Daily Archives: Sunday, October 11, 2015

Selected New Journal Articles on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (weekly)

  • “International refugee law, in particular the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, has been accorded an exceptionally strong role in the framework for EU asylum policies. By virtue of EU primary law, it was established as a yardstick for secondary EU refugee law and its application by EU member states. As a consequence of this, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has the power to interpret provisions of international refugee law. In fact, it has become the first international court actually interpreting the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol. Expectations that this institutional setting would boost international refugee law through the strong framework of the EU were rising high after the establishment of the legal framework for EU refugee policies. More than twelve years after the adoption of the first asylum law instruments under EU law, and more than seven years after the first judgments were handed down, it is time for an assessment of how the Court has been dealing with the potential of applying and possibly shaping international refugee law. “

    tags:newjournalarticleshistory

  • “Environmental migration is often presented as one of the gravest consequences of environmental disruptions – climate change in particular, and is already a reality in many parts of the world. Yet the protection of these migrants is not adequately addressed in the international normative frameworks on migration. As a result, a growing number of scholars and advocacy groups have sought to create a special convention and/or an ad hoc status for these migrants, while others have contended that such a legal status is not the answer. As a result, the protection of environmental migrants is currently the subject of vigorous debates amongst scholars and policy-makers, and no clear solution is yet in sight.

    Research however has little considered the debates that surrounded the protection of those displaced within their countries (IDPs) in the 1990s. Both phenomena have sometimes overlapped, especially as environmental displacement is often internal. Yet, the debate on IDPs has had some significant success, in particular, the adoption of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in 1998, and the signature of the Organization for African Unity’s Kampala Convention in 2009.

    This article argues that important lessons can be drawn from the protection of IDPs in order to inform the current debates on the protection of environmental migrants, as the political contexts and policy challenges associated with both crises of the migration regime are often similar. The article identifies such lessons and assesses the opportunities and caveats of applying a similar approach of soft law to environmental migration – and what would be needed to achieve it. ”

    tags:newjournalarticleshistory

  • “Where international human rights instruments lack explicit prohibitions on refoulement, non-refoulement obligations are read into other substantive rights. In this context, state responsibility is engaged by the act of removal of an individual to a state where he or she will be exposed to a certain degree of risk of having his or her human rights violated. In its so-called medical cases, the European Court appears to position the source of the risk to which removal exposes the individual, in terms of whether it emanates from circumstances that can give rise to the responsibility of the destination state or not, as a significant factor in establishing the proper scope of protection from refoulement under the ECHR. In light of this, this article argues that there is something problematic about the use of the ‘removal plus risk’ formulation to read prohibitions on refoulement into human rights provisions. This is linked to the failure of the European Court adequately to address the legal basis for reading non-refoulement obligations into the prohibition on torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It is the contention of this article that none of the possible legal bases identified in the academic commentary really offer a solid foundation upon which to base implicit non-refoulement obligations and, in this sense, non-refoulement under the ECHR is a castle built on sand. “

    tags:newjournalarticleshistory

  • “This article interrogates a specific legal response to the unauthorised arrival by sea of asylum seekers to Canada. It focuses in particular on the treatment of such individuals after they have been recognised as refugees under the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention). It is a critical analysis of the introduction of the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA) in Canada, which amends the Immigration Refugee Protection Act. The article focuses on the establishment of the new legal status of Designated Foreign National (DFN) under the PCISA. In the article, it is argued that this response has resulted in the creation of legal standards that undermine the rights guaranteed to recognised refugees in the Refugee Convention. The establishment of the DFN status also represents the creation of a legal space where those so designated are confronted by restrictions established as a response to the arrival of asylum seekers in the state by sea. This article examines how the creation of the DFN status has shifted the approach to the regulation of space in Canada. Drawing on critical legal studies, as well as critical legal geography, this article focuses on the interrelationship between legal knowledges, and the control of space as it relates to the DFN. Finally, the article examines how it may be possible for DFNs to oppose the creation of a two-tier system of refugee protection under the PCISA by asserting their rights under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “

    tags:newjournalarticleshistory

  • “Over the past decade, developed countries have received significant numbers of North Korean asylum seekers. Some of these asylum seekers have managed to travel to developed countries without first travelling to South Korea. It has gradually become clear that many others are so-called ‘Saeteomin’ or ‘new settlers’, meaning North Koreans who have first settled in South Korea. This article will examine the law and policy response of destination countries to the influx of Saeteomin, especially focusing on the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. It will demonstrate that destination countries have reacted in three principal ways to the Saeteomin asylum seekers. First, they have evolved a more restrictive refugee jurisprudence in key areas affecting Saeteomin. Second, they have shared asylum seeker fingerprints with the South Korean authorities in an effort to help distinguish Saeteomin who deny having settled in South Korea from North Koreans who have not previously settled in South Korea. Third, the UK and Canada have attempted to deter Saeteomin asylum seekers through adding South Korea to safe country lists. This article argues that while these responses may be generally permissible under international law, they result in a number of problematic or potentially negative consequences. It will conclude by suggesting policy measures that South Korea and destination countries can take to better manage the issue of Saeteomin asylum seekers by adequately protecting the privacy of personal data and focusing on reducing the impetus to seek asylum outside South Korea. “

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  • “Publication of this book is a major event in refugee law. It is over twenty-three years since The Law of Refugee Status (LRS1)1 came out. True, Hathaway has kept all of us apprised of developments in his thinking since. In addition to his other major work, The Rights of Refugees under International Law (RRIL),2 he has been a much-consulted expert, a prolific writer of articles, and a generous giver of lectures and seminars around the world, but that is quite another thing to knowing how he sees his subsequent thinking fitting in with the analytical framework famously set out in LRS1. Now we know.

    But the second edition (LRS2) is not just an update. Superficially, the fact that its seven chapter topics for the most part track those of the original edition might suggest otherwise, but as explained in the Introduction, ‘it is in truth largely an original analysis that retains little beyond the analytical framework and core concepts adumbrated in the first edition’ (p 13).

    The fact that the book is now co-written by Michelle Foster, author of the ground-breaking work, International Refugee Law and Socio-Economic Rights (IRLSR),3 betokens something else – that the subject matter of refugee law has moved beyond the capacity of a single author to encompass. In this regard, LRS2 epitomises a key facet of Hathaway’s career, that he has never been a lone wolf and has always sought to work collaboratively within a shifting community of scholars, as illustrated by his ongoing Michigan Guidelines series. ”

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  • “Putting people in detention has become a routine – rather than exceptional – response to the irregular entry or stay of asylum-seekers and migrants1 in a number of countries. Some governments view detention as a means to dissuade irregular migration to or applying for asylum in their territories. While acknowledging that irregular entry or stay may present many challenges to States, detention is not the answer.

    Research in fact shows that not even the most stringent detention policies deter irregular migration, and further, that there are workable alternatives to detention that can achieve governmental objectives of security, public order and the efficient processing of asylum applications. Importantly, as seeking asylum is not an unlawful act, detaining asylum-seekers for the sole reason of having entered without prior authorisation runs counter to international law. Under international law, individuals have the right to seek asylum, and if they do so, to be treated humanely and with dignity. Access to open reception arrangements and fair and efficient status determination procedures need to be part of the overall State architecture.

    Detention also has many negative lasting effects on individuals. It undermines their human dignity and can cause unnecessary suffering, with serious consequences for their health and wellbeing, in particular when they are detained for long periods. Detention increases anxiety, fear and frustrations and can exacerbate past traumatic experiences. It takes place, frequently, in places and in conditions that do not meet human rights standards. Detention of children is particularly serious due to the devastating effect it may have on their physical, emotional and psychological development, even if they are not separated from their families. Children should, in principle, not be detained at all. ”

    tags:newjournalarticleshistory

  • “What variables influence the electoral behaviour of citizens voting in home country elections from abroad? Despite the growing interest of migration scholars for the topic of external voting, this question remains largely unanswered. Basing ourselves on the existing political science literature on electoral behaviour and on the migration literature on immigrants’ participation in host country politics, we isolate different hypotheses that explain emigrants’ preferences in home country politics. We then build four models of voters based on these hypotheses: the social group voter, the ideological voter, the interest-driven voter, and the transnational voter. In the second part of the paper, we verify the validity of these models using the results of a survey carried out with Bolivian emigrants who took part in the 2009 Bolivian presidential election from abroad. Overall, this article identifies the drivers of immigrant transnational political participation and contributes to current debates on social remittances. “

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  • “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. “

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  • “Immigrant female and also male workers are increasingly involved in the supply of care services in the countries of the Global North, and they are especially so in elderly care. In the countries of southern Europe, but to an increasing extent also in countries like Germany and Austria, the care work of immigrants is embedded in a specific care regime. It is undertaken mainly in the recipients’ households, often around the clock, and on a live-in basis, so that it supports a system in which the family remains the central locus of care delivery to frail people. Secondly, it employs a large number of workers irregular in regard to the employment relationship, and often also to their legal status. The paper will present the results of various research studies on the topic carried out in Italy within the time-span of a decade (2002–2012). It will discuss how irregular migration is in fact tolerated, when inserted in care work at the service of the growing needs of native families; how the system that I call “invisible welfare” works; and how immigrant care workers find possibilities of agency, despite the constraints of the legal order and the exploitation they often experience at work. “

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  • “This article examines academic achievements of immigrant youths in four new immigration countries: Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The analysis based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of 2009 and 2012 reveals large educational achievement gaps between immigrant children and natives in all four south European countries. The achievement gaps shrink substantially after accounting for differences in family backgrounds. The drawbacks faced by immigrant children in these four new immigration countries are due to fewer economic and material resources being available to them. On the other hand, the educational background of parents does not account for immigrant−native differences in academic performance. This stands in contrast to many traditional European immigration countries in which a lack of educational resources explains larger parts of the educational disadvantages of immigrant children. Our findings provide empirical evidence for the very precarious socio-economic integration of adult immigrants in new destination countries who, despite their relatively strong educational credentials, are placed into the lowest occupational positions. Such weak occupational attainments among the parental generation translate into a lack of material resources and investments available to families to foster their children’s education. “

    tags:newjournalarticleshistory

  • “Central American migrants confront intensifying violence along the unauthorized routes through Mexico into the United States. Under these increasingly violent conditions, are some migrants better prepared to undertake clandestine journeys? Building on research on the social processes of migration, I initially expected to observe an accumulation of resources and safety advantage for migrants from a town with a long migration history, and I expected to find a role for market reputation in the stabilization of smuggling markets in that community. However, ethnographic fieldwork on human smuggling markets in two communities in El Salvador yielded surprising results. Between towns with divergent migration histories, I did not find differences in the information available to migrants or first hand reports from migrants about violence. I observed greater variation in financial resources at the level of the family than at the level of the community. Furthermore, social mechanisms played a greater enforcement role in migrant−smuggler contracts than did market mechanisms. To explain these surprising findings, I explore the social conditions of the hometowns and the dynamic conditions of the route. I argue that distrust undermines reciprocity in Salvadoran hometowns, thereby impeding the accumulation of financial resources for migration at the level of the community. I further argue that the rapidly changing landscape of the Mexican drug war exacerbates informational problems for migrants, eroding the utility of information passed even within trusted family networks. In so doing, I probe the limits of social capital under conditions of violent uncertainty. “

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  • “Contemporary studies on return migration express a growing interest in the cultural and social dimensions of its economic development. In this article we aim to extend this interest by focusing on economic values returning migrants bring back with them to their countries of origin, captured in what we call the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’. The article is based on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork with Sub-Saharan African labor migrants both in Israel and after their return to their country of origin. Utilizing a Weberian perspective on the connection between values and economic action, we illustrate that even though African migrants work in menial jobs in Israel and very few acquire professional training, they come to utilize Israel as an informal space for the enhancement of a ‘spirit of entrepreneurship’. This spirit contains three valuative transformations: a transformation concerning time (including a valuing of the future over the present); a transformation concerning individual action (replacing the primacy of community with a focus on individual flourishing); and a transformation in social relations (extending trust beyond friends and family to economic partners). These transformations are in line with economic values underlying a capitalist economic system. The expression of these value orientations acts as an important factor through which African countries have become increasingly interlinked and influenced by neoliberal culture. Yet, as the testimonies of African labor migrants reveal, local social structures reside side by side with this imported spirit of entrepreneurship. This hybridity may lead to increased opportunities, but also to feelings of estrangement and frustration. “

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  • “Who is an indigenous migrant and how do processes of claiming an indigenous identity vary as people move from one location to another? How do politics and labor conditions in one country affect the experience of migrants in another? What kinds of racial/ethnic hierarchies are indigenous migrants inserted into and how? What forms of discrimination do indigenous immigrants experience? What is the role of culture in providing positive venues for asserting indigenous ethnicity in immigrant communities? What forms of collective action and organizing can be successfully mobilized to redefine immigrant indigenous ethnicity from a point of agency? What happens as multiple generations of indigenous people born in one country are socialized in another? Do they continue to identify as indigenous or do they combine that identity with others? “

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  • “Joseph Carens has long been considered the doyen of normative scholars writing on immigration. Beginning with a highly influential article defending open borders in 1987, Carens has produced a steady stream of pieces on citizenship, refugees, economic migration and irregular migration that have informed almost all serious ethical theorizing on migration. The Ethics of Immigration is his magnum opus. It brings together scholarly reflections honed over three decades, often significantly changed from their original form as articles or book chapters, into a coherent whole. Carens has produced a work that is precise without using technical philosophical language and sensitive to practical empirical consequences without losing sight of moral principles. The Ethics is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the morality of immigration and it will be of value both to philosophers and to empirical social scientists.

    Anyone who wants to engage in a critical analysis of an issue as contentious as immigration immediately faces the challenge of identifying the moral principles that will form the basis of the critique. Carens proposes a ‘contextual analysis’ (reminiscent, ironically, of Michael Walzer, who used a similar ‘shared understandings’ approach in Spheres of Justice (1983) in his defence of the right of states to control immigration). Carens’ starting point is what he describes as the ‘democratic principles’ which ‘underlie and justify contemporary political institutions and policies’ in North American and European states. According to Carens, these principles include ‘things like the ideas that all human beings are of equal moral worth, that disagreements should normally be resolved through the principle of majority rule, that we have a duty to respect the rights and freedoms of individuals, … that people should not be subject to discrimination on the basis of characteristics like race, religion, or gender …’ (p. 2), etc. … ”

    tags:newjournalarticleshistory

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Daily News and Updates on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies 10/11/2015

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Daily News and Updates from ReliefWeb 10/11/2015

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New Journal Research Articles for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (weekly)

  • “Cessation is a process that removes refugee status. If cessation occurs too soon, it risks the lives of individuals sent back to their countries of origin. If cessation happens too slowly or not at all, states may become more reluctant to accept refugees in the first place. The most recent experiment in cessation is underway – and well behind schedule. Two deadlines recommended by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the cessation of refugee status of Rwandans have come and gone, yet some 100,000 Rwandan refugees remain in countries of asylum. This article hypothesizes that the delay to implementation of Rwandan cessation by many African states is driven by regional political concerns with irregular migration. Unilateral cessation may cause undesirable irregular migration, which poses a challenge for a region composed of states with varying levels of support for cessation and at various stages of implementation. Cessation is a state prerogative but may only work effectively as an act of regional consensus. Meanwhile, Rwandan refugees are faced with indefinite uncertainty about their legal status. Most Rwandan refugees have not experienced premature cessation, but delayed cessation. If coordinated implementation of cessation does not occur, the outstanding Rwandan refugee population will dwindle slowly over time, primarily because individuals opt for voluntary return or host states increase local integration. As delays mount in implementation and enforcement of the ceased circumstances clauses, one must conclude that the UNHCR advisory deadlines for cessation were premature, or that cessation has not proved as effective as the 1951 Refugee Convention intended – or both. “

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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, …

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  • 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

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