September 12, 2019: 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. 71

Recent Publications and New Research

Turner, Lewis (2019). Syrian refugee men as objects of humanitarian care, International Feminist Journal of Politics, online first, 1-22. Critical feminist scholars of conflict and displacement have demonstrated that “womenandchildren” have become an uncontroversial object of humanitarian concern in these contexts. Yet very little scholarly work has attempted to understand the position of refugee men as a demographic within humanitarianism. Through an analysis of the Syria refugee response in Jordan, this article investigates how humanitarian workers relate to refugee men and think about refugee masculinities. It argues that refugee men have an uncertain position as objects of humanitarian care. This research is based on ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative interviews with humanitarian workers and Syrian refugees, which was undertaken in Jordan in 2015–2016. Available with subscription at:

Schmidt, P. W. (2019). An Overview and Critique of US Immigration and Asylum Policies in the Trump Era. Journal on Migration and Human Security. This article provides an overview and critique of US immigration and asylum policies from the perspective of the author’s 46 years as a public servant. The article offers a taxonomy of the US immigration system by positing different categories of membership: full members of the “club” (US citizens), associate members (lawful permanent residents, refugees, and “asylees”), friends (nonimmigrants and holders of temporary status), and persons outside the club (the undocumented). It describes the legal framework that applies to these distinct populations and recent developments in federal law and policy that relate to them. It also identifies a series of cross-cutting issues that affect these populations, including immigrant detention, immigration court backlogs, state and local immigration policies, and constitutional rights that extend to noncitizens. It ends with a series of recommendations for reform of the US asylum system, and a short conclusion. The article is available in full at:  

White, B. T. (2018). Humans and animals in a refugee camp: Baquba, Iraq, 1918–20. Journal of Refugee Studies, 32(2), 216-236. When human populations are forcibly displaced, they often take animals with them—and, even if they are not accompanied by their own, animals often play an important role in their experience of displacement. This article uses a historical example—the Baquba refugee camp near Baghdad in the period 1918–20—to illustrate the multifaceted role of animals in structuring the experiences of refugees: their living spaces; their health; their economic and affective interactions; the way they were represented to a wider world; their relations with the surrounding population and landscape; and the plans made for them by the camp authorities. It is a history with many resonances in camps today, from the goat barns that are a distinctive architectural feature of Sahrawi camps in Algeria to the economic and cultural role of camels for the inhabitants of Dadaab, Kenya and beyond. The article is available in full at:

Catherine Baillie Abidi, Shiva Nourpanah (2019). Refugees & Forced Migration: A Canadian Perspective- An A-Z Guide, Nimbus Publishing. Based on years of close community and academic involvement in local, national, and international refugee affairs, Catherine Baillie Abidi and Shiva Nourpanah have created an accessible A-to-Z reference book focused on raising awareness on refugee and forced migration issues in Canada, with a specific focus on Atlantic Canada. Defining key concepts, from “asylum seeker” to “Generation Z,” this accessible guide is situated within a critical framework, acknowledging Canada’s complex immigration history. More information available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working papers

Factsheet: 10 facts about refugees, UNHCR Global trends (August 2019). Refugees, asylum-seekers and displacement have in recent years become a hot topic in the political and public debate. Nevertheless, the topic is surrounded by myths and, too often, lack of facts. In this infographic fact sheet, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, provides you with 10 important facts on refugees – for a fact-based discussion. Available at:

Congo, Forgotten: The Numbers Behind Africa’s Longest Humanitarian Crisis. Congo Research Group Center on International Cooperation, New York University, August 2019. The Kivu Security Tracker, a joint project of Human Rights Watch and the New York University-based Congo Research Group, logged more than 3,000 violent incidents by more than 130 armed groups. This 17-page report, used the results of the Tracker’s first two years to examine the general trends of conflict in North and South Kivu, the main factors contributing to the violence, and the broader challenges for peacekeeping efforts. Available at:

Beyond Survival: Rohingya Refugee Children in Bangladesh want to learn, UNICEF Advocacy Alert (August 2019). This report tracks that by June 2019, the overall education sector had provided non-formal education to 280,000 children aged 4 to 14. UNICEF and its partners have ensured access to learning for 192,000 of those children, enrolled in 2,167 learning centres. However, this leaves over 25,000 children who are not attending any learning programmes, and an additional 640 learning centres are needed. Further, 97 per cent of children aged 15 to 18 years are not attending any type of educational facility. the report says that without adequate opportunities for learning, adolescents can fall prey to traffickers who offer to smuggle desperate young Rohingya out of Bangladesh, and to drug dealers who operate in the area. Additionally, Women and girls face harassment and abuse especially at nighttime. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

Towards Gender Inclusivity in Cameroon’s Refugee Legislation: A Feminist Foreign Policy Perspective by Ayuk Nyakpo Orock, Refugee Law initiative Blog post (Aug 13, 2019). This blog post draws on particular aspects of feminist foreign policy (ffp) as a developing field in academic analysis to determine the level of gender inclusivity in Cameroon’s 2005 refugee and asylum legislation. It also argues for a dire need of gender mainstreaming into the Cameroon refugee policy. The first section assesses the gendered terminology in Cameroon Refugee Law and spotlights the impact of the lack of gender-sensitive focus in policy. Secondly, the blog post discusses the feminist foreign policy theoretical framework and how it is use to understand gender specificities in policy. Finally, a conclusion with recommendations on ways forward to enhance research in this field is proposed. Available at:

Dispatches from the global crisis in refugee protection: The Honeymoon between Syrian Refugees and the Erdogan Government Has Ended by Omar al-Muqdad, (August 7, 2019). Center for Migration Studies. The “Dispatches from the Global Crisis in Refugee Protection” series by Omar al-Muqdad covers the Syrian Civil War, the experiences of Syria’s immense and far-flung refugee population, the global crisis in refugee protection, religious persecution, and US refugee and immigration policies. In this blog, he discusses how Turkey has long boasted of providing safe haven to Syrians in their times of need and treating them as its guests, not as refugees. But today, the Turkish government is pursuing a different path and taking extreme measures against refugees, including deportation to war-torn areas in Syria. According to local activists, it has even handed over Syrian refugees to jihadist groups in Idleb province.  More details available at:

‘Jihadi Jack’ and the folly of revoking citizenship, by Audrey Macklin, The Conversation (August 20, 2019).  In this article Professor Audrey Macklin uses the case of the Islamic State recruit of Jack Letts  (also a Canadian citizen) who was as a consequence stripped off of his United Kingdom citizenship to showcase how “Claims that “citizenship is a privilege, not a right” or that the undeserving citizen forfeits citizenship by his actions is flimsy rhetoric intended to distract from the grubby opportunism that motivates citizenship revocation. Available at:

Digital and social media

Classroom resource: listening and refugee dialogue by Erin Goheen Glanville. This 10-minute video montage of research interview footage introduces people to a variety of perspectives on the importance of ‘listening’ for refugee dialogue. The video also relates more broadly to questions of justice and dialogue. This video has been produced as part of my SSHRC-funded knowledge mobilization project, “Digital Storytelling for Critical Dialogue on Refugees in Canada.” The larger aim is to produce creative digital narratives to support good dialogue in classrooms and communities. But creative outputs are still in production, so I am sending this raw footage out in the hopes that it might be useful to those teaching this fall. Available at: Listening in Refugee Dialogue

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