October 18, 2018: 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. 50

Recent Publications and New Research

Forced Migration Review new issue: Twenty Years of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

In the 20 years since they were launched, the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement have been of assistance to many states responding to internal displacement and have been incorporated into many national and regional policies and laws. However, the scale of internal displacement today remains vast, and the impact on those who are displaced is immense. In this issue, authors acknowledge the applications and successes of the Guiding Principles while reflecting on their limitations, the challenges to their implementation, their relevance to contemporary incidences and difference drivers of internal displacement, future challenges that might have to be faced, and the potential application of new understandings and new approaches. Available at: www.fmreview.org/GuidingPrinciples20.

New Book: Leung, Linda (2018). Technologies of Refuge and Displacement Rethinking Digital Divides, Roman and Littlefield

This book aims to theoretically and practically understand technology access and use from the perspective of those on the “wrong” side of the digital divide. Specifically, it examines refugees as a group that has received scant attention as technology users, despite their urgent need for technological access to sustain tenuous links to family and loved ones during displacement. It draws from over 100 interviews and surveys with refugees conducted from 2007 to 2011 to interrogate well-known theories about technology and its users. In doing so, it seeks to rethink the popular model of “digital divide” and offer alternative ways of conceptualizing technology literacy and access. More information available at:


New Book: Garnier, Adele, Liliana Lyra Jubilut and Kristin Bergtora Sandvik (2018) Refugee Resettlement: Power, Politics and Humanitarian Governance. New York City: Berghahn Books.

This edited volume examines resettlement practices worldwide and draws on contributions from anthropology, law, international relations, social work, political science, and numerous other disciplines. It highlights the conflicts between refugees’ needs and state practices, and assesses international, regional and national perspectives on resettlement, as well as the bureaucracies and ideologies involved. It offers a detailed understanding of resettlement, from the selection of refugees to their long-term integration in resettling states, and highlights the relevance of a lifespan approach to resettlement analysis. The book is available for purchase here: http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/GarnierRefugee some sections available on google books at: https://books.google.ca/books

Angulo-Pasel, C. (2018). The journey of Central American women migrants: engendering the mobile commons. Mobilities, 1-16.

This article delves into the concept of the ‘mobile commons’ which is articulated within the Autonomy of Migration (AoM) approach. The AoM literature focuses on migrant agency by advocating that migrants practice ‘escape’ and ‘invisibility’. However, drawing on the stories of women migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras travelling through Mexico, this article aims to engender and thereby trouble the concept of the mobile commons by questioning several taken-for-granted assumptions that are based on gender-neutral knowledge and dichotomous ways of thinking. The analysis first focuses on explaining the mobile commons as a theoretical concept. It then discusses how conceptualizing the mobile commons through a feminist perspective challenges the ideas of invisible knowledge and trust often integral to the ways in which the concept of the mobile commons is used. Finally, it outlines the survival strategies that migrant women may use given their own knowledge of the migration context in Mexico, and reflect on what this means for the scholarly understanding of the ‘mobile commons’. Available at: https://tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17450101.2018.1498225

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Research Brief: Clemens, Michael, Cindy Huang and Jimmy Graham, The Economic and Fiscal Effects of Granting Refugees Formal Labor Market Access, The Center for Global Development

In this brief the authors argue that granting refugees formal labour market access (LMA) has the potential to create substantial benefits for refugees and their hosts. Global businesses can also benefit and can help to shape government policy related to the rights of refugees to work and own businesses. Problems associated with increased competition for jobs tend to be more pronounced when refugees are pushed into small corners of the informal sector, according to the paper which previews the economic effects of granting formal LMA to refugees and the policies that can help maximise the benefits and avoid any potential costs. Available at: https://www.cgdev.org/publication/economic-and-fiscal-effects-granting-refugees-formal-labor-market-access-brief

Global Detention Project Report: Immigration Detention in Egypt: Military Tribunals, Human Rights Abuses, Abysmal Conditions, and EU Partner

Egypt has long been a destination and transit country for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants from across the Middle East and Africa. Its Mediterranean coast has served as an important staging point for people attempting to reach Europe irregularly. Observers have repeatedly expressed concerns about Egypt’s use of police stations and prisons for immigration detention purposes. With the jurisdiction of Egypt’s military substantially expanded since the military coup in 2013, military officers can arrest people for migration-related offences and place them before military tribunals that do not meet international fair trial standards. Despite on-going government repression of civil society organisations and the dire conditions migrants face in detention, Egypt remains a key EU partner in Mediterranean migration control policies. Read the full report at: https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/africa/egypt 

IWYS Knowledge Synthesis Reports

CERIS has released four knowledge synthesis reports on Immigrant Women, Youth, and Seniors (IWYS). The reports survey existing research and services for these groups across Canada, focusing on what impact services have on immigrant outcomes. The review of recent research on and existing services for immigrant women, youth, and seniors in Canada addresses three main questions. First, what do we know about the settlement experiences—particularly outcomes—of these diverse groups of immigrants? Second, what is out there in terms of services specifically targeting them? Third, what impact, if any, do existing services have on immigrant outcomes? The report tackles each question in four substantive areas of settlement: (a) labour market participation and income; (b) education and language training; (c) health, mental health, and well-being; and (d) social and civic participation. Available at: 


News and blog posts

Introducing the Refugees and Migrants Page, By Refugees and Migrants Page Editors

This Refugees and Migrants Project (RAMP) page is designed to encourage readers to re-think how we conceive the movement of people, within and between states, in the twenty-first century. It addresses the phenomenon of population movements, emergent policies, as well as humanitarian aid practices and policies toward refugees and migrants, legal and not. Most importantly, RAMP seeks to re-center the narrative about refugees and migrants onto the impacted communities thus disrupting their characterization as “crises” or “problems.” Instead, it will focus on their rights and contributions; highlights how their challenges inform the adequacy of the state and international norms and documents the conditions that create their situations. It also focuses on documenting the various strategies and tactics displaced people use to access housing, urban services, jobs, and leisure in cities, towns, and regions, against multiple odds. Available at:  http://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/38031/Introducing-the-Refugees-and-Migrants-Page   

The UN Refugee Agency’s report shows that Canada should welcome more refugees, by Didem Dogar

According to the Global Trends report, how well did Canada do in welcoming refugees compared to other countries in the world? Considering all these numbers, is Canada doing well in opening its doors to refugees? The author argues that the answer depends on where we look from. It argues that on a national level, Canada did relatively well in welcoming refugees in comparison to its approach in the previous years and, especially, in comparison to the Trump Administration’s policies in the US. However, on a global level, Canada’s position does not seem as positive. Available at:


Almost 6,000 Australian doctors call for removal of children from Nauru.

The doctors signed a letter, to be delivered to Prime Minister Scott Morrison today, demanding the government remove 80 children from Australia’s offshore processing facility on Nauru due to serious mental and physical health concerns. it was reported that almost all refugee children there were traumatized and needed to be assessed and treated “as a matter of urgency”. On Friday, UNHCR called for all refugees and asylum-seekers to be evacuated from Australia’s offshore facilities. Available at:


Re-opened border with Ethiopia sees spike in Eritrean arrivals by report from Norwegian Refugee Council 

One month after the re-opening of two border crossing points between Ethiopia and Eritrea, more than 10,000 Eritreans have crossed into Ethiopia. Most are women and children wanting to reunite with family members already in Ethiopia. UNHCR and the NRC said reception centres have become over-crowded as an average of 390 people arrive every day. The Guardian reports that young Eritrean conscripts and their families are still waiting in hope that their government will announce an end to indefinite national service following the peace deal with Ethiopia. Eritrea’s compulsory national service has been one of the main reasons young people have fled the country in recent years. More available at:


Ferreira, Nuno and Denise Venturi (2018) Testing the untestable: The CJEU’s decision in Case C-473/16, F v Bevándorlási és Állampolgársági Hivatal. European Database of Asylum Law. June 28.

This blog post considers the case of a claim for asylum by a Nigerian man in Hungary on the basis of sexual orientation, a claim that was initially denied and then appealed to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The authors argue that this case brought the matter of sexual orientation asylum claims back into the EU arena and offered the court an opportunity to improve some of the shortcomings of its own previous decisions on this type of claim. The authors start with the premise that law should be about people, not (just) about abstract notions and fuzzy values. Available at:


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