Daily Archives: Sunday, September 7, 2014

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  • “No lobby reacted with more hostility to Jewish refugees from Nazi-dominated Europe than did the medical profession, yet refugee physicians ultimately fared better than any other occupational group. The counter-campaign waged by a group of American doctors partly resolves this paradox. The National Committee for the Resettlement of Foreign Physicians helped immigrants pass licensing exams in the rapidly shrinking number of states that allowed them to take the tests, and to procure exemptions in the growing number of states that did not. It thus helped physicians to become the only refugees collectively to retain their professional status in their new country.

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    Holocaust Genocide Studies (Fall 2014) 28 (2): 181-239. doi: 10.1093/hgs/dcu030

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  • “While various studies have already shown that people prefer high- over low-skilled migrants, we know surprisingly little why this is so. This article tries to close this gap by investigating three explanatory models. (i) According to the labour market competition model, citizens oppose immigrants with the same skill levels who are perceived as competitors on the job market. (ii) According to the welfare state model, low-skilled immigrants’ use of public services is disproportionally higher than their contribution to tax revenues contrary to high-skilled immigrants. (iii) According to the deservingness model, high-skilled immigrants are preferred, as low-skilled immigrants are considered as lazy people who would be as well off as natives if they only tried harder. As one of the first studies outside the United States, these arguments are tested by means of an experimental online survey in Switzerland. Respondents were randomly assigned to evaluate low- and high-skilled immigrants. We find that different groups prefer high- over low-skilled immigrants for different reasons: While the labour market competition model does not play a role, the welfare state model only holds for natives who are well off in regions with low taxes. Finally, attitudes on deservingness explain preference of high-skilled immigrants only if the respondents have a high income. “


  • “This article presents a comparative examination of the educational underachievement of second-generation immigrants in Western Europe near the end of compulsory schooling, based on the 2006–2009 waves of the Programme for International Student Assessment survey. We propose a new measure of migrant educational penalty—revealing the relative position of immigrant students within the achievement distribution of natives with the same socio-economic background—and show that, in most countries, children of immigrants are substantially disadvantaged. We find that the severity of such penalties varies across countries in a way that can neither be reduced to compositional issues, nor equated to educational inequalities driven by socio-economic status. Based on a simple theoretical model of individual student achievement, we detect features of educational systems that might be specifically relevant for the relative disadvantage of immigrant students. By means of recursive partitioning methods, we explore the extent to which these features can explain the cross-country variability in migrant penalties. Our findings suggest that an early inclusion in the educational system may be beneficial for children of immigrants, as countries with high preschool attendance rates or early start of compulsory schooling display mild penalties. Finally, we find that another important institutional aspect is the degree to which second-generation immigrants are marginalized in low-quality schools, in stratified as well as comprehensive educational systems. “


  • “In humanitarian aid policy and practice, the importance of women’s participation is strongly emphasised. However, this article argues that women’s participation has become an instrument for optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian operations rather than a tool for the promotion of gender equality. Drawing on the Foucauldian concept of governmentality, the article examines how women’s participation is represented and employed as a means to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian aid in two refugee camp contexts, in Bangladesh and in Thailand, and asks how such strategies affect the gendered relations of power that shape women’s lives in the camps. Based on interviews with humanitarian workers, the analysis shows that programmes that promote women’s participation as a means for the achievement of other goals can reinforce existing gender inequalities, but also, despite their constraining effects, contribute to open up new opportunities for women. However, equality is treated as a side effect, not a goal in its own right. In conclusion, the article suggests that renewed engagement with the political project of feminism is needed to counter the de-politisation and instrumentalisation of gender in humanitarian aid, and bring the goals of equality and justice back in. “


  • “This article argues that enhanced understanding of the inter-war period in the development of the international refugee regime can contribute to current debates on the extent to which current practices of “burden-shifting” – in the form of the externalisation and securitisation of asylum – betray the regime’s humanitarian origins as expressed by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. It demonstrates, through archival research, that rather than being characterised by the humanitarian wish to relieve the plight of the displaced – a wish which, at times, fell victim to political/ideological manipulation – the development of the refugee regime was instead primarily concerned with burden-limiting, ethnic and racial harmony, and a technocratic approach to the “disposal” of refugees. This article concludes by suggesting that historical investigation of the development of the refugee regime can reveal the ways in which our “solutions” and how we measure their success are inseparable from our understanding of what the problem, and who the refugee, is – and that this understanding is perhaps not as simple as the traditional picture of a humanitarian concern for the protection of the displaced might suggest. It also emphasises the need to recognize the extent to which continued ahistorical reification of the refugee regime can entrench rather than “solve” the refugee problem. “


