found innocent are released immediately.”

The Kenya Human Rights Commission noted that it had in the past week, “received multiple complaints of violations by state security agencies in the ongoing police operation. The complaints include arbitrary arrests, extortion, theft and looting of homesteads, sexual harassment, arbitrary detentions, illegal renditions, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

While KHRC officers were denied entry to Kasarani, they stated that they have got information “which establishes patterns of conduct by the Kenya Police that constitute serious violations of the constitution and international human rights standards and principles.” In a press conference on 10 April, the government denied the KHRC claims.

Earlier, cabinet secretary Ole Lenku had stated that, “the [security] operation will be done within the law and so far no reports of bribing or the rape allegations have been established. This is the country’s number one priority.”

Kenya has experienced an increased number of Al-Shabab attacks since the 2011 deployment of its troops to Somalia.

In September 2013, a shocking Al-Shabab assault on an upmarket shopping mall in Nairobi left at least 67 people dead.

What do you think of the detention of ethnic Somalis in Nairobi? Do let us know!

Refugees ordered to relocate to Kakuma, Dadaab camps as urban registration centres shut in Kenya

By CYRUS OMBATI Nairobi, Kenya: March 25th 2014: From Standard Media

The government has ordered all refugees residing outside Kakuma and Dadaab to return the refugee camps immediately. All refugee registration centres in urban in Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi, Isiolo and Nakuru have also been closed. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said any refugee found flouting his directive will be arrested and prosecuted. All Kenyans are requested to report to police any refugee or illegal immigrant found outside the designated camps,€ said Lenku in a statement. He said the move is part of the measures they are taking to address the increasing threat of terrorism in the country.

The minister said an additional 500 police officers have been deployed in Nairobi and Mombasa to enhance security and surveillance. He said other security agencies will support the operations.

Lenku added that 109 suspects have so far been arrested following the attack on a church in Likoni, Mombasa and are being interrogated. The move by the minister came amid reports some of the refugees could be behind the terror attacks being witnessed in the country. On Sunday, three gunmen who were armed with an AK 47 rifle dropped a box that had 36 rounds of ammunition as they escaped after killing six people at the church and injured 18 others. On Monday, four empty ammunition boxes were found at the Nakumatt Junction Mall basement.

The boxes were found abandoned on a trolley at the basement and seemed to have stayed there for long. Police have not established the whereabouts of the bullets that were emptied from the boxes or their origin.

What do you think about the connection being made between urban refugees in Nairobi and “terrorism acts” in the city? Do let us know your thoughts!

Check out Community Legal Education Ontario’s (CLEO) Refugee Rights in Ontario Publications

CLEO logo


Click on the CLEO logo to take you to the Refugee Right’s in Ontario Page.

This resource includes links to publications on topics as diverse as “Making a Refugee Claim” and information on the “Refugee Protection Hearing.”

Also check out CLEO’s other projects and publication’s  here

Angolans in DRC have mixed feelings on home

Displaced by Angola’s brutal civil war, some ex-refugees now living in DR Congo still don’t want to return.

 and 13 Mar 2014 13:37. Accessed on Al

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo – Seventy-six-year-old Manuel Francis is aware of the irony of his predicament. As an immigration officer working on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola, he was forced to flee Angola in 1999, when the third phase of his country’s civil war broke out. Francis made his way to Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital, to escape the violence.

“I lost everything. A decent house, a good salary. My heart aches when I think about what happened,” said Francis, dressed immaculately in a pinstriped shirt and brown trousers in Kinshasa.

More than 150,000 Angolans made their way into the DRC during the course of the civil war, which began shortly after Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Some 450,000 others ended up in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, the Republic of Congo and Botswana.

The civil war dragged on for 27 years, pitting the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) against each other in a bid to control the country. The conflict soon became another proxy battle in the Cold War, with the US backing the UNITA and the Soviet Union supporting the MPLA. South Africa and Cuba also played major roles.

