Monthly Archives: November 2013

Call for papers final reminder: Refugee Voices

Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford REFUGEE VOICES CONFERENCE

Call for papers – Deadline: 30 November

Submit online:

The Refugee Studies Centre International Conference will explore the voices and aesthetic expressions of those dispossessed, displaced and marginalised by the pre-eminence of the nation state.

The Conference will bring together scholars from across the social sciences and researchers in cultural studies, literature and the humanities to look beyond the nation state and international relations in order to give new attention to the voices and aspirations of refugees and other forced migrants themselves. Among the themes to be explored are historical and cultural sources and meanings of flight, exile and forced migration, as well as the significance of encampment, enclosures and forced settlement.

Conference papers are sought which recognise and investigate unheard voices of forced migrants who exhibit adaptability, resilience and resistance in the ‘grey zones’ and borderlands between states and state bureaucracies.

Most academic disciplines, including refugee studies, and humanitarian practices adopt the nation-state’s perspective in their approach to forced migrants. People must be tied to territory, and thus humanitarian practices are frequently about re-settlement either in the state of origin, the state of current emplacement or a third nation-state. However, the current realities of displacement situations do not support either current forced migration theory or most humanitarian aid practices, and an epistemological change in thinking about forced migrants, exiles and refugees is urgently required.

Some of the questions which might be addressed at the Conference include: Under what circumstances do refugees, exiles and forced migrants leave a nation state that is collapsing? How do they cope with existence outside the nation state? How are resilience and resistance to the ‘bare life’ of the refugee and exile expressed across different refugee experiences? What mechanisms and mediums are used to express loss, perseverance and hope? How do they perceive their futures and manipulate existing systems outside the nation state to achieve their goals of dignity, justice and freedom (i.e. well-being)?

Abstracts are sought which investigate, among others, the following modes of expression:

– Cultural expression: e.g. aesthetic expression through art, music, literature, story-telling; contextualising our understanding of refugee experiences.

– Socio-Legal and Political expression: e.g. refugees’ preferences not to be put in camps (Syria), or their preferences for durable solutions (e.g. when should repatriation happen for refugees from Burma).

– Methodological/Ethical expression: e.g. the crucial role that refugees play in facilitating academic work (as translators, research assistants – but rarely as authors/academics); explorations of methodological concerns and research ethics such as that raised by ‘second-hand’ ethnography.

– Meanings of voice: e.g. the need not only for articulation but also for dialogue/conversation; the difference between having voice and being heard – soliciting refugees’ voices is one dimension but genuinely listening to what those voices say is a much deeper phenomenological process.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted by 30th November 2013. Authors of abstracts which are selected to proceed to full papers will have until 28 February 2014 to submit their final drafts. The conference organisers intend to edit and publish a selection of papers in special issues of leading journals. An interest in having a paper published should be indicated at the time of submission of the abstract. Other initiatives to share the outcomes of the conference papers and events with those whose voices have been sought will also be developed.


New Book: The Making of the Modern Refugee by Peter Gatrell

Oxford University Press has just published the new book by Professor Peter Gatrell and entitled, “The Making of the Modern Refugee.” Further detailed below.

From the Oxford University Press:


  • Provides the first comprehensive history of global population displacement in the twentieth century
  • Locates refugees in historical and political context, drawing attention to the stance adopted by governments, NGOs, international organisations and relief workers
  • Demonstrates the ways in which refugees have been represented culturally by means of photography, film, and other media
  • Establishes the trajectories followed by refugees and the meanings they ascribed to their displacement across time and place

The Making of the Modern Refugee is a comprehensive history of global population displacement in the twentieth century. It takes a new approach to the subject, exploring its causes, consequences, and meanings. History, the author shows, provides important clues to understanding how the idea of refugees as a ‘problem’ embedded itself in the minds of policy-makers and the public, and poses a series of fundamental questions about the nature of enforced migration and how it has shaped society throughout the twentieth century across a broad geographical area – from Europe and the Middle East to South Asia, South-East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Wars, revolutions, and state formation are invoked as the main causal explanations of displacement, and are considered alongside the emergence of a twentieth-century refugee regime linking governmental practices, professional expertise, and humanitarian relief efforts.

This new study rests upon scholarship from several disciplines and draws extensively upon oral testimony, eye-witness accounts, and film, as well as unpublished source material in the archives of governments, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations. The Making of the Modern Refugee explores the significance that refugees attached to the places they left behind, to their journeys, and to their destinations – in short, how refugees helped to interpret and fashion their own history.



New Publication: Recognising Victims of Torture in National Asylum Procedures

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) has just published a new report entitled, “Recognising Victims of Torture in National Asylum Procedures.”

