October 6 2022: 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. 126


Hyndman, J. (2022). Geo‐scripts and refugee resettlement in canada: Designations and destinations. The Canadian Geographer. Most immigrants to Canada who are not refugees contribute to decisions about where they settle; resettled refugees do not. This paper illustrates how one’s designated category of resettlement decisively shapes the place one begins life in Canada, and how each has a specific geographical trajectory—or geo-script. Geo-scripts are derived from refugee categories that effectively govern the spatial settlement patterns of refugees and, in turn, shape the opportunities and outcomes of the resettlement process. For example, government data show that 70% of resettled refugees do not move after they arrive in Canada. The geo-scripts of resettlement thus fundamentally shape people’s lives and livelihoods in Canada.

Shivakoti, R., & Milner, J. (2021). Beyond the partnership debate: Localizing knowledge production in refugee and forced migration studies. Journal of Refugee Studies, 35(2), 805-826.  There is a growing recognition in refugee and forced migration studies that research partnerships, especially those that cross geographies of the global North and global South, are both a blessing and a potential curse. Drawing on the results of a review of forced displacement research centres based in the global South and interviews with the directors of these centres, this article encourages a shift from focusing on research partnerships to an approach that supports the localization of knowledge production in refugee and forced migration studies.

New Fall Issue: International Migration Review (2022). The International Migration Review, 56(3). This edition is thematically sorted into four sections. The first section examines migrant (im)mobilities in the context of contested laws, geopolitics, and naturalizations. The second discusses refugee dynamics, integration, and the state. The third section has articles about race, religion, and migrant belonging. The fourth focuses on acculturation and transnational frameworks in Europe. Lastly, this edition includes seven book reviews, which are free to access.

Pötzschke, S., & Rinken, S. (2022). Migration Research in a Digitized World: Using Innovative Technology to Tackle Methodological Challenges, Springer Cham. This open access book explores the implications of the digital revolution for migration scholars’ methodological toolkit. New information and communication technologies hold considerable potential to improve the quality of migration research by originating previously non-viable solutions to a myriad of methodological challenges in this field of study. This book addresses a range of crucial issues related to researcher-designed data collections and the secondary use of ‘big data’, highlighting opportunities, challenges, and limitations.

Sabie, D., Ekmekcioglu, C., & Ahmed, S. I. (2022). A decade of international migration research in HCI: Overview, challenges, ethics, impact, and future directions. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 29(4), 1-35. This article presents a thorough discussion of the trajectories of international migration research in HCI. Summarizing a decade of data on how this research stream has evolved, the geographies and populations it encompasses, and the methodologies it utilizes. This data is enriched with qualitative data from researchers who reflect on their working experience in this area. Our analysis reveals how the domain has evolved from the European migrant crisis to a more global migration agenda and points towards a shifting focus from addressing immediate needs to acknowledging more complex political and emotional aspects of mobility

Caitlin Katsiaficas (2022). Refugee Integration and Mental Health: A Two-way Street? Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University. For many refugees in Europe, mental health challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic come on top of other stress and trauma experienced due to displacement. Moreover, mental health is linked to integration, and evidence suggests a bidirectional relationship between refugee integration and mental health—pointing to challenges and opportunities to promote reinforcing gains for individuals and communities. This paper explores existing knowledge about this relationship and how policies and practices that go beyond clinical mental health services can work to support both domains.  

Abdelaaty, L., & Hamlin, R. (Eds.). (2022). Special Issue: The Politics of the Migrant/Refugee Binary, Journal of Immigration & Refugee Studies 20(2). This special issue interrogates the categorization and labelling of border crossers, particularly the categories of migrant and refugee, as they are used in distinction with one another. The importance of this topic for the future of migration and refugee studies is difficult to overstate.

Summers, K., Crist, J., & Streitwieser, B. (2022). Education as an opportunity for integration: Assessing Colombia, Peru, and Chile’s educational responses to the Venezuelan migration crisis. Journal on Migration and Human Security, 10(2), 95-112.  With over 5 million Venezuelans fleeing their home country, Latin America faces its largest migration crisis. Colombia, Peru, and Chile host the greatest number of Venezuelan migrants in the region. Each country has responded differently to the crisis regarding the provision of education. Venezuelan migrants attempting to enter the primary, secondary, and higher education systems encounter various barriers, from struggles with documentation, and limited availability of spaces in schools, to cultural barriers and xenophobia. This paper examines the distinct educational policy responses to Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, Peru, and Chile.

