28 October 2011

Asylum in Europe

Yesterday, the European Parliament (EP) approved the European Commission's proposal to recast the Qualification Directive. The amendment will "enhance the rights granted to refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection in the EU...in particular regarding the duration of residence permits, access to social welfare, health care and the labour market." The new text will also "take the best interests of the child and gender-related aspects into account in the assessment of asylum applications and in the implementation of the rules on the content of international protection." For more information, see:
  • ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 28 Oct. 2011 [access]
  • EU Asylum Extended to Transgender People (LGBT Asylum News, Oct. 2011) [text]

Other Reports:

Asylum Camp Limbo: A Report about Obstacles to Deportation (Refugees Welcome, Oct. 2011) [Eng. text] [Danish text]
- Focus is on rejected asylum seekers in Denmark.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum in Ukraine, New Issues in Refugee Research, no. 223 (UNHCR, Oct. 2011) [text]

Immigration Detention in the Netherlands: An Urgent Need for Change - Alternatives to Immigration Detention (Amnesty International Netherlands, Oct. 2011) [Eng. summary] [Dutch text]


Asylum - Not an EU Problem? Qualitative Analysis of the Readmission Agreements in the Asylum and Migration Policy of the European Union, Thesis submitted to Department of Global Political Studies (Malmo University, Spring 2011) [text]

The Protection of Refugees and their Right to Seek Asylum in the European Union, Thesis submitted to the Institut européen (Université de Genève, Jan. 2011) [text]

Web sites:

Asilo in Europa [access]
- New blog on European asylum law and policy; in Italian.

Observatorio Europeo para el Derecho de Asilo [access]
- An initiative by the Valsaín Foundation Studies Centre; in Spanish. Includes comments on the Spanish Asylum Law 12/2009, legal texts, case law, and a Spanish version of the ECRE Weekly Bulletin, among other things.

Open Access Week: "OA as Humanitarian Aid"

This blog is a testament to the amazing amount of information that is available online - all gratis OA at a minimum, some no doubt libre OA as well. But the fact is that there is a wealth of critical research that remains inaccessible. I use the sidebar of this blog to highlight articles in so-called Toll Access (TA), or fee-based, journals. The complete texts of these articles can certainly be accessed via academic libraries, but not everyone has access to these collections. They can also be purchased directly, but not every researcher, policymaker or practitioner has the budget to do so.

In wrapping up Open Access Week, I leave you with some thoughts from Peter Suber, who is a leading OA advocate. He wrote an article for the April 2011 edition of SPARC Enews entitled "Open Access as Humanitarian Aid," which cites examples of publishers who temporarily lift price and permission barriers on what is normally fee-based research in an effort to facilitate relief and recovery efforts after major disasters have occurred. Here's a portion of it:

Lifting access barriers in an emergency is a public acknowledgment that research is more useful when OA than when TA [toll access]. It confirms what I've called the OA principle: the more knowledge matters, the more OA to that knowledge matters.

This proposition doesn't compare one set of OA articles with a control group of TA articles that might or might not be relevantly similar. We're talking about one and the same set of articles and data, without any "self-selection bias" or any of the other alleged confounders complicating the analysis of the citation impact advantage. Research is more useful after we lift access barriers than it was before, and publishers who lift access barriers in emergencies are admitting that.

This is the heart of the case for OA. It makes research more useful. When research is gratis OA, it reaches more people who can make use of it. Users needn't go without, and needn't rely on slow, unscalable methods like interlibrary loan and emails to authors. When research is libre OA, it can be used and reused in ways that exceed fair use. Users needn't slow down to ask for permission, risk proceeding without it, or err on the side of non-use.

Publishers may have financial reasons not to provide OA themselves. But reasons to stop short of gold OA [open access provided via OA journals] aren't reasons to stop short of green OA [open access provided via self-archiving]. In any case, arguments against permitting or mandating green OA must be weighed against the fundamental background acknowledgement that OA research is more useful than TA research. My hope is that every publisher will remember this acknowledgement when considering or reconsidering its access policies. We need research to be as useful as possible every day, in routine circumstances, and not just in times of disaster. The "we" here are not just researchers but everyone who depends on research. The stakes are not always elevated by earthquake and tsunami, but they are elevated by illness, climate change, environmental degradation, species extinction, unsafe technologies, unsolved problems, and uninformed policies.