The following information is taken from the press release accompanying the launch of the report:

The majority of asylum-receiving countries do not have the appropriate systems in place to identify victims of torture.


This is according to a new report by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), which conducted an 18-country overview of asylum systems in Europe, North America and the Pacific.


The countries considered in the report are: Bulgaria; Croatia; Finland; France; Germany; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; Sweden; Armenia; Kosovo; Moldova; Turkey; Canada; USA; Australia; New Zealand.


What does it mean to not be identified as a victim of torture? Asylum-seekers, who have survived torture and trauma and requested protection, may instead find themselves detained and re-traumatised, deported through “accelerated procedures” at the airport, or have the submitted medico-legal evidence of torture misread or ignored by immigration officials.


“While these may be the worst-case scenarios, our research found that many developed countries still do not have the proper policies in place to ensure that victims of torture are not re-traumatised by the asylum process, or are deported back to the country where they were tortured,” said Rachel Towers, Legal Advisor at the IRCT and author of the report.

Key findings of the 18 represented countries in the report include:



  • Fourteen countries (Armenia, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Moldova, Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand) have no legislation in place determining who is in charge of identifying victims of torture;
  • While medico-legal reports, a physical and psychological assessment of torture allegations conducted by an expert, are the best form of evidence in asylum cases, only three countries (Kosovo, Moldova and the Netherlands) mention them in the law;
  • In eight countries (Germany, Finland, Ireland, USA, Moldova, France, Turley and Canada), victims of torture may be expected to bear the costs of producing a medico-legal report, which costs on average 800 EUR.



The IRCT calls on state authorities to put policies in place to ensure the early identification of victims of torture in their asylum systems.


Early identification and proper documentation of torture allegations must be complemented by access to appropriate and holistic rehabilitation to which they have a right. These elements are essential for the individual to integrate into, and contribute to, the host society.


Taken from:  Majority of asylum-receiving countries do not have appropriate systems to identify victims of torture, 12-11-2013.


 Download the full report Recognising victims of torture in national asylum procedures.


Events: Undocumented workers, ethnic enclaves and networks conference, 6th December

Source: Forced Migration Discussion List.

Undocumented Migrants, Ethnic Enclaves and Networks: Opportunities, traps or class-based constructs

Registration deadline: 15 November 2013 (Email: Registration is free but places are limited


End of project conference

The Graduate Centre, London Metropolitan University, N7 8DB

9:30 AM to 6 PM, 6th December 2013

UndocNet, a two-year project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will be holding its end of research project conference in London on Friday 6 December 2013. UndocNet has been exploring the labour market experiences and aspirations of 55 irregular migrants in London from three countries of origin – Bangladesh, China and Turkey (including Kurds) – and 24 minority ethnic entrepreneurs employing people from these three groups. The context of the research has been the economic downturn, increasingly restrictive immigration controls, raids on businesses suspected of employing people without correct documentation and the deportation of irregular migrants. Within this contemporary context the project has been concerned with understanding decisions to use or not to use social capital in the form of co-ethnic networks in the search for work and for workers, in or out of ethnic enclaves, from the perspectives of workers and their employers. The research has investigated the ways in which migrants and their employers use their social networks and other resources in relation to work and the ways in which working relationships operate within frameworks of ethnicity, class and gender (

Findings from the conference will be presented by the research team:

Professor Alice Bloch,University of Manchester

Professor Sonia McKay, London Metropolitan University

Dr Leena Kumarappan, London Metropolitan University

Plenary lectures:

Professor Bernard Ryan, Law School, University of Leicester: Irregular Migrants: Legal Dilemmas Dr Hannah Lewis, School of Geography, University of Leeds: The increasingly hostile environment: discomfort as a policy goal Professor Louise Ryan, Social Policy Research Centre, Middlesex University: Making Connections: re-appraising social networks, family and social capital Professor Bridget Anderson, COMPAS, University of Oxford: “Illegal immigrants are not criminals!” Aren’t they?

PAPER PRESENTATIONS IN THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON All welcome to a drinks reception after the conference



RSC Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture: Professor Yakin Ertürk, 20 November



Refugee rights: beyond the 1951 Convention

Time: 5pm, Wednesday 20 November

Venue: Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW


The Refugee Studies Centre is honoured that Professor Yakin Ertürk, former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and now a member of the Council of Europe, Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), will deliver the 2013 Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture, taking place on 20 November in Oxford. Professor Ertürk will be speaking on the role of UN mandates in the protection of the human rights of refugees.


Yakin Ertürk (Turkey) received a PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University in 1980. She served as a faculty member at the Department of Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, from September 1986 to October 2010.