  • “Forced displacement generated by organized crime is a little-studied and poorly understood phenomenon. Based on field research carried out in 2013, this article redresses this situation by analysing the broad dynamics of an alarming new wave of forced displacement sweeping El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – the countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America – and Mexico. It focuses specifically on the role played by three of the main types of organized criminal groups in the region – mara street gangs, Central American drug transporters, and Mexican drug cartels – in provoking this displacement. Structural differences between these groups are shown to influence both the forms of displacement that they produce and the resulting patterns of movement by displaced persons. Consideration is then devoted to the implications for scholarship and humanitarian practice of this new wave of forced displacement generated by organized criminal groups. “


  • “This article explores the series of international protection policy initiatives by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2000 to 2013: Global Consultations, Agenda for Protection, Convention Plus, and the High Commissioner’s Dialogues. It shows how each initiative evolved and developed into another. It analyses the initiatives: how they began; what they have in common; and whether they met refugees’ needs. The analysis demonstrates that these form a single evolving initiative, establishing then following the Agenda for Protection and continuing with the High Commissioner’s Dialogues. These initiatives centred around annual June/July meetings which involved senior international protection staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and governmental representatives on the Standing Committee of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme. The Dialogues on international protection, with the possibility of future actions from them, are a continuing legacy. International protection policy initiatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees demonstrate that it has the capacity and the means to respond to the pressures of a volatile external environment and the wide-ranging needs of refugees while, at the same time, influencing the direction and shape of States’ responses to the plight of the world’s refugees and other persons of concern to the Refugee Agency. “


  • “The 2010 reform of the legal regime regulating Palestinians’ access to the labour market in Lebanon ignited a heated debate among Lebanese, Palestinians, and international political actors. This article analyses the advocacy initiatives preceding the reform to answer the following question: what signifiers of Palestinian-ness have Palestinian political entrepreneurs mobilised? In a nutshell, it shows how a group of non-governmental organizations working with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon re-shaped the references to “Return” and “Dignity” in order to create an intellectual environment favourable to their demands for legal reform. However, these two signifiers not only concern the issue of the work-related rights of Lebanon’s Palestinians, but they also envisage a specific form of emplacement of the Palestinian community in that country. From this perspective, they are the constitutive elements of a “diasporic project” of emplacement in which Palestinians collectively exist in an in-between (imagined) space situated somewhere between their host society and their homeland. “


  • “The spectacular arrival of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children at the southern frontier of the US over the last three years has provoked a frenzied response. President Obama calls the situation a “humanitarian crisis” on the US’s borders. News interviews with these vulnerable children appear almost daily in the global news media alongside official pronouncements by the US government on how it intends to stem this flow of migrants.

    But what is not yet recognised is that these children represent only the tip of the iceberg of a deeper new humanitarian crisis in the region. Of course, recent figures for unaccompanied children (UAC) arriving in the US from the three countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are alarming.”


  • “In this article, our ethnographic focus is a human trafficking “reality tour” of Thailand, a one-week tour of purported trafficking-related sites that the authors jointly attended. This tour was part of a growing number of trips around the world that offer alternatives to mass tourism, taking issues of social justice and humanitarian intervention as their focal orientation. As scholars with an interest in trafficking, labor exploitation, and sex workers’ rights, we chose to take not human trafficking itself, but rather the “reality tour” that claimed to represent it as our ethnographic object, to critically interrogate the reality of the “realities of the global trade in humans” that it endeavored to convey. What do commercially packaged “anti-trafficking” tours reveal about global panics around sexuality and sex work, as well as about the politics of tourism and development in Thailand? Transnationally, how does the notion of “NGOs as experts” interact with local expertise around trafficking, labor, and sex workers’ rights? And how do moral and political economies of authenticity circulate in the “reality tourist” experience? We situate our interrogation of these issues within the expanding literatures on tourism and authenticity as well as the critical literatures on sex tourism and sex trafficking, two terrains of scholarship that have infrequently been juxtaposed. “


  • “Since the publication in 1998 of Country of My Skull, Antjie Krog has established herself internationally as the foremost journalistic commentator on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). In this new book, Krog has collected together a number of published pieces written since Country of My Skull. Many readers will already have seen most of these, but anthologized together here they make clear why Krog is such an important interpreter of South Africa, to audiences both at home and abroad.