Suber concludes, "There is an access problem. Working on solutions to this problem is not incendiary, but humanitarian in the broadest sense."

Tagged Publications.

27 October 2011

Open Access Week: More on OA Option #2 for Authors

Yesterday, I highlighted Open Access journals that cover a wide range of subject disciplines. This post will look more specifically at OA periodicals in the forced migration/humanitarian assistance sphere. There are indeed a handful that focus on our field of study, examples of which are listed below; some are scholarly in their approach while others are more policy- and practitioner-oriented.

One note about these titles: When it comes to journals, there are degrees of Open Access. So I use "gratis OA" to refer to periodicals that remove price but not permission barriers, and I use "libre OA" to refer to periodicals that remove price barriers and at least some permission barriers. For more information about this distinction, please refer to P. Suber's discussion of the two descriptors.

These titles are libre OA:
  • Forced Migration Review [access]
  • Journal of Internal Displacement [access]
  • Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration [access]

These titles are gratis OA (freely available online, but still copyrighted):
  • Humanitarian Exchange [access]
  • Journal of Humanitarian Assistance [access]
  • Refuge: Canada's Periodical on Refugees [access]

These titles are gratis OA but access to the current issue is delayed:
  • International Review of the Red Cross [access]
  • Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counselling in Areas of Armed Conflict [access]

As you can see, there is a diversity of Open Access journals to choose from. But keep in mind that even if the journal you plan to submit an article to is not OA - i.e., the International Journal of Refugee Law, Journal of Refugee Studies, or Refugee Survey Quarterly - you can still employ the first strategy for delivering Open Access to your work: self-archiving!

Focus on Health

Journal Articles:

"Contraceptive Use: Knowledge, Perceptions and Attitudes of Refugee Youths in Oru Refugee Camp, Nigeria," African Journal of Reproductive Health, vol. 14, no. 4 (2011) [full-text]

"Incidence and Risk Factors for Malaria, Pneumonia and Diarrhea in Children Under 5 in UNHCR Refugee Camps: A Retrospective Study," Conflict and Health 5:24 (2011) [open access article]

"Performance of UNHCR Nutrition Programs in Post-Emergency Refugee Camps," Conflict and Health 5:23 (2011) [open access article]

"Public Health System Responsiveness to Refugee Groups in New Zealand: Activation from the Bottom Up," Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, no. 37 (June 2011) [full-text]

Past Event:

Global Response 2010: International Conference on Violence Conflict and Health, Copenhagen, 22-25 January 2010 [programme] [conf. report] [access]
- Scroll down to locate "Themed Issues in Scientific Journals," "Video Recordings of the Presentations," and "Powerpoint Presentations from Speakers." See esp. Debarati Guha-Sapir on "Public Health and Epidemiology In Humanitarian Crises: At a Crossroads," Paul Spiegel on "Health among conflict-affected persons in urban settings," and Peter Aaby on "The need to do research during emergencies: A personal experience from Guinea-Bissau."


Aid from Without, Healing from Within: An Examination of the Use of Target Population Cultural Knowledge of Mental Health and Healing in Refugee Camp Mental Health Programs, Thesis submitted to School for Social Work (Smith College, Sept. 2011) [text]

Refugee Healthcare in British Columbia: Health Status and Barriers for Government Assisted Refugees in Accessing Healthcare, Thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (Univ. of British Columbia, Oct. 2011) [text]

26 October 2011

Open Access Week: OA Option #2 for Authors

Yesterday's post discussed self-archiving as a strategy for providing Open Access to research articles published in traditional journals. Another option for authors who wish to provide Open Access to their work is to publish in an Open Access journal. The best place to start looking for journal titles in a relevant discipline is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This resource allows you to search both for journals themselves - e.g., search on keywords like "human rights," "migration" or "conflict" - and for articles within journals (see, e.g., results with "refugees" in the title).

Some other examples of OA journals are listed below; all of these titles were identified via this blog, meaning they have all included forced migration-related articles at some point.