Easton-Calabria, E. (2022). Refugees, self-reliance, development: A critical history. Bristol University Press. The promotion of refugee self-reliance is evident today, yet its history remains largely unexplored, with good practices, and longstanding issues often missed. This book documents a century of little-known efforts to foster refugee self-reliance through archival and contemporary evidence, including the economic, political, and social motives driving this assistance. The book tracks refugee self-reliance with five case studies as a malleable concept used to pursue ulterior interests. It reshapes understandings of refugee self-reliance and delivers important messages for contemporary policymaking.The first chapter is available open-access (free) here

Rap, S. (2022). ‘A test that is about your life’: The involvement of refugee children in asylum application proceedings in the netherlands. Refugee Survey Quarterly, 41(2), 298-319. Refugee children are often neither recognized as rights holders nor as active agents in asylum procedures. A one-sided view of these children as vulnerable objects is not in coherence with international children’s rights, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which regards all children as autonomous subjects and full bearers of rights. Through 21 in-depth interviews with unaccompanied, separated, and accompanied children in the Netherlands, their perceptions and experiences are collected and analyzed concerning their right to be informed and to participate in asylum application proceedings.

Hovil, L., & Maple, N. (2022). Local integration: A durable solution in need of restoration? Refugee Survey Quarterly, 41(2), 238-266. Local integration has long been seen as the “forgotten” durable solution to refugee displacement, evidenced by the reluctance of governments across the world to accord refugees new citizenship. This article goes further. It argues that local integration as a durable solution has not been merely forgotten, but deliberately avoided at a national, regional and international level.


The Future is Now: Strengthening High-Quality, Inclusive and Innovative Hybrid Service Delivery by Cansu Ekmekcioglu, Renee Black, and Marco Campana, AMSSA, Canada. This report sets out an ambitious vision of a technology enabled and innovative settlement sector in Canada, where every newcomer is supported throughout their settlement journey with equitable, inclusive, and high-quality hybrid services.

Migration Governance Indicators Data and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: A Baseline Report, International Organization for Migration (IOM), May 5, 2022. This document analyses global, regional and thematic trends that emerge from MGI data concerning the general commitment and the range of associated actions for each of the 23 Global Compact for Migration objectives. The core of the document consists of 23 data bulletins displaying global and regional summary statistics of the answers to the MGI questions mapped against the respective Compact objectives.

Protection, Saving Lives, & Solutions for Refugees in Dangerous Journeys: Routes towards the Central & West Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic: UNHCR’s 2022-2023 Updated Risk Mitigation Strategy and 2022 Appeal, UNHCR, April, 2022. The number of victims who died, were reported missing or endured unspeakable violations of their human rights in 2021 bears witness to this very public and sustained tragedy, with no end in sight. Yet, public attention remains fixated on mixed movements by land from south to north. Much less attention was paid, and research done on the equally important south-to-south mixed movements, which present similar protection risks.

Trends in attitudes towards migration in Europe. A comparative analysis by Silke Goubin, Anna Ruelens, & Ides Nicaise, HIVA – Research Institute for Work and Society, 2022. This report investigates and discusses the changes in the perception of migrants and attitudes towards migration between 2002-2018 using the European Social Survey data. Both the evolution of migration perceptions within countries and the cross-national evolution across European countries are discussed and illustrated visually. Significant between-country differences emerged in Europe.

Honouring Canada’s Legacy in Afghanistan: Responding to the Humanitarian Crisis and Helping People Reach Safety, report of the Special Committee on Afghanistan, June 2022. The republic’s collapse unleashed shockwaves within Afghanistan and around the world. As the situation unravelled, many were rescued amid volatile and dangerous conditions. However, the final evacuation left behind people who had tried–with the coalition’s encouragement–to advance security, freedom, opportunity and dignity in their country. Within Afghanistan, there is now a tableau of vulnerability; millions of people are trying to avoid hunger, destitution, or retaliation.

Filling the Gap: Humanitarian Support and Alternative Pathways for Migrants on Columbia’s Edge by Rachel Schmidtke, Refugees International, June 17, 2022.  More migrants are taking immense risks to cross the Darién Gap, a dangerous 100 km stretch of dense jungle between Colombia and Panama. Refugees International visited Necoclí and Capurganá, Colombia—two critical junctions in the journey to cross the gap—to better understand humanitarian needs in the region.  

Hungry and unprotected children: The forgotten refugees by Natalia Korobkova, Michah Branaman & Delphine Valette, World Vision International, June 13 2022. In surveying refugee and internally displaced children in 2022, the authors looked at the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, as well as the emerging global hunger crisis and what it means for forcibly displaced girls and boys. The report brings attention to those refugees that the international community has left behind due to trending news. 

World report on the health of refugees and migrants, World Health Organization, 20 July 2022. A whole host of determinants influences health outcomes. However, refugees and migrants face additional determinants such as precarious legal status, discrimination, and financial barriers. This groundbreaking publication outlines current and future opportunities and challenges and provides several strategies to improve the health and well-being of refugees and migrants.

Joint Evaluation of the Protection of Rights of Refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic by Glyn Taylor and colleagues, COVID-19 Global Evaluation Coalition, July 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound and potentially lasting consequences for the rights of refugees. It has challenged the capacity and willingness of states to live up to their international responsibilities and obligations. Moreover, it is likely to continue to disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, especially those forcibly displaced from their homes. 

Paths of Assistance: Opportunities for Aid and Protection along the Thailand-Myanmar Border by Daniel Sullivan, Refugees International, July 12, 2022. At the Thai-Myanmar border, informal aid from local groups has become a vital lifeline for displaced communities. As the situation worsens inside Myanmar, the pathway is more critical than ever.

