November 26, 2020: 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. 98

Recent Publications and New Research

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (Ed.) (2020). Refuge in a Moving World: Tracing refugee and migrant journeys across disciplines, UCL Press. This volume draws together more than thirty contributions from multiple disciplines and fields of research and practice to discuss different ways of engaging with, and responding to, migration and displacement. Through interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies–including participatory research, poetic and spatial interventions, ethnography, theatre, discourse analysis and visual methods–the volume documents the complexities of refugees’ and migrants’ journeys. This includes a particular focus on how people inhabit and negotiate everyday life in cities, towns, camps, and informal settlements across the Middle East and North Africa, Southern and Eastern Africa, and Europe. Read more and Download free.

The new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the UN Global Compact on Refugees (September 2020), the ASILE Forum. The ASILE project studies the interactions between emerging international protection systems and the United Nations Global Compact for Refugees (UN GCR), with particular focus on the European Union’s role. The first ASILE Forum assesses the European Commission’s Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the UN Global Compact on Refugees and EU law. It examines the implications of the Pact’s dualistic understanding of individuals from the perspective of refugee protection, human rights and rule of law. The Forum is composed by a Kick-off Policy Insight by Sergio Carrera, which is followed by written contributions by a group of European and international scholars. Access the forum.

Ghoshal, A. (2020). Refugees, Borders and Identities: Rights and Habitat in East and Northeast India. Taylor & Francis. Drawing on extensive research and in-depth fieldwork, this book discusses themes of displacement, rehabilitation, discrimination and politicisation of refugees that preceded and followed the Partition of India in 1947. It portrays the crises experienced by refugees in recreating the socio-cultural milieu of the lost motherland and the consequent loss of their linguistic, cultural, economic and ethnic identities. The author also studies how the presence of the refugees shaped the conduct of politics in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura in the decades following Partition. Read more.

Abdelaaty, L. (2020). Rivalry, Ethnicity, and Asylum Admissions Worldwide. International Interactions. Why do countries welcome some refugees and treat others poorly? Existing explanations suggest that the assistance refugees receive is a reflection of countries’ wealth or compassion. However, statistical analysis of a global dataset on asylum admissions shows that states’ approaches to refugees are shaped by foreign policy and ethnic politics. States admit refugees from adversaries in order to weaken those regimes, but they are reluctant to accept refugees from friendly states. At the same time, policymakers favor refugee groups who share their ethnic identity. Aside from addressing a puzzling real-world phenomenon, this article adds insights to the literature on the politics of migration and asylum. Read more.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Technological Testing Grounds: Migration Management Experiments and Reflections from the Ground Up (November, 2020) Petra Molnar, Refugee Law Laboratory and EDRi (European Digital Rights. This report offers the beginning of a systemic analysis of migration management technologies, foregrounding the experiences of people on the move who are interacting with and thinking about surveillance, biometrics, and automated decision-making during the course of their migration journeys. The reflections highlight the need to recognise how uses of migration management technology perpetuate harms, exacerbate systemic discrimination and render certain communities as technological testing grounds. Read the full report.

Brief: Caught in the Crossfire: Averting Further Humanitarian Disaster in Ethiopia (November 23, 2020) Refugees International. In early November, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia sent the national army into the northern region of Tigray in response to a reported attack on an Ethiopian military base by Tigrayan authorities. The outbreak of hostilities marked the culmination of months of mounting tensions and deteriorating relations between Abiy’s government and Tigrayan leaders. This brief explores the humanitarian and regional dimensions of the conflict and proposes a way forward to de-escalate the situation and accelerate humanitarian aid delivery. Read here.

Report: Populations at risk: Implications of COVID-19 for hunger, migration and displacement. (November 2020) IOM. This joint study by the World Food Programme and the International Organization for Migration explores the impacts of COVID-19 and related containment measures on migrant workers, remittance dependent households and the forcibly displaced. It assesses the implications of the pandemic for people’s mobility, food security and other livelihood outcomes in major migration and hunger hotspots around the world. Read here.

Chew, V., Phillips, M. & Yamada Park, M. (eds) (2020). COVID-19 Impacts on Immigration Detention: Global Responses, International Detention Coalition and HADRI/Western Sydney University. The Australian Government has held firm to a position of mandatory immigration detention for many years despite regular attempts by civil society and the public to soften this hardline approach. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has now also failed to alter the government’s resolve to utilise indefinite detention despite clear and obvious risks to the health of detainees throughout the pandemic. This paper provides a summary of State and civil society activity in response to COVID-19 with specific reference to immigration detention in Australia. It does not have scope to explore offshore detention arrangements as these policies have remained unchanged and include jurisdiction of other governments. Read full report here.

A Restriction of Responsibility-Sharing: Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the Global Compact on Refugees (2020) Danish Refugee Council (DRC). This report examines the current and potential use of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) to address COVID-19 and its impacts, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the GCR itself. It provides analysis of and reflections on the effects of the pandemic and concomitant challenges on different aspects of the GCR, ranging from shrinking asylum space and restricted responsibility-sharing to how the Compact features in public advocacy surrounding pandemic responses. Questions explored in the report include: How is the GCR used to address COVID-19 and its impacts? What is the impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the GCR in terms of refugee protection? What might these impacts mean for the GCR’s short- and longer-term viability? It then offers key take-aways and recommendations aimed at a variety of actors. Read more (open access).

News reports and blog posts

Why Québec’s refugee sponsorship suspension is so misguided by Adèle Garnier and Shauna Labman (November 22, 2020) The Conversation. For more than 40 years, Canada has been at the forefront of private refugee sponsorship. But in October 2020, the Québec government announced a partial suspension of refugee sponsorships in the province. Until Nov. 1, 2021, sponsorship organizations are not permitted to sponsor refugees to Québec. Read more.

Rebalancing and improving refugee resettlement in Canada by Ervis Martani (November 2, 2020) Policy Options. The Canadian private sponsorship program is the oldest in the world and has offered protection to more than 350,000 refugees. But it is dependent upon the goodwill and resources of those sponsors. Concerns about the program have been raised as the incidence of sponsorship breakdown has grown, with sponsors unable or unwilling to provide the promised support until the end of the sponsorship period. The Quebec government moved last week to suspend private sponsorship by organizations for a year after receiving serious allegations about the program, though it didn’t provide details. Read the full article

In storm-hit Honduras, a climate crisis drives needs and fuels migration by Jared Olson. (November 18, 2020) The New Humanitarian. As Honduras endures its second major hurricane in as many weeks, international aid agencies and local volunteer groups are scrambling the best responses they can to assist people displaced by flooding and landslides. Read more.

First Central African refugees return from DRC since COVID-19 outbreak (November 16, 2020) UNHCR. This is a report of the first voluntary repatriation of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the Central African Republic (CAR) since the start of COVID-19 pandemic. About 475 refugees from the Mole camp in DRC were transferred by truck, bus and then boat to Bangui, capital of the CAR. Voluntary returns of refugees from DRC back to the CAR started in November 2019 but were suspended four months later when the borders closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read more.

Digital and social media

Video: Solutions for dealing with refugees, Professor Khalid Koser interviewed by Dr. Melissa Siegel (March 15, 2020). This interview is a discussion on durable refugee solutions; what they are and how they manifest in practice. Watch here.

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