In addition, two leading Open Access publishers in the life and health sciences are BioMed Central (BMC) and the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Their journals also include fairly regular coverage of forced migration issues.

Publications on Civil Society in Serbia, EU Policies, LADO Tests, Protracted Displacement, West African Migration

EU Immigration Policies are Inconsistent and Overly Restrictive (IP-Global, June 2011) [text]

"How Can Civil Society Contribute to the Lawfulness of the Treatment of Illegal Migrants and Asylum Seekers?", Chapter in Collection of Policy Papers on Police Reform in Serbia, no. 5 (Belgrade Center for Human Rights & Belgrade Center for Security Policy, July 2011) [text]
- Scroll down to p. 21.

Permanent Crises? Unlocking the Protracted Displacement of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (RSC et al., Oct. 2011) [text]
- See also related case studies.

Placing Shibboleths at the Institutional Gate: LADO Tests and the Construction of Asylum Seekers’ Identities, Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies, no. 8 (Tilburg University, Oct. 2011) [text]

Reconsidering West African Migration: Changing Focus from European Immigration to Intra-regional Flows, DIIS Working Paper, no. 21 (Danish Institute of International Studies, Oct. 2011) [text]

Tagged Publications.

25 October 2011

Open Access Week: OA Option #1 for Authors

The advantages of Open Access accrue to both authors and their readers. The former gain greater visibility and research usage, the latter gain immediate, free and unfettered access to scholarly studies. For both, the potential result is to achieve impact in the form of beneficial changes to forced migration policy and practice.

As noted in the resources listed in yesterday's post and in my FMR article, there are two primary vehicles for delivering OA. The focus of this post is "self-archiving," an action that authors can take to provide access to eprints (pre- or postprints) of their research articles. What about copyright? Since a preprint is the pre-published, pre-referreed draft of an article, the author holds copyright over this version and does not need to seek permission to archive it. A postprint is the version of an article that has been accepted by a journal and has undergone peer review. Many journals have already given the go-ahead to authors to archive postprints; if one hasn't already, it very likely will when asked. Therefore, as this handout points out, "Don’t assume that publishing in a conventional or non-OA journal forecloses the possibility of providing OA to your own work --on the contrary" (emphasis added).

Where should an eprint be archived? Since many authors are academics, the first place to consider is the institutional repository (IR) established by your university. Check with your library or search the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) to find out if your institution has a repository. A growing number of universities are also mandating that their scholarly output be archived; ROARMAP tracks this information.

If your institution does not have its own repository or if you are not an academic researcher, you can still archive your eprints in a disciplinary repository like the Refugee Research Network (RRN), Forced Migration Online (FMO) or the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Others are listed here.

For some examples of colleagues who self-archive, here's a random selection of eprints that I've posted on this blog in the past:
- Easterly, William & Claudia R. Williamson, "Rhetoric versus Reality: The Best and Worst of Aid Agency Practices" (published in World Development)
- Fraser, Helen, "The role of ‘educated native speakers’ in providing language analysis for the determination of the origin of asylum seekers" (published in International Journal of Speech Language and the Law)
- McAdam, Jane, "Swimming Against the Tide: Why a Climate Change Displacement Treaty is Not the Answer" (published in International Journal of Refugee Law)
- Millbank, Jenni & Catherine Dauvergne, "Forced Marriage and the Exoticization of Gendered Harms in United States Asylum Law" (forthcoming in Columbia Journal of Gender and Law)
- Nine, Cara, "Ecological Refugees, State Borders, and the Lockean Proviso" (published in Journal of Applied Philosophy; note that the full-text of this article is free via the journal publisher)

And self-archiving doesn't need to be limited to journal articles:
- Messineo, Francesco, "Non-Refoulement Obligations in Public International Law: Towards a New Protection Status?" (forthcoming in Research Companion to Migration Theory and Policy)

So are you ready to self-archive? If you still aren't sure, here's a post I prepared for Open Access Week 2009 which describes my initial experience with self-archiving. If you are, then please pass on a URL for me to post when you're done!

