Daily Archives: Friday, October 9, 2015

UN Security Council to Vote Today, 8 October, on Resolution Authorising EU to Inspect and Seize Vessels on High Seas Suspected of Engaging in Smuggling or Trafficking of Persons

MIGRANTS AT SEA

From What’s in Blue: The Security Council “is expected to vote [on 8 Oct. 2015] on a resolution aimed at disrupting human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants on the high seas off the coast of Libya. …

The draft resolution authorises member states, acting nationally or through regional organisations, to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya that they have reasonable grounds to suspect are being used for migrant smuggling or human trafficking. Furthermore, the draft authorises member states to seize vessels if there is confirmation that they are being used for migrant smuggling or human trafficking from Libya. These authorisations are for a period of one year from the date of the adoption, and the draft stresses how these are given in exceptional and specific circumstances. …

It seems that the two most divisive issues during negotiations related to references to Chapter VII…

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Daily News and Updates on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies 10/09/2015

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Daily News and Updates from ReliefWeb 10/09/2015

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New Journal Research Articles for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies 10/09/2015

  • The meanings of early modern veiling in western European societies have been manifold, contradictory and changing over time. This article analyses the recodification of the covering of women from the Reformation to the Enlightenment, discussing and juxtaposing rich visual material, normative regulations and court cases. It thereby demonstrates how concealing and uncovering has been deeply entangled in the history of the West. Early modern costume books demonstrate the potential of the veil to map locally specific cultural differences manifested in dress. Veiled women could stand for propriety, yet veils might also be read as a sign of lust, disorder and seduction. Case studies of Reformation Basel and Zürich develop these broader findings in detail. They show not only that the veil provided a screen onto which could be projected strangeness and danger, but also how in practice it marked women as respectable or dishonourable, rich or poor, married or unwed. Furthermore, it was read as an index of morality and gained much attention in a fashion policy critical of luxury. The veil was thus central to an identity politics preoccupied with social ordering, moral standards, and also fashion.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • This article draws upon grey literature and archival materials to compare and contrast refugee livelihoods assistance in the interwar period (1919–39) and the post-war period (1945–79). It argues that the interwar period featured ‘bottom-up’ policies and practices of the League of Nations, while the post-war period was characterized by technocratic, authoritarian approaches to refugee livelihoods and development by institutions such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Refugee livelihoods were incorporated and accommodated for as a central element of League relief efforts before World War II, but the implementation of similar assistance practices in the following period excluded refugees’ own livelihoods strategies and skills. The article concludes by discussing the relevance of further historical research in Refugee Studies as the current use of the term ‘innovation’ is ahistorical, and many contemporary livelihood practices operating under the auspices of ‘innovation’ have in reality been employed since the beginning of the international refugee regime.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • In the 2000s, the government of Burundi and the United Nations created villages to permanently reintegrate over 5,000 uprooted families. Most of these ‘Peace Villages’ soon became areas of socio-economic instability. The dominant narrative blames inefficient aid coordination, while returnees deplore their marginalization in the process and in local communities. The idea of villages epitomizing ‘development’, economic interests in building villages and the rhetoric of Burundi as a successful peace-building story may explain why villagization kept being presented as a solution. Above all, the problem is conceptual: the Peace Villages programmes (i) mixed up the causes and consequences of sustainable economic development and reintegration and (ii) recognized land as identity-giving but mistakenly assumed that it would also provide for the livelihood of the returnees. Durable solutions for uprooted returnees need to allow them agency in their own reintegration process, capitalize on their socio-economic skills, and engage with local communities and development initiatives.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • The aim of this study was to examine contraception awareness and use among African Australian women in Melbourne, Australia, who have experienced teenage pregnancy, and to explore the social contexts that shape these women’s attitudes towards contraception. Among young immigrant and refugee women living in sites of settlement, knowledge and use of contraception are a public health concern. The study used a qualitative research approach and was informed by anthropology, public health and human rights frameworks. Between June 2009 and November 2010, in-depth interviews were conducted in Melbourne, Australia, with 16 African Australian teenagers and women who had experienced teenage pregnancy. In addition, two focus group discussions were held with service providers and African women and five key informant interviews were conducted. Data were transcribed verbatim, coded, and key themes identified and analysed using thematic analysis. The findings revealed that attitudes towards and use of contraception are influenced by parental sexual health literacy and attitudes, gender roles and culturally informed attitudes around motherhood. Service providers should consider the value of whole-of-family and community approaches in order to improve knowledge and decision-making around contraception among young African Australian women.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • Extant research has discussed visibility and the affordances of new technologies for the strategic self-representation of migrants. This study introduces becoming as a way of understanding how forced migrants manoeuvre their lives under conditions of physical and social arrest. Becoming is a process through which people shift between different moments and ways of being and relating while responding to historical, sociopolitical and economic realities and moving towards new ways of acting in the world. New technologies play a role in this process. Based on three years of fieldwork with people seeking asylum in Germany, the article discusses how people became perceptible and imperceptible through technologically mediated sociality in the form of self-presentation, co-presence and political mobilization. The article concludes that virtual practice enables ways of knowing and relating for forced migrants that challenge concepts of border through information sharing, transnational grouping and political learning.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • Election-related violence, because it is meant to coerce voters, may have an adverse effect on individual attitudes towards elections—and towards democracy in general. Victims of election violence may come to associate voting with conflict, which may in turn translate into lower levels of support for democratic processes and an unwillingness to participate in future elections. This may be especially true when repeated instances of electoral violence take place, as has been the case in Kenya. To explore the possible relationship between electoral violence and democratic alienation, interviews were conducted in two internally displaced person (IDP) camps in Kenya: one which housed primarily government supporters and one which housed primarily opposition supporters. Among interviewees—all of whom were victims of past electoral violence—there were pronounced differences in stated willingness to vote in future elections. These differences depended on the individual’s perception of freeness and fairness of elections and whether the individual’s candidate or party of choice won or lost. Additionally, as ethnicity is an important factor in vote choice and partisan support, this translates into stark differences between ethnic groups. These findings suggest that electoral violence may have an uneven effect on democratic attitudes and participation.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • Refugees are increasingly migrating to urban areas, but little research has been conducted to compare health and wellbeing outcomes of urban refugees with those based in camps. This analytic cross-sectional study investigated differences in health-related quality of life (QoL) for urban and camp-based refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, and assessed the influences of both the environment and the perceived environment on refugees’ health-related QoL using the World Health Organization’s Quality of Life scale (WHOQOL-BREF.) Data for urban refugees were drawn from an administrative database used by an international agency that serves refugee populations in South Africa. Data for camp-based refugees were collected via surveys conducted at two refugee camps in sub-Saharan Africa. Refugees in urban environments reported significantly higher satisfaction with overall health, physical health and environmental wellbeing than refugees placed in camps. In multivariate analyses, urban environments were associated with better physical health for refugees, compared to camp environments. In addition, refugees’ perceptions of their environment, particularly feeling safe in daily life and in the home environment, as well as being satisfied with living conditions, were more strongly associated with physical health than the environment itself, whether urban or camp-based.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • The refugee journey is the defining feature of the exilic process: it is a profoundly formative and transformative experience and a ‘lens’ on the newcomers’ social condition. Yet it remains a significantly under-researched theme in refugee and forced migration studies. This exploratory article maps what exists, what is missing, and what might be researched regarding these journeys. Commencing with a review of the fragmented nature of the research and its limited analytical scope, the article then reviews BenEzer’s definitive work. The core of the article explores the potential value and contribution of the study of journeys in terms of: better understanding the profoundly formative experience of the journey; giving voice to the refugees’ unique experiences; and better informing policy from a fuller understanding of the journey experience. The article presents four conceptual challenges in studying the refugee journey and the final section proceeds to discuss some of the methodological questions related to research of journeys.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • Several Member States of the European Union in Southeastern Europe have experienced increased pressure on their asylum systems after they joined the Union. The latest member of the European Union, Croatia, has received lower numbers of asylum-seekers than most other countries in Southeastern Europe. This article explores migrants assessments of the benefits of arriving, staying, and leaving the country and indicates the push and pull factors that generate asylum migration through the region. It is maintained that Croatia is not preferred as a transit or as a destination country by asylum-seekers. It is argued that migrants end up in Croatia due to circumstances beyond their control and become reluctant asylum-seekers who feel trapped in the country and aspire to leave. However, the tension between aspirations to continue the journey and restricted opportunities to translate this into practice seems to be the central element of the migration–asylum nexus. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with asylum-seekers in Croatia with the aim of exploring their migration trajectories, assessments, and aspirations. The article contributes to debates on asylum-seekers in Croatia by including the migrant perspective, which has been missing in studies on asylum migration in the region. It is also relevant for general debates about asylum migration in the periphery of the European asylum system.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • In a context of uncertainty about the intentions of the Thai authorities, this article explores the opportunity to proceed with the repatriation of the Burmese refugees living in the camps along the border with Myanmar, based on a number of shifts in the current political environment. It is argued in this regard that the situation in Myanmar has not yet improved enough to justify the return of Burmese refugees on the basis of a “fundamental change of circumstances” in the country of origin. As repatriation alone will not be sufficient to close the camps in Thailand, this article discusses the importance of resorting to a “combination” of the three traditional durable solutions to refugee problems, including resettlement and local integration. Special consideration should also be given to what is sometimes referred to as the “4th solution” to the plight of refugees and displaced persons, that is, the regularization of their status as migrants within the country of asylum.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • This article explores the ways in which a place-based perspective that emphasizes the interconnectedness of physical environments and social worlds contributes to an understanding of some of the complex ways that refugees integrate into and resist their new environments post-relocation. Qualitative methodology, based on participant observation techniques and in-depth interviews, was employed to examine the agricultural experiences of 30 refugees living in Salt Lake City, Utah. All research participants were recruited through their participation in a local urban farming programme for refugees. Seventeen of these individuals – from Burundi, Sudan, Bhutan, the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, and Cuba – consented to participation in the in-depth interviewing stage of the project. This article examines the role of farming activities in the place-making processes of participants, and the ways in which these farming activities represent assimilation and resistance post-transition. Based on research participants’ accounts, the article presents conclusions about the material and emotional benefits of continuing access to agricultural activities for refugees with agrarian backgrounds.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • This article examines how issues related to internally displaced persons are integrated into comprehensive peace accords. The question being asked is twofold: Does the inclusion of internally displaced persons issues increase the likelihood for a peace accord’s success? Does the inclusion of internally displaced persons issues into a peace accord increase the likelihood that these issues will be resolved? Using data from the Peace Accord Matrix, this research finds that the inclusion of internally displaced persons issues within an accord does indeed increase its likelihood for success. However, there is less evidence to suggest that the inclusion of such provisions actually leads to the successful resolution of internally displaced persons issues. The article further investigates this issue by examining cases in which a country has pursued internally displaced persons legislation prior to the signing of the final peace accord and finds evidence to suggest that when internally displaced persons issues are addressed outside the parameters of the peace negotiation there is a higher likelihood for success. The implications of these findings are discussed.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • This article discusses the benefits of a gendered human security perspective on the issue of humanitarian action in internally displaced person (IDP) and refugee protection. It argues that a thorough analysis along the human security dimensions (economic, food, health, environment, personal, community, and political) strengthens our understanding of the gender dimension in the context of forced displacement. Based on an analysis of guidelines and humanitarian policy documents in the area of IDP and refugee protection, it shows that understanding not only gender specific needs but also the underlying gender relations is of importance, as these relations can be altered during displacement or as a consequence of humanitarian interventions. Moreover, the intersection of gender with other indicators creating vulnerability and insecurity (such as age, sexuality, race, religion, class and ethnicity) need to be addressed. This requires the collection of disaggregated data and a structural gender-sensitive analysis of the multilayered human security situation on the ground.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (‘Convention’) recognizes as refugees those who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted on the basis of inter alia ‘political opinion’, are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of their home country.

    State practice acknowledges that protection based on ‘political opinion’ should not be limited to those individuals at risk by reason of their views about partisan politics. Beyond this, the absence of an authoritative definition of ‘political opinion’ in either the Convention or international law more generally has allowed interpretive inconsistencies to emerge, both within and among jurisdictions. Further complicating the search for a consistent approach is a lack of clarity about how best to ensure that the social and political context of the country of origin is meaningfully taken into account in assessing the existence of a ‘political opinion’.

    With a view to promoting a shared understanding of the proper interpretation of ‘political opinion’ within the context of Article 1(A)(2) of the Convention, we have engaged in sustained collaborative study and reflection on relevant norms and state practice. Our research was debated and refined at the Seventh Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law, convened in March 2015 by the University of Michigan’s Program in Refugee and Asylum Law. These Guidelines are the product of that endeavor, …

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • In spite of the omission of sexual orientation as a ground for persecution under the 1951 Refugee Convention, there is now widespread acceptance of sexuality based claims in most western countries. UNHCR has continued to develop policy and guidance to promote a rights based approach in protecting same-sex oriented refugees. In its most recent guidelines on claims to refugee status based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, UNHCR recognizes that the convention grounds of religion, political opinion, and membership of a particular social group may be relevant in deciding claims based on sexual orientation. However, of these convention grounds, membership of a particular social group has emerged as the most utilized ground in dealing with same-sex oriented refugees. Nonetheless, there is no uniform definition of what constitutes a particular social group, as countries such as the USA and Australia have reached different definitions. It is partly against this backdrop that this article considers the Convention grounds of religion and political opinion for assessing refugee cases based on sexual orientation, to determine whether they might be helpful and may have a crucial role to play in the assessment of such cases.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • Since the 1951 Convention, there has been a proliferation of non-entrée policies adopted by European states to regulate unanticipated migration flows. The policies of returning asylum seekers to the first country of entry under the Dublin System and intercepting migrants in the high seas potentially constitute indirect refoulement, creating a gap in legal protection. This paper investigates the role of UNHCR’s supervisory mandate in addressing the need for protection from indirect refoulement. The main purpose of supervision is to promote state compliance with international standards of refugee protection. This paper shows that among the methods employed by UNHCR to execute its supervisory mandate, the most effective means of securing protection from indirect refoulement is by assisting international bodies with stronger enforcement mechanisms. This is due to the relative weakness of the UNHCR mandate in the area of standard setting and enforcement.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • Portugal’s migration history has been extensively explored in academic literature, including in legal scholarship. Yet, very little attention has so far been directed towards Portuguese refugee law. This may be due to the relatively low number of asylum seekers that Portugal receives, but that does not justify neglecting the study of the Portuguese socio-legal framework applicable to asylum seekers and refugees. This article addresses this gap by analyzing the framework in a European context, enhancing the analysis with a case study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) asylum seekers. The analysis explores the evolution of the current legal framework, the procedures and remedies available to asylum seekers, the substantive standards applied in decision making, and the broader socio-legal resources offered to asylum seekers. Several shortcomings and possible avenues of improvement are also identified.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • This paper utilizes Institutional Ethnography, a feminist research method, to examine the impact of immigration policies on the professional aspirations and career trajectory of wives of international students. The research process included interviews with thirtytwo wives who came to the US on a F-2 visa, along with analysis of immigration policies. Immigration regulations, which prohibit wives from accessing educational and employment opportunities, are reported to be a significant problem. F-2 wives not only confront the loss of professional identity but also irreparable damage to their long-term career prospects. The opaque organization of immigration regulations makes it very difficult for them to make an informed decision about the consequences of moving to the United States. The findings of this study contribute to the growing body of feminist research on how the migration practices of the US state contain hidden gender biases.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • In its early efforts to create a migration regime, the EU passed the 2003 Directive on the Right to Family Reunification. This directive has long been considered controversial, in part because of the directive’s treatment of migrant women. In 2011, the EU published a Green Paper on the right to family reunification as a way to begin to assess interest in revisiting this directive. While one could consider this a positive step due to the initial uproar over the 2003 directive, it is clear that the EU’s interest in reopening the debate on family reunification is problematic for many reasons. This paper explains the consultation process in the EU to expose the concerns of various constituencies and uncovers the ways in which family reunification and integration policy in the EU are still conceived of as “gender neutral” policy areas. While reopening the 2003 family reunification Directive could have been a positive move for migrant women, this paper underscores the ways in which the EU, and even parts of the nongovernmental community, continue to fall short in crafting gender sensitive policies that would benefit migrant women, their families, and the EU a whole.

    tags:newjournalarticles

  • The global expansion of migration programs managed by non-state actors has cleared the way for the inception of the Guatemalan Temporary Agricultural Worker to Canada project. Responsibility over the regulated migration scheme has been delegated to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Quebec private interest group la Foundation des entreprises pour le recrutement de la main-d’oeuvre étrangère (FERME) in an effort to reconfigure the state governance approach and advance market mechanisms. By transferring authority to non-state agencies, the Canadian and Guatemalan governments also offload protection of migrants’ social welfare, granting the IOM and FERME with regulatory authority migrants. The transfer of control has granted non-state agencies with considerable clout over migration policies and the implementation of new labour recruitment schemes, creating a transnational space of institutionalized authority for non-state actors over the movement of migrants.

    tags:newjournalarticles

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