Retention of government-assisted refugees in designated destinations: Recent trends and the role of destination characteristics by Yasmin Gure & Feng Hou, Statistics Canada, July 27, 2022. Refugees resettled in Canada as part of the Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) Program are assigned to designated communities across the country. The study found that the overall rate of retention among GARs in designated destinations by the end of the first full year after landing has increased considerably. As the dispersion of refugees across Canada continues to be a key objective of the government’s resettlement strategy, it is imperative to understand and identify the factors that may facilitate refugees’ retention in their designated community.

2022 Global Refugee Work Rights Report, Refugee International, the Center for Global Development, Asylum Access, July 28, 2022. This groundbreaking new report documents the extent to which refugees and other forced migrants continue to face barriers in achieving equitable economic inclusion around the world. By highlighting the gap between the rights that refugees and forced migrants have in law and practice, this report demonstrates the need to focus on implementation.


The Human Rights Complexities of Migration in Africa by Cristiano d’Orsi, African Law Matters, June 23, 2022. This blog post reflects on how several African countries are distancing themselves from the traditional Eurocentric vision of human rights and how, sometimes, they contradict regional and sub-regional treaties concerning the rights of migrants. This last tension often occurs through the policy adopted by an African state’s government (or the relevant institutions). However, it is sometimes also revealed directly in the domestic law of a given country. 

Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2020 by Shana Conroy & Danielle Sutton, Statistics Canada, June 9, 2022. This article uses police-reported and court data to provide an overview of trends in human trafficking incidents, prior police contact among accused persons and the outcomes of cases that go through the court system. In addition, the infographic ‘Police-reported human trafficking in Canada, 2010-2020′ presents some recent trends in police-reported data on human trafficking. 

Grim options, grim choices: trafficked girls in India by Paula Banerjee, 360 Info, June 20, 2022. Poverty and abuse often mean Indian girls and women see human traffickers as their ticket to a better life – this only worsened during the pandemic. However, there is more to the story: Indian girls and women often have few rights and protections even before they are trafficked. As a result, experts say they frequently see trafficking as their way out of poverty and into a life of at least some agency. 

Risking death to cross the Bay of Bengal by Sucharita Sengupta, 360 Info, June 20, 2022. Death is likelier than ever for migrants who travel across the high seas. Cases of boats capsizing in the Bay of Bengal, continue to rise, and nations should ensure proper disembarkation and rescue operations. These are the key to protecting refugees and stateless people from discrimination, persecution, deprivation – and death. Statelessness is not a legal problem but a humanitarian crisis. 

Global statelessness crisis keeps growing by Samir Kumar Das, 360 Info, June 20, 2022. With refugee populations growing, the spotlight is intensifying on nations that cast out the stateless – people who do not have citizenship in any country. The problem with statelessness lies in its circularity: since the law of the land establishes the legality of statelessness, legal recourse on the part of a stateless person is impossible. 

Afghan crisis is a migration crisis by Mujib Ahmad Azizi, 360 Info, June 20, 2022. Afghanistan is facing a perfect storm of threats, and climate change is pushing it to a breaking point. Yet, the world seems unaware of the coming catastrophe. The issues of climate change, conflict and growing numbers of displaced people have been raised in many UN meetings. Several warnings have shown that these are interconnected problems, but the magnitude has not been considered. 

There’s no such thing as a climate refugee by Sanjay Chaturvedi, 360 Info, June 20, 2022. Billions of people are likely to be displaced by climate change. However, calling them ‘climate refugees’ oversimplifies the complex reasons people flee their homes. The author argues that the issue demands and deserves to be approached in conjunction with – and not divorced from — other forms of migration of this Anthropocene era, one characterized by unprecedented acceleration of human impact on the earth.

Why Are Refugees Returning to Ukraine? By Alice Hickson, Newlines Institute, September 1, 2022. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has recorded more than 10 million border crossings from Ukraine into neighbouring countries. However, recent border-crossing data has shown a steady increase of refugees back into the war-torn country, currently totalling 3 million. The trend represents concerning evidence that many Ukrainians would rather live in danger inside Ukraine than live the uncertain life of a refugee.

Why the expressive arts, led by teachers in schools, matter for refugee children by Susan Barber, The Conversation, September 11, 2022. Canada rapidly settled nearly 47,000 Syrians fleeing conflict in 2015 and intends to welcome 40,000 Afghan refugees. Canada has also put no limit on the Ukrainian refugees it will accept. However, there is a history of a lack of success in supporting refugees after their arrival, specifically in reducing mental health issues like trauma in children.


The Refuge Podcast [Episode 8]: Youth Involvement in Research & Community Programs. Child and Youth Refugee Research Coalition. This podcast brings together youth with refugee experience, academics, and community partners to discuss critical issues affecting refugee children, youth, and families in Canada and beyond. In addition, this episode discusses the importance of involving youth in research and community programs. This episode is of particular interest to researchers, community organizations, and service providers.

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