    The volume accurately reflects the preoccupations of Krog’s writing and provides an excellent introduction to the uninitiated reader. Included alongside versions of published texts are framing notes, and in some cases Krog has revised the texts in order to provide a context. Whereas readers new to her work are given a useful overview, readers familiar with her work will be surprised by the new perspectives provided in the way the material is presented. ”


  • “‘Those with the power to decide or even help tend to silence victims by not creating mechanisms through which they may receive justice or by silencing them even when they want to have access to such mechanisms because we have socially labelled their experiences as unspeakable or unbearable,’ concludes Usta Kaitesi, Principal of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Rwanda (p. 239).

    The language of this extract is representative of Kaitesi’s monograph, based on her PhD thesis in law at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights. She tackles a highly relevant topic but her style makes the text hard reading, even if her provocative hypothesis is spot on and the book is engaging. ‘Speaking about gender and sexual violence is not an easy task,’ Kaitesi rightly reminds us (p. 238). She suggests that rape as a constitutive element of Rwanda’s genocide was not addressed adequately in the legal, practical, or theoretical realms, thereby reducing the ‘complex reality’ of the genocide. ”


  • “International migration and its scientific examination have reached a crossroads. Today, migrants are pursuing opportunities in new destination societies with growing economies and different forms of governance from democratic states—transformations that complicate established understandings about national immigration models and their evolution. In light of these transformations, this article reviews the field of migration studies and its sketching of immigration patterns in the contemporary period. It critically examines existing systems of classification in a way that creates space for revised approaches. In doing so, this article identifies three key limitations with existing approaches. First, existing classifications largely focus on Western states, and especially traditional destination countries. Second, existing classifications are weakened by unclear or poorly defined indicators. Finally, even those classifications with improved indicators are hindered by approaches that examine admission and citizenship/settlement regimes independently of each other, ignoring a possible migration−integration policy nexus. “


  • “Article 1F(c) of the Refugee Convention provides that an individual is to be excluded from the benefits afforded by refugee status if ‘there are serious reasons for considering that … he has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations’. This phrase has proven difficult to interpret, not least because of the differing views on its meaning at the time of drafting, and the lack of another body of law to which article 1F(c) can attach. Accordingly, different states have found that different acts fall within the provision. This assessment is largely carried out on a case-by-case basis and in an unstructured manner. This article explores the acts that have been held to fall within article 1F(c) – primarily human rights violations, terrorism, and attacks on UN personnel – and critiques some of the thorny legal issues to which these acts have given rise. It then offers a framework for assessing whether a particular act falls within article 1F(c). “


  • “In July 2012, the French Court of Cassation held that undocumented immigrants cannot be placed in police custody simply for being in the country illegally. The Court’s judgments were preceded by a flurry of contradictory administrative measures and constitutional decisions. This confusion can be traced back to two landmark decisions handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the cases of El Dridi and Achughbabian, which both dealt with the EU Returns Directive. It is argued here that prohibiting the placement of undocumented aliens in police custody is the result of a unique interplay between French criminal law and European Union law. This relationship between the two systems of law has been placed under strain by the French court’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the CJEU’s decisions. In its interpretation, the Court of Cassation has contributed to the transformation of detention from an extraordinary measure of last resort into an ordinary tool for combating illegal immigration. Based on this argument, this article draws conclusions on the French judicial authorities’ balancing of individual rights and public interests in relation to aliens’ rights. “