Angola’s brutal civil war, which was funded in part by the country’s mineral wealth, at one stage involved one in three Angolan children fighting as child soldiers. The war is said to have resulted in the deaths of at least 500,000 people, and the displacement of a million people.

Manuel Francis said he lost everything after being forced to flee Angola [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

The humanitarian disaster became one of the United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) first emergency efforts to protect refugees outside of Europe since the agency’s formation in 1950.

Refugee status terminated

In 2012, as stability returned to Angola, the government of the DRC – like other countries in sub-Saharan Africa with sizable Angolan refugee populations – terminated the refugee status of Angolan refugees. The move was part of a plan to persuade the refugees to return home. For those ex-refugees who wanted to stay, the DRC government said it would make residency permits available.

Around 23,000 Angolans returned through the UNHCR-mediated repatriation programme in 2012. By January 2013, another 22,000 others said they were also prepared to return.

The UNHCR said the third wave of repatriations of Angolan refugees, due to start in mid-2014, is significant because it signals a possible conclusion to one of the continent’s oldest stories of displacement.

But another 47,815 Angolan refugees still live in the DRC, and have signalled their desire to remain. Maria Bueto Laudino, in her late 50s, said her husband was killed in an attack on her house in the country’s capital, Luanda, some 32 years ago. Laudino had to walk for three weeks, with four of her children and two orphans under her care, before she reached the DRC. “I saw beheaded bodies lying on the road along the way,” she said, with tears welling up in her eyes. “Never will these two legs ever return to Angola.”

Maria Laudino said she will never return to Angola                [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Others said they are not confident it is safe for them to return. Francis claims his political history would get him killed if he stepped back into Angola. He is not the only one to speak of “insecurity” back home. Seventy-six-year-old Mendoza Alfonso, one of the first Angolan refugees to arrive in the DRC and a former fighter for the FNLA during the civil war, said returning to Angola was only an option once Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the country’s president since 1979, either steps down or dies.

Furthermore, ex-refugees said those who returned to Angola through the repatriation programme were finding re-integration harder than expected. Some even returned to the DRC after discovering little had been done by Angolan authorities to prepare for their arrival.

Carlos Cainda, president of the Angolan ex-refugee committee in Kinshasa, a loose body representing the community in discussions with the UNHCR and the government, told Al Jazeera many ex-refugees were enthusiastic about returning home, but need assurance that “reintegration was going to work”. Cainda said people would “pack up and go immediately” if they were sure they wouldn’t be forced to find refuge in the DRC again.

Tough times in Kinshasa

The hesitancy to return had little to do with a reluctance to leave Kinshasa, said Dieudonne Yenga, a coordinator with Erukin, an NGO working with urban refugees in the city. Kinshasa is a harsh city, one of the poorer capitals on the continent. Services like electricity, running water and medical care are unreliable, even non-existent in many areas. The lack of infrastructure, development and administrative services in the city mean that civil servants often go unpaid – fuelling a culture of bribery, corruption and criminal impunity.

“People don’t struggle here as they would in a conflict zone,” said Yenga. “The conflict in Kinshasa is an economic one.”

Some Angolan refugees have been here so long that they have integrated into communities between the border region of Ba Congo and Kinshasa. Theresa Nsimba, in her fifties, has been in the DRC for such a long time, she can’t remember when she arrived. Her son has to remind her that it has been 15 years.

It’s no surprise to the authorities, then, that so many Angolan refugees want to stay. Yenga said integration for Angolan refugees was not difficult, because they both speak Lingala and share the same culture as those living in the Kinshasa area. The cultural symmetry across borders is not unique: Refugees from the Central African Republic streaming into the DRC’s Equateur province, and Rwandan refugees who arrived in the DRC’s North Kivu province after the 1994 genocide, share ethnic and linguistic similarities with their host communities.

But the uncertainty over whether to stay or return has split the refugee community. Antione Makiese, 28, works occasional jobs as a mechanic. He is grateful to the DRC for providing him a sanctuary from the war, but now believes it is time to go back home. He plans to take his family to Angola as soon as the repatriation process is restarted. “It’s better to suffer in the country of your own origin than to be suffering in a foreign place,” he said.

Ngadivua Makiese (right) refuses to leave Kinshasa               [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Makiese is married to a Congolese woman, and it’s unclear whether she will be able to make the journey with the family. Makiese’s younger brother, Ngadivua, 24, who has lived here since his teenage years, refuses to leave Kinshasa. This is his home now. But the decision threatens to split the family up once more, after they were forced to leave other family members behind in Angola back in 2001.

Angola’s economy is booming, but with high unemployment and continued poverty, refugees are unsure whether the move back would be an improvement over their current quality of life. Another refugee, living in ramshackle conditions with five children, and diagnosed with HIV, said she was receiving antiretroviral drugs in Kinshasa. She voiced concern over the availability of treatment in Angola, and decided to stay as a result.

The Makiese household, in the heart of Kinshasa’s Ngaliema-Ozone district, bears testimony to the squalid conditions of refugee life in Kinshasa. The family lives in a small brick house below street level, fitted with a corrugated iron roof. The alley off Mama Yemo Avenue that leads to the house is an open gutter of rotting trash, rodents and chickens. But this is not even a slum by Kinshasa standards; the living conditions are not out of the ordinary for millions of Congolese residing in the city and beyond.

‘An example for other countries’

Kinshasa’s poverty means that international groups aiding refugees living there must remain sensitive. The head of the country’s National Commission of Refugees, Berthe Zinga, told Al Jazeera that the DRC tries to ensure through its partners that aid benefits the larger Congolese community, and not just refugees.

The UNHCR said that although refugees would be able to return to Angola, the chance to remain in the DRC would also remain open. In a country with 2.4 million of its own people displaced and hundreds of thousands of refugees living within its borders, the DRC has proven to be generous in allowing refugees to remain.

“In many ways, this is an example for other countries who often do not offer residency to former refugees, which is something we encourage,” said Celine Schmitt, the UNHCR’s senior regional external relations officer, in Kinshasa.

Meanwhile, the immigration officer-turned-refugee, Manuel Francis, said he has no intention of applying for a residency permit in Kinshasa, despite his refusal to return to Angola. “I can’t practice politics here; there are too many spies in this city,” he said matter-of-factly.

Francis spoke slowly, thoughtfully, as he announced that the only way out for him would be to be resettled elsewhere, so that he might return to politics and help “liberate” Angola. “In politics, there is no age limit,” said the septuagenarian Francis. “I will do it to save my children.”

Did you know about Angolan Refugees in DRC? How is it that DRC has had an opend door policy for Refugees, even with its own crises, while other countries have not? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Mix of fear and hope for Somali refugees in Kenya looking to return home

By Bosire Boniface in Garissa

March 11, 2014. From SabahiOnline

While some Somalis residing in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex are taking stock of the living conditions back home before their eventual journey back, others are not ready to return and fear what might happen if the camps are closed prematurely.Somali refugees at the Dadaab refugee complex in attend the celebrations to mark World Refugee Day on June 20, 2012. [Abdullahi Mire/AFP]

Somali refugees at the Dadaab refugee complex in attend the celebrations to mark World Refugee Day on June 20, 2012. [Abdullahi Mire/AFP]

To better understand refugees’ mixed sentiment on the repatriation process, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), launched on February 25th a comprehensive survey of Somali refugees living in Dadaab camps.

The Return Intention Survey will be conducted over four months, and the results of the survey will be taken into consideration in the planning process for the voluntary repatriation of refugee families, according to IOM.

“In the next two months, 50 enumerators trained by IOM will be in the field to interview a sample of 7,453 households, representing 27 groups of refugees from nine different regions in Somalia, who arrived in three phases to Dadaab,” IOM said in a statement.

The survey will attempt to gather information a host of data points on the refugees, including how they used to earn a living, what property claims they may have, what forced the families to move from Somalia, current living conditions, skills and occupation, why they may choose to return, and their expectations with regard to access to services, security, employment and housing in Somalia, IOM said.

IOM and UNHCR agreed to carry out the survey to ensure the refugees’ views and concerns are heard and taken into consideration, under the framework of a tripartite agreement signed last November between Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR.

Hesitation and hope

To inform the public about the correct objectives of the survey, the organisations launched a communications campaign that included a press conference in Dadaab, public service announcements on radio and extensive meetings with refugee leaders.

But despite those efforts, the survey has been greeted with little or no enthusiasm, according to Halima Hussein Abdille, 35, a refugee in Dadaab’s Kambioos camp.

“I am certain that most of the refugees are reluctant to return in Somalia,” she told Sabahi. “But I doubt our voice will sway the Kenyan government which appears decided that we refugees should leave Kenya.”

Abdille, who arrived in the camps in 2007 from Bardhere in Gedo region, said she is not ready to return back home “any time soon” and is braced for forceful evictions from the camps.

“Al-Shabaab killed my cousin in January 2014 accusing him of not being cooperative with their demands. They have killed elderly and clerics there [recently]. How can one return to such a place?” she said.

“There have been sustained calls from Kenyan government officials to close the camps,” she said. “In case we are asked to leave the camps, our options will be limited regardless of international laws protecting the refugees.”

Still, Abdille said she knows of at least ten refugee families who left the camp for Somalia during the month of February.

“They left under their own means. Some left with donkey carts carrying their belongings while others left on hired vehicles,” she said.

Adan Hussein Ibrahim, 35, a refugee in Ifo II camp, was more optimistic about his future in Somalia and said he plans to return before the end of March.

“I came to Kenya on November 3, 2010, with my wife and three children,” he told Sabahi. “Since then, I have not been registered. We have been surviving on the goodwill of relatives in the camp who share with us their meagre food rations.”

Ibrahim said dozens of families who arrived in Kenya at the end of 2010 had already left.

He said a group of his relatives have been checking to see if his hometown of Bulo Marer in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region is suitable for resettlement.

“In the long run, my family and I will find our way to Hargeisa. I hope to settle and start business there,” he said, adding that he was inspired to return to his home country by those still in Somalia living and working under volatile situations.

Despite reports of al-Shabaab kidnappings, harassment, extortion, stealing livestock and imposing fines, many of the refugees are keen to return or have returned already, he said.

Beginning the journey home

Dadaab District Officer Bernard ole Kipury said security forces on patrol along the Kenya-Somalia border encounter far more groups of Somalis leaving Kenya than entering.

“On questioning those leaving, they tell the security officers that they are going back home to rebuild their lives,” he told Sabahi. “They are always in groups of not less than ten people including children and mothers.”

During security searches, the refugees are mostly found in possession of personal belongings, bedding and a little food and water for the journey back home, he said.

“Those coming [into Kenya] tell security officers they were in the camps [previously],” Kipury said. “Others say they are visiting their relatives.”

He said security in the camps has improved over the past two months, however, security forces remain on alert “because the lack of activities by al-Shabaab group has previously proved to be a tactic to distract alertness before an attack”.

Kipury said it was difficult to know exactly the number of refugees who have left the camps so far.

But on February 19th, during a press conference with Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto said that between 80,000 and 100,000 refugees had already travelled to Somalia voluntarily, adding that it may take two years to repatriate Somalis from Dadaab.

Raouf Mazou, UNHCR representative in Kenya, said the return of the refugees would be carried out on a voluntary basis only, as per the tripartite agreement signed between Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR, and that the process would take at least 10 years to conclude.

Kenyan Secretary of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government Joseph ole Lenku, however, maintains that it is possible to close the camp under a year.

“What is required in every situation is a will and commitment,” he told Sabahi. “There are organisations and individuals who want to instil the notion that Somalia is not safe for returning refugees. They are instilling fear instead of hope.”