In addition to her academic career, she has worked for various national and international agencies on rural development and women in development, and she has provided training to public and civil actors on human rights and development issues.

Professor Ertürk has also undertaken numerous international assignments, including as:

  • Director of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Oct 1997-Feb 1999);
  • Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), UN Headquarters, New York (Mar 1999-Oct 2001);
  • UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (SRVAW) (2003-2006);
  • member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the Events in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 (Oct 2010-April 2011);
  • member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (Sept 2011-Mar 2012).

In her capacity as the SRVAW, she undertook 17 country visits at the invitation of the governments concerned. Since November 2009, Yakin Ertürk has been serving on the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).


For any enquiries, please contact:

Refugee Studies Centre
Oxford Department of International Development
3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB


Events: Book launch: Enduring Violence: Everyday life and conflict in eastern Sri Lanka

Source: Forced Migration Discussion List.


Enduring Violence: Everyday life and conflict in eastern Sri Lanka by Rebecca Walker

Date: Thursday, 14th November

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Venue: Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA), 36 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein

(opposite Senate House, corner Henri and Jorissen)


Prof Dilip Menon (Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, CISA)

Adele Kirsten  (Gun Free South Africa)

Richard Smith (Action Support Centre)

RSVP: Reshmi Singh 011 717 4020


 Located in the war-torn eastern province of Sri Lanka, this book provides a rich ethnography of how Tamilspeaking communities in Batticaloa live through and make sense of a violence that shapes everyday life itself. The core of the book comes from the author’s two-year close interaction with a group of (mainly women) human rights activists in the area. The book describes how the activists work in clandestine, informal ways to support families whose loved ones have been threatened, disappeared or killed and how they build networks of trust within the context of everyday violence. As Sri Lanka faces up to the enormity of the task of ‘post-war reconciliation’, this book aims to create a wider conversation about grief, resistance and healing in the context of violence and its long afterlife.

Courses: Northwestern Forced Migration Summer Institute 2014: Refugee Status Determination Process

Source: Forced Migration Discussion List.

Center for Forced Migration Studies’ Summer Institute: “The Refugee Status Determination Process”, June 1-7, 2014

Register here:

The CFMS Summer Institute is an intensive, rigorous seven-day, non-degree earning certificate program. Through lectures, focused discussions, workshops, films and simulation exercises, the CFMS Summer Institute, held at Northwestern University’s campus in Evanston, IL, provides a forum to exchange ideas, build relationships, develop new approaches and policy recommendations and learn about new developments in the field. Past participants have included government officials, non-governmental organization personnel, university faculty and graduate students (select advanced undergraduate students may seek permission to attend). Applicants must have good to excellent English speaking and reading skills. No translation services are available.

The 2014 Summer Institute on The Refugee Status Determination Process introduces participants to the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol refugee regime, the international legal basis for refugee status and the variations in how UNHCR and authorities in differentcountries determine whether an asylum-seeker is eligible for refugee status, with a particular focus on the United States. It provides students with lectures and workshops focused on decision making and analytical skills, legal writing, research, and procedural issues, case preparation including takingtestimony, evidence documentation, working with victims of trauma and with issues of credibility and includes a focus on special topics such as LGBTI and gang-related asylum claims and cases involving unaccompanied minors. The training materials consist of training modules that include case studies, accompanying memoranda, procedures manuals, precedent Board of Immigration Appeals decisions, federal court decisions, and other documents.  The attached table of contents lists the specific topics that constitute the course and training materials provided on each topic.

Faculty include: Barbara Harrell-Bond, (University of Oxford); Michael Kagan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas); Uzoamaka Nzliebe (Northwestern University); Miriam Marton (University of Connecticut); Rachel Levitan (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society); Sioban Albiol (DePaul University) and representatives from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Division

Summer Institute Director:  Galya Ruffer, CFMS Founding Director.

The 2014 Summer Institute is targeted at UNHCR staff, government employees, practicing attorneys, NGO refugee case workers, academics, law students and other graduate students seeking to expand their knowledge of critical elements of the refugee status determination process.

CLE-eligible based on state approval for 37.5credits, 1.5 of which are ethics)

Read the full schedule for the 2014 Summer Institute:

Institute Fees:

Registration – $800 (Does not include meals or housing)

Late Registration – $1,000 (After May 2)

**Limited Scholarships andpartial tuition assistance are available** Please contact for more information.

Visa Applicants: Contact the US embassy nearest you for visa application

Do you think you might need a visa? See:


The Institute will be held on the Northwestern University Campus in Evanston, IL. A limited number of homestays are available upon request and as well as a dormitory option. There are also several hotels in Evanston and the surrounding area. Please direct accommodation related questions to