  • “This article examines the paradoxes of neoliberalism through two migrant sex workers’ negotiation of the transnational disciplinary regimes of morality, national security, and humanitarianism. We take as our point of departure their active resistance to the label of “victims of sex trafficking.” From a close analysis of their migration journey and their experiences in the United States, we come to understand these women as defiant neoliberal subjects. We argue that global anti-trafficking initiatives as they have taken shape in the twenty-first century are part of neoliberal governance. The women’s sexual labor subjects them to the scrutiny and penalty of the state. Yet they see themselves as self-sufficient, self-responsible, and self-enterprising individuals. We locate these tensions within three paradoxes of neoliberalism: the apparent amorality of neoliberalism and its facilitation of a conservative moral agenda; the depoliticization of social risks and the hyperpoliticization of national security; and the continuous creation and ravaging of vulnerable populations coupled with the celebration of humanitarian/philanthropic responses from governmental and NGO sectors. Juxtaposing these women’s self-making projects with the transnational state apparatus to combat “sex trafficking,” we gain insights into how individual pursuits and state practices intersect at this neoliberal moment—despite their different purposes. “


  • “This article is about the lives of Nigerian sex workers after deportation from Europe, as well as the institutions that intervene in their migration trajectories. In Europe, some of these women’s situations fit the legal definitions of trafficking, and they were categorized as “victims of human trafficking”; others were categorized as undocumented migrants—“criminals” guilty of violating immigration laws. Despite the growing political attention devoted to protecting victims of trafficking, I argue that in areas of Nigeria prone to economic insecurity and gender-based violence, the categories of “victim” and “criminal” collapse into, and begin to resemble, one another once on the ground. The need to identify and distinguish groups of migrants from one another illustrates the dilemmas that have arisen in the wake of increasingly restrictive European immigration policies. Furthermore, the return processes create a hierarchical structure in which the violence women experience in the sex industry in Europe is imagined to be worse than the everyday violence they experience at home. “


  • “The United Nations Human Rights Committee has been praised as one of the most influential human rights bodies in the world; however, its track record for the protection of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons has not yet been comprehensively or systematically examined. Individuals in many parts of the world face severe human rights violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In many countries, men caught engaging in homosexual conduct can be imprisoned or even sentenced to death, and LGBT people are still subjected to widespread violence and legally sanctioned discrimination on a daily basis. This article critically analyses the work of the Human Rights Committee over a ten-year period to determine what it has done to protect the rights of sexual minorities, and whether there is more it could do to enhance this protection of the LGBT rights. An examination of the Committee’s concluding observations, General Comments and Views in individual communications, reveals that while progress is being made by this body of experts, there is still room for a greater emphasis on the distinct challenges facing LGBT communities for the complete fulfilment of the norms of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “


  • “This article interrogates a Dutch jeopardy style TV show, Weg van Nederland, featuring young, well-educated asylum seekers about to be deported. The TV program, devised in collaboration with the advocacy group ‘Defense for Children,’ performed the paradoxes resulting from the ‘inclusive exclusion’ of asylum seekers. Yet, its strategy of inscribing the contestants into the space of citizenship by highlighting their ‘rootedness’ through the quiz format also lent support to the exclusivist, essentialist understanding of national belonging that is produced in contemporary Dutch citizenship and integration law. Moreover, the show’s focus on successful, thoroughly integrated and career driven young adults, while pragmatic from the perspective of the show’s (limited) political objectives, also reproduced the preferred template of neoliberal citizenship, which drives the European migration regime and its policy of selective in/exclusion. These contradictions expose the possibilities, as well as the limitations, of humanitarian appeals working within the contemporary media regime, including reality TV, which imposes its own generic terms (and ideological inflections) on the justice claims launched within its public arena.”


  • “Research on the exclusionary nature of citizenship has concentrated on the state as the agent who defines the limits of citizenship, framing it as a legal status. Exclusionary discourses and practices resulting from everyday notions of ‘good citizenship’ have received less attention. A stronger focus on these can contribute to our understanding of the relationship between citizenship and exclusion by highlighting exclusion through citizenship. In other words, it emphasises the ways in which practices and discourses of ‘good citizenship’ simultaneously produce its limits, consisting of practices and discourses which are considered ‘not civic’. In this sense, exclusion happens because of, rather than in spite of, citizenship. The article examines notions of civic deliberation among Peruvian bloggers, arguing that these included clear limits, which, if violated, allowed for exclusion.”


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