Focus on Humanitarian Assistance

IRIN ran a special recently on the "Rise of the 'New' Donors." A who's who of non-traditional donors includes Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa, and South Korea. Check out the in-depth report for more details about new donors in the North Africa and Horn of Africa crises.

Other recent publications relating to humanitarian donors and assistance include:

Displacement and Poverty in South East Burma/Myanmar (Thailand Burma Border Consortium, Oct. 2011) [text via ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Assistance: Truly Universal? A Mapping Study of non-Western Donors, GPPi Research Paper Series No. 12 (Global Public Policy Institute, Aug. 2010) [text]

Humanitarian Emergency Response to the Libyan Crisis: Seven-month Report on IOM’s Response, 28 Feb - 27 Sep 2011 (IOM, Oct. 2011) [text via ReliefWeb]

India’s Growing Involvement in Humanitarian Assistance, GPPi Research Paper Series No. 13 (Global Public Policy Institute, March 2011) [text]

"Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Settings: Linking Practice and Research," The Lancet, Early Online, 17 Oct. 2011 [free full-text, with registration]

Saudi Arabia as a Humanitarian Donor: High Potential, Little Institutionalization, GPPi Research Paper Series No. 14 (Global Public Policy Institute, March 2011) [text]

[Image credit: Ewan McIntosh/Flickr, in "Piecing together the Chinese aid jigsaw" (IRIN, Oct. 2011)]

Tagged Publications.

24 October 2011

Video Resources: LGBT Asylum Issues

The LGBT Asylum News blog regularly posts videos that focus on asylum and RSD issues relating to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender asylum seekers. Here are a few recent ones:

Getting Out (Refugee Law Project) [access]
- "A documentary following the stories of five individuals seeking to escape persecution on the grounds of their gender or sexual preference. Shot in Uganda, South Africa, Geneva and London, the film is 60 minutes and is viewable in two parts."

"Hidden Topics in LGBTI Asylum and Refugee Law," ORAM Second Annual Lecture Series, San Francisco, 24 June 2011
- The Meaning of 'Persecution' in LGBTI Refugee Claims [access]
- The Invisible Refugee: Intersex, Persecution and Protection [access]
- Accessing Protection: The NGO Sector and LGBTI Refugees [access]
- Adjudication of LGBTI Asylum Claims [access]
- An Overview of LGBTI Refugees [access]

LGBT Asylum in the EU: Expert Presentation to Euro Parliament (Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) [access]
- Presentation at the 20 Oct. 2011 meeting on "A Common European Asylum System by 2012?"

New Film Looks at Plight of Gay Palestinian Refugees in Israel (Yariv Mozer) [access]
- Introduces the film "The Invisible Men.

Tagged Web Sites/Tools.

Open Access Week: If You Want to Know More...

For more information about Open Access, the principal mechanisms for making your research articles OA, and the impact of doing so, check out the following resources:

- What is Open Access and How to Provide It? (S. Harnad, 2011)

- "Benefits of Open Access for Research Dissemination," Chapter in Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS)

Tagged Publications and Events & Opportunities.

Open Access Week, 24-28 Oct. 2011

Today is the first day of Open Access Week. This annual event "provides an opportunity to learn about the benefits of Open Access, share new ideas and strategies, and inspire wider participation in establishing Open Access as the norm in scholarly communication."

For the past couple of years, I have used this week to 1) introduce the concept of Open Access (OA) to the forced migration community, 2) provide concrete examples of its relevance for and application in the forced migration context, and 3) encourage forced migration researchers to jump on the OA bandwagon.

This year, I will focus particularly on options that forced migration authors have at their disposal for rendering their work Open Access. For starters, here is an article of mine entitled "Open Access to Scholarly Research" that was just published in Forced Migration Review (FMR), a well-known serial publication in our field that also happens to be Open Access!

Focus on Iraqi Displacement

Baseline Study: Documenting Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Iraqi Refugees and the Status of Family Planning Services in UNHCR's Operations in Amman, Jordan (UNHCR & Women's Refugee Commission, Aug. 2011) [text]

Dream of the Hanging Gardens: Male Iraqi Refugees and Exiles in Jordan, Their Migration and Adaptation Experiences, Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (University of British Columbