October 26 2023: 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. 139

A message from the RRN Team

We want to warmly welcome everyone to the new academic year, even though it is a bit belated. As the world keeps experiencing significant events, the importance of conducting strong research on refugee matters, displacement, and resilience has never been more critical. Therefore, we are thrilled to announce that our RRN Research Digest will once again be published bi-weekly for this academic year.

We are also delighted to introduce our newest team member, Celina Lieu, who will now coordinate the research digest. Handing over the reins to younger scholars reflects RRN’s dedication to growth, fostering fresh perspectives, and ensuring the sustainability of our research endeavors.

We sincerely appreciate your contributions to open-access research and encourage you to keep sharing all of your relevant work with us. It greatly enhances the content of the RRN Research Digest. Please reach out to Celina at lieucel@my.yorku.ca with your submissions and ideas.

Warm regards,

The RRN Team


Barnes, J., & Theule, J. (2023). Examining associations between maternal trauma, child attachment security, and child behaviours in refugee families. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–17. The article examines post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms in refugee mothers and the relationships between maternal trauma, child attachment security, and child internalizing and externalizing behaviours. The findings of the study suggest that child attachment security may protect against maternal trauma.

Clark-Kazak, C. (2023). “Why care now” in forced migration research? : Imagining a radical feminist ethics of care. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 22(4), 1151–1173. This article lays out the ethical, epistemological, and methodological reasons for radical care ethics in research on forced migration. Drawing on a growing body of literature and recent initiatives to codify ethics in forced migration studies, it highlights the transformational potential of a radical feminist care approach to the “ethical turn” in the field. 

Clark-Kazak, C. (2023). Research across borders: An introduction to interdisciplinary, cross-cultural methodology. University of Toronto Press. Research across Borders introduces key concepts and methods to understand and critically analyze research in academic books and journals, as well as in media, government reports, and anywhere else information is found. This book addresses the opportunities and challenges of undertaking research in international, cross-border, and cross-cultural contexts.

Collyer, M., & Uttara, S. (2023). Offshoring refugees: Colonial echoes of the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership. Social Sciences 12: 451
British proposals to forcibly deport asylum seekers to Rwanda have raised fierce opposition from across the political spectrum in the UK and internationally. Colonial policies of forcible removal, relocation, displacement, and dispersal around the Empire are well established. The article draws attention to these longer histories before investigating more recent cases of the dispersal of refugees within the British Empire in the twentieth century, and the colonial practices of forcible displacement of individuals inform the current agreement between the UK and Rwanda is highlighted in this paper.  

Henningsen, G. (2023). Big Data for the Prediction of Forced Displacement. International Migration Review. In recent years, UNHCR has intensified its efforts to integrate various data sources, ranging from satellite imagery to newspapers to online digital data, into estimates of refugees and persons of concern. These novel data sources offer the opportunity to improve planning about early warning and acute crisis situations. This paper outlines the potential of big data and presents examples of how some of those data sources are currently used in the organization. 

Hynie, M., Oda, A., Calaresu, M., Kuo, B. C., Ives, N., Jaimes, A., Bokore, N., Beukeboom, C., Ahmad, F., Arya, N., Samuel, R., Farooqui, S., Palmer-Dyer, J.-L., & McKenzie, K. (2023). Access to virtual mental healthcare and support for refugee and immigrant groups: A scoping review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 25(5), 1171–1195. Immigrant and refugee populations face multiple barriers to accessing mental health services. This scoping review applies the Patient-Centred Access to Healthcare model in exploring the potential of increased access through virtual mental healthcare services for these populations by examining the affordability, availability/accommodation, and appropriateness and acceptability of virtual mental health interventions and assessments. 

Lepp, A., & Gerasimov, B. (2023). Editorial: Labour, migration, and exploitation during COVID-19 and lessons (not) learnt. Anti-Trafficking Review, (21), 1–15. This article reviews the impacts of COVID-19 on labour, migration, and human trafficking. It outlines some of the main challenges internal and cross-border migrants faced during the pandemic, including closures of workplaces, deportations, lack of access to healthcare and social support, increasing xenophobia and racism, and more.

McNally, R. (2023). Equally Public and Private Refugee Resettlement: The Historical Development of Canada’s Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–17. For over 40 years, Canada’s Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program has combined government financial assistance, professional settlement services, and private sponsor settlement support for refugees with “special needs.” With high public and private involvement, the program offers another potential model for sponsorship, yet existing knowledge about the program is limited. This article explores the historical development of the program, highlighting three time periods: 1979–1981, when it launched; 1998–2001 when it welcomed thousands of Kosovars and expanded as selection criteria prioritized vulnerability; and 2014–2019, as it increasingly competed with other sponsorship programs. 

Pendakur, R., & Sarna, S. Mr Speaker: The changing nature of parliamentary debates on immigration in Canada. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue Canadienne de Sociologie, 00, 1-30. This article looks at the changing nature of political debates concerning immigration over a five-decade period in the Canadian House of Commons. In the 1990s, party views on immigration in Canada became more extreme when the Progressive Conservative Party split. The Liberal Party leaned more to the left, and the Reform/Alliance/Conservative parties moved further to the right and stayed that way until 2015. After that, the Conservatives and the Liberals started moving toward the middle. 

Pozuelo JR, Bradenbrink R, Stierna MF, and Sterck O. (2023). Depression, violence and socioeconomic outcomes among refugees in East Africa: Evidence from a multicountry representative survey. BMJ Mental Health, 26:1–8. Existing research on refugee mental health is heavily skewed towards refugees in high-income countries, even though most refugees (83%) are hosted in low-income and middle-income countries. This problem gets more complicated because the groups of people typically studied are not always representative, the samples are sometimes small, and not many people respond. This study aims to give accurate results about how many people from various refugee groups in East Africa have depression and what might be connected to it. 

Schenck, M.C. & Reed, K. (2023). The Right to Research: Historical Narratives by Refugee and Global South Researchers. McGill-Queen’s University Press. The Right to Research features nine works by refugee and host-community researchers across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. It identifies the intrinsic challenges of making space for diverse voices within a research framework and infrastructure that is inherently unequal. This edited volume offers a critical reflection on what history means, who narrates it, and what happens when those long excluded from authorship bring their knowledge and perspectives to bear. The chapters address topics such as education in Kakuma Refugee Camp, the political power of hip-hop in Rwanda, women migrants to Yemen, and the development of photojournalism in Kurdistan.

Ziersch, A., Loehr, N., & Miller, K. (2023). Discrimination in the private rental market in Australia: Large families from refugee backgrounds. Housing Studies, 1–25. This article examines the many challenges, such as discrimination, refugee and asylum seekers face in the private rental market, as securing appropriate housing is a crucial component of resettlement for people with refugee experience. Market factors and risk assessments were highlighted as contributing to discrimination and how agents’ and lessors’ working definitions of discrimination manifested in their tenant selection practices. While service providers and some agents sought to counter discriminatory practices, the significant impact of discriminatory housing practices for refugees and asylum seekers was evident and posed important policy and practice questions.   


Barbour, B. (2023). Asylum capacity development: Building new and strengthening existing systems.  Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. Refugees are guaranteed a set of rights under international law. However, the asylum system that they encounter in the country where they seek refuge determines if they can enjoy those rights. An ‘asylum system’ can be understood as the legal, institutional, and social arrangements in place to meet the needs of refugees. Asylum capacity development (ACD) is the emerging area of policy and practice concerned with strengthening asylum systems. This Policy Brief sets out an approach to strengthen asylum systems, provides practical guidance by setting out a framework that can be used to evaluate existing or proposed asylum systems, and promotes a needs-based approach that seeks to develop capacities or scale them up to meet the identified needs of refugees.

Collins, J., Reid, C., Groutsis, D., Hughes, S., Watson, K., Kaabel, A. (2023). Refuge and family futures in Australia: Settlement outcomes of recently arrived refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. University of Sydney Business School and the MERCI@WResearch Group. The report looks at regional vs. metropolitan refugee settlement experiences and family, social class, and religious dimensions of the refugee settlement experience. It is enlivened by detailed quotes from the refugee adults and youth about their experiences, aspirations, hopes and concerns about their families’ lives in Australia. Settlement outcomes – education, language, employment and belonging – improved significantly over time (between 2017-2022). These evidence-based findings demonstrate that Australian refugee intakes can be substantially increased.

Shakespeare, M., Pham, L., Chitranshi, B., McMahon, T., Khorana, S., Magee, L. Bau, V. (2023). Foundations for Belonging 2023: Exploring refugees’ understanding and engagement with First Nations issues and histories. SSI/Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. This report covers a four-year research project on the resettlement journey of refugees in Australia, with the latest exploring how refugees understood Indigenous issues. The report found that knowledge of Indigenous history and its survival over thousands of years can inspire refugees and their children with a sense of safety to continue their own cultural traditions. It also noted that both refugees and Indigenous people’s experiences were often characterized as “deficient, singular and sensationalized.” 

Frensch, K., & Akesson, B. (2022). Socio-Spatial Initiatives to Foster Belonging Among Refugee Families Resettled in Canada: A Narrative Review and Future Directions. Centre for Research on Security Practices. Wilfrid Laurier University. This report discusses the impacts of displacement and resettlement on refugees and their families in an unfamiliar place. These impacts include every aspect of families’ socio-spatial environments, like cultural norms, religious traditions, and support networks. Most programs and policies that assist in resettling refugee families often do not explicitly address elements related to place, despite the importance of social and physical environments in the well-being and belonging of refugee families. This report looks at the initiatives that help refugee families maintain their cultural identities and connections with their country of origin and establish a new sense of belonging in their resettlement communities.

Refugee Council of Australia. (2023). Implementing the refugee participation pledge. The brief outlines how RCOA has progressed in its commitment as an organizational member of the Global Refugee-led Network to support the meaningful participation of refugees in decisions that affect their lives. The Global Refugee-led Network developed three objectives for implementing the Refugee Participation Pledge in the lead-up to the 2023 Global Refugee Forum scheduled for December in Geneva.  


Asylum seekers bring message to ministers’ front doors by Jane Salmon, September 28, 2023. Independent Australia. The article showcases how refugees have been holding peaceful vigils outside the offices of key ministers in Australia in a campaign for permanent visas. The majority of those attending are Iranians who are at odds with the current regime. 

Canada-U.S. refugee pact changes expected to ‘exacerbate existing threats’: memo by Jim Bronskill, October 21, 2023. The Canadian Press. A newly released memo shows federal officials warned last spring that expanding a bilateral refugee pact to the entire Canada-U.S. border would likely fuel smuggling networks and encourage people to seek more dangerous, remote crossing routes. Officials feared the development would also strain RCMP resources as irregular migrants dispersed more widely across the vast border. 

How Black African students experience forced displacement from Ukraine by Lindsey N Kingston and Igho Ekakitie, Forced Migration Review, September 2023. This article draws on interviews with 15 Black African students, aged 19 to 29, who were displaced from Ukraine in February 2022. The interviews centred on the decision-making processes that brought them to safety and their migration journeys. 

Rethinking forced migrants’ well-being: lessons from Ukraine by Reo Morimitsu and Supriya Akerkar, Forced Migration Review, September 2023. This article draws on a study examining levels of positive changes and their predictors among conflict-affected Ukrainian internally displaced persons. The focus was on post-traumatic growth, a phenomenon described as “positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances.” 

The role of media and information in supporting internally displaced women in Ukraine by Sally Gowland, Forced Migration Review, September 2023. This piece talks about the results of a study that sought to generate a comprehensive understanding of issues related to internally displaced Ukrainian women’s information and communication needs. 

The Supreme Court quashes immigration decisions that found two foreign nationals inadmissible to Canada, The Supreme Court of Canada, September 27, 2023. Earl Mason and Seifeslam Dleiow are foreign nationals in Canada who were both legally charged after an altercation. Following these incidents, officials at the Canada Border Services Agency prepared reports alleging that both Mr. Mason and Mr. Dleiow were inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The Supreme Court has allowed their appeals. A person can only be found inadmissible to the country under section 34(1)(e) of the IRPA if they engage in violent conduct linked to national security or the security of Canada.  


How irregular migrants access support in cities by Maxime Felder (Cogitatio Press). This talk is about the paradoxical nature of inclusion for irregular migrants in cities. Maxime Felder examines how support is delivered, how it is experienced by different categories of irregular migrants, and how frontline social workers make sense of their work. The episode is based on ethnographic research with young North African irregular migrants in Geneva, Switzerland.

2023 Hybrid Academic & Policy Symposium by Centre for Migration Studies of New York. Join the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) for its annual Academic & Policy Symposium on November 14, 2023, from 10:00am – 5:00pm (ET). This hybrid event will take place at the law offices of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP (1 New York Plaza / 1 FDR Drive, New York, NY), with virtual access for those unable to attend in person. For those attending virtually, a link to join before the event date will be sent via email. 

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