“It will defeat logic if the refugees do not return to areas liberated by Somalia and African Union as soon as today,” he said.

As repatriation becomes more real for Somali refugees in Dadaab, what do you think is the role of the Return Intention Survey? Why do you think there is a lack of enthusiasm for taking part in this survey? Do let us know your thoughts!

Participate in the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Conference!

CARFMS14: Coherence And Incoherence In Migration Management And Integration: Policies, Practices And Perspectives

7th Annual Conference of the

Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS)

Hosted by

Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP), University of Montreal
in collaboration with the
Research Chair in Immigration, Ethnicity and Citizenship (RCIEC), University of Quebec at Montreal
Montréal, Quebec

May 7-9, 2014

In the past decade, immigration and asylum policies in Canada and elsewhere have undergone a profound shift. Preventive and repressive measures were taken against irregular migrants, including refugees and other forced migrants. While States have sought to achieve greater coherence in their migration management and integration policies and practices both at the national, regional and international levels the resulting consequences, in many instances, have been, rather, greater incoherence. Border controls were strengthened and international cooperation was intensified. On the pretext that asylum channels were abused by migrants, authorities adopted measures which made asylum and complementary forms of international protection harder to obtain. The decision-making process was accelerated, appeals were eliminated and detention became more systematic. Many states started to deny asylum seekers basic social and economic rights as part of a deliberate policy of deterrence. This exclusionary approach to forced migration management comes at a moment when States are pursuing more and more selective and diversified policies aiming at maximizing economic benefits of immigration. For instance, since 2000 the number of temporary migrant workers in Canada has tripled. Low-skill, low-wage migrant workers represent a flexible work force with few rights. A similar trend can be observed in other countries, where temporary workers and forced migrants find themselves legally, economically and socially marginalized. These developments are not only financially counterproductive but also strain States’ domestic and international obligations to provide human rights and refugee protection. Unsurprisingly, States have failed to address the root causes of forced migration. Due to stricter border controls and a harsher asylum system, more people turn to irregular means of migrating. This, in turn, creates an environment that is conducive to migrant smuggling and human trafficking. Heated debate on migration contributes to racism and xenophobic sentiments in many countries, creating a climate in which opportunities for sensible reflection are rare.

The 2014 CARFMS Conference will bring together students, researchers, policymakers, displaced persons and advocates from diverse disciplinary and regional backgrounds with a view to better analyse and understanding how contemporary migration and asylum policies, processes and structures have produced greater coherence and/or incoherence in the management of forced migration and integration. We invite participants from a wide range of perspectives to explore practical, social, legal, policy-oriented and theoretical questions of importance to the coherence of forced migration management. We also invite studies of short and long-term options for to integration and resettlement of forced migrants taking into account challenges and achievements.

The conference will feature keynote and plenary speeches from leaders in the field and refugees, and we welcome proposals for individual posters, papers, organized panels and roundtables structured around the following broad subthemes:

1. Coherence and Incoherence in the Management of Migration: Local, National, Regional, Comparative and International Issues and Concerns
This theme analyses discourse, norms, procedures and practices regarding border security, asylum and immigration and integration policy as well as their effectiveness, consequences and compatibility with domestic and international human rights and refugee protection standards. How can we ensure more coherent migration policies at the national, regional and international levels? What are the root causes of forced migration? What are the short and long-term implications of changes in the asylum and immigration system in Canada and abroad? What are the appropriate strategies to address irregular migration? What are the best practices in the reception of asylum seekers and the integration of migrants? How do international, regional, national and local actors, institutions and agencies, employers and members of civil society promote the legal, economic and social inclusion of migrants? How are the specific needs of women, children, elderly, disabled persons and other vulnerable persons met?

2. Coherence and Incoherence in the Integration of Migrants: Local, National, Regional, Comparative and International Issues and Concerns

This theme explores States’ utilitarian approach towards migration which challenges the balance between the objective of economic development, on the one hand, and integration and the fundamental rights of migrants, on the other. It also deals with the recent changes in the reception systems and in the treatment of forced migrants. What are the strengths and the weaknesses of reception, settlement, and integration policies? How should these policies be adapted to meet the needs of increasing numbers of temporary workers and of forced migrants, and foster their legal, economic and social inclusion? What is the role played by local, national and regional authorities, employers and members of civil society dealing with issues such as health, education, social welfare, employment and law enforcement? How does gender, sex, age, race, nationality or statelessness and other factors, taken individually or collectively, affect the coherence and/or incoherence in migration management and integration?

3. Towards Greater Migration Management and Integration Coherence Without Incoherence : New Approaches, Research Methods and Theories 

This theme solicits research on innovative approaches, grounded theories and methods in migration management and integration, developed within traditional disciplines or along interdisciplinary lines. New theoretical, conceptual, methodological issues from diverse critical and institutional perspectives lead to a better understanding of recent developments and challenges in the field of migration, and, ultimately, to more coherent policies and practices affecting the migrants in local, national, regional, and international contexts. What are the practical issues and challenges of researching migration management and integration and their coherent and/or incoherent consequences? How do we do research on these issues? How does our research influence theoretical foundations of citizenship and diversity, as well as policies of management, adaptation, and integration of refugees and other forced migrants? What are the implications of positioning ourselves as academics, policy makers, displaced persons, advocates, or activists when we are looking into issues of displacement, management and integration?


The deadline to submit abstracts has passed.

For more information, please contact:
Michele Millard
Coordinator, Centre for Refugee Studies
CARFMS Secretariat
8th Floor, Kaneff Tower
4700 Keele Street Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 Tel : 416-736-2100 ext. 30391
Fax : 416-736-5688
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Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement: Social Problem and Human Rights Issue (A Global Perspective)

Not much has been written on Mining- Induced Displacement, but as the extraction industry grows globally it becomes imperative to examine what this means for those who are made to leave their homes.

Bogumil Terminski has written about this in an article titled ” MINING-INDUCED DISPLACEMENT AND RESETTLEMENT: SOCIAL PROBLEM AND HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE (A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE)” and that can be accessed here  and downloaded here Mining-Induced Displacement– Terminski

The abstract states:

The object of this paper is to present mining-induced displacement and resettlement (MIDR) as a highly diverse global socioeconomic issue occurring in all regions of the world, as a human rights issue, and as a source of challenges to public international law and and institutions providing humanitarian assistance. Development-induced displacement is primarily an socioeconomic issue associated with loss or significant reduction of access to basic resources on which communities depend. Physical abandonment of the existing residence shall therefore secondary to the loss of access to material resources such as land, pastures, forests and clean water as well as intangible resources such as socio-economic ties. More in-depth analysis has been preceded by an introduction which draws attention to the specific nature of MIDR as one of the categories of internal displacement. Mining-induced displacement is currently not a statistically significant category of development-induced displacement and resettlement (DIDR). Nevertheless, the social costs of exploitation are great, and that is why the topic is worthy of a wider and more profound scientific analysis. The first displacement caused by mining dates back to the late nineteenth century. As pointed out by Walter Fernandes, in India alone, mining has led to the displacement of more than 1,5 million people over the last fifty years (particularly in Jharkhand region). Other sources estimated the scale of mining-caused displacement in India at more than 2,55 million people between 1950 and 1990. Contrary to the opinions of some specialists, the problem of mining-induced displacement and resettlement is a global problem, occurring on all continents. Countries with particularly large-scale MIDR include: India, China, many African countries (e.g. Ghana, Mali, Zimbabwe) and even Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The problem of compulsory resettlement is also a consequence of open pit coal mining in European countries like Germany and Poland. Although mining-induced displacement is a global phenomenon, problems experienced by the displacees in many parts of the world differ greatly. The largest portion of the displacement is caused by open-pit mining (associated with the extraction of gold, copper, iron, lignite, and diamonds).

What are your thoughts on Mining- Induced Displacement? Do let us know!