November 25, 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. 114

BHER Speaker Series

Learn more and register here


Recent Publications and New Research

[Open Access] New Refuge issue: General Issue with Special Focus on Humanizing Studies of Refuge and Displacement, November 2021. The contributors to this forum examine the un/desirability and im/possibility of “humanizing” studies of refuge and displacement. All of the interventions address underlying epistemological and methodological approaches in refugee studies as central to addressing dehumanization in research. Collectively, the interventions in this forum urge us to engage reflexively in struggles to undo persistent indignity, marginalization, and violence towards refugees, as well as to people affected by both displacement and involuntary immobilities beyond this category.

[Open Access] Clark-Kazak, C. (2021). Ethics in Forced Migration Research: Taking Stock and Potential Ways Forward. Journal on Migration and Human Security, 9(3), 125-138. Migration research poses particular ethical challenges because of legal precarity, the criminalization and politicization of migration, and power asymmetries. This paper analyzes these challenges in relation to the ethical principles of voluntary, informed consent; protection of personal information; and minimizing harm. It shows how migration researchers — including those outside of academia — have attempted to address these ethical issues in their work, including through the recent adoption of a Code of Ethics (now available in French and Spanish) by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM). However, gaps remain, particularly in relation to the intersection of procedural and relational ethics; specific ethical considerations of big data and macrocomparative analyses; localized meanings of ethics; and oversight of researchers collecting information outside of institutional ethics boards. The paper concludes with some recommendations to address arising ethical issues and challenges specific to Forced Migration research.

[Open Access] Lamis Abdelaaty, Refugees and Guesthood in Turkey, Journal of Refugee Studies, Volume 34, Issue 3, 2021, p. 2827–2848. Even as Turkey took in over 3 million Syrians at great expense, Turkish officials were referring to these individuals as guests rather than refugees. Despite significant legal developments in the country, and particularly the formalization of a temporary-protection regime, this choice of labels reveals the influence of underlying political trends on Turkish policymaking regarding refugees. This article compares Turkey’s reactions to the Syrian inflow with its responses to previous refugee groups, including Iraqis in 1988, Bosnians in 1992, Kosovars in 1998 and Chechens starting 1999. In so doing, it demonstrates that the refusal to designate certain populations as asylum seekers or refugees enables Turkey to opt in or out of what might otherwise appear to be generally applicable, national-level policies. Through these strategic semantics, policymakers retain a freedom to manoeuvre in response to international and domestic political incentives.

[Open Access] Yousuf, B., & Berry, N. S. (2021). The Resettlement Experiences of Oromo Women Who Entered Canada as Refugees. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 37(2), 78–92. A growing body of literature shows that gender-based experiences produce different circumstances for men and women who become refugees and thereafter. This article sought to contribute to this literature by investigating the challenges faced by Oromo women who have immigrated to Canada as refugees. Toward this end, we interviewed six Oromo women in Western Canada regarding what led them to leave Ethiopia, their experiences as refugees seeking asylum, and their struggles with resettlement and integration. The findings reveal that Oromo women share the challenges endured by their male counterparts, but also are victim of gender-based subjugation at each stage of emigration.

[Open Access] Khan, Adrian A. 2021. Connecting Crises: Young People in Nepal Reflecting on Life Course Transitions and Trajectories during Times of Uncertainty. Social Sciences 10, no. 11: 439. Young people in displacement contexts often face the challenge of restrictions towards engaging their agency in migration decision-making processes. Through multi-sited ethnography throughout Nepal and in-depth interviews with 30 trans-Himalayan participants, this paper investigates multiple experiences of crises experienced by young people and the effects on their life course trajectories. From focusing on the Civil War in 1996–2006, the 2015 earthquake, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper proposes that initial displacements from the Civil War, when connected with other crises later on in a participant’s life course, better prepared them to deal with crises and enabled them to create a landscape of resilience. Furthermore, a landscape of resilience that connects past and present life course experiences during crises prepared some participants for helping their larger communities alleviate certain crisis-related tension. Overall, connecting crises shaped their (im)mobility and life trajectories, rather than approaching crises as singular/isolated experiences.

[Open Access] FMR issue 68 now online – Externalisation / Mobility and agency in protracted displacement. Forced Migration Review issue 68 includes two features. In the main feature on Externalisation, authors examine the consequences for protection when States increasingly take action beyond their own borders to prevent the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers. A second feature focuses on Mobility and agency for those living in protracted displacement, produced in collaboration with the TRAFIG research project. FMR 68 is available in two formats: a magazine and a shorter Editors’ briefing

[Open Access] Megan Bradley (2021) Realising the Right of Return: Refugees’ Roles in Localising Norms and Socialising UNHCR, Geopolitics. Drawing on extensive material from the UNHCR archives on repatriation movements from Honduras to El Salvador in the 1980s, this article examines how refugees themselves have influenced the governance of return by serving as norm entrepreneurs, localising the right of return and socialising UNHCR to rethink and support broader interpretations of this principle. It analyzes how Salvadoran refugees envisioned the right of return as a collective and deeply political process of asserting citizenship claims, and took direct action to implement this right, compelling UNHCR and government actors to adjust to their vision. These experiences have important implications for understandings of the right of return as an international norm, and the roles of refugees themselves as actors in norm localisation and socialisation processes.

Reports, and Policy Briefs and Opinion Pieces

[Policy Paper] Naomi Alboim and Karen Cohl. (2021). Expanding Refugee Pathways to Canada: Strategies for welcoming Afghan and other refugees. Ryerson University CERC in Migration and Integration, Policy Paper No. 5. This paper recommends strategies for implementing the new Afghan programs and strengthening the impact of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot. It also recommends ways to keep refugee families together and to open up refugee pathways through educational opportunities. The recommendations build on the concept of complementary pathways for refugees, as embodied in section 3.3 of the Global Compact on Refugees. The Compact encourages member states to employ a range of pathways, over and above traditional government resettlement. As a member state with multiple pathways already in place, Canada is a leader in this regard, but more could be done to make the most of each pathway.”

[Brief] From Displacement to Development: How Kenya Can Create Shared Growth by Facilitating Economic Inclusion for Refugees, Refugees International, November 2021. This case study dives deep into refugee economic inclusion in Kenya. It lays out the profile of refugees and hosts in the country, describing the demographics of refugees and gaps in outcomes between refugees and hosts that result from barriers to economic inclusion. Next, it analyzes the main barriers to greater economic inclusion and  describes the benefits, for both refugees and hosts, of overcoming those barriers. The brief also offers recommendations for how to overcome the barriers.

[Report] Research and knowledge mobilization in the GTA’s immigrant and refugee-serving sector: A needs assessment, Wellesley Institute, November 15, 2021. This report provides an overview of the current landscape for research into migration, settlement, and immigration in the Greater Toronto Area, and offers recommendations for closing gaps, strengthening research relationships, and ensuring a solid base of knowledge and evidence for policy and practice among academics, policy-makers, and community organizations and service providers.

[Blog] Cristiano d’Orsi and Juan Pablo Serrano Frattali ‘The right to food and housing for Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): geographical distance does not forcibly mean different situations’, AfricLaw, November 2, 2021. In this piece, the authors  offer a legal and policy comparison between the present situation of IDPs in Colombia and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. If at the legal level Colombia has certainly a more complete framework for the protection of IDPs, loopholes and lacunae in the treatment of IDPs are still present in both countries.

Also on the RRN Radar:

Digital and social media

Refugee-Specific Locally-Engaged Refuge Research Network (LERRN) on-line training course. This 12-unit training program engages with the theory and practice of cross-cultural partnered fieldwork.  Units will be delivered through a series of pre-recorded lectures and supported by readings and other materials, with on-line discussions and assignments supported and moderated by a designated course facilitator. This training program will both equip emerging scholars with new research skills and foster critical reflection and dialogue among participants on these issues. The pilot program will run from the 10 January 2022 until 1 April 2022. Students will be asked to dedicate approximately 6 hours a week to the course. There is no fee for participating in the pilot offering of the course. Please direct any questions to Nimo Bokore ( and Amanda Klassen (

Recorded sessions from CARFMS21 now available on YouTube. The recorded sessions (where permissions have been released) from the CARFMS21 conference to the CARFMS YouTube Channel: CARFMS21: Utopias as Practices: Refugee Protection and The Coming Futures – YouTube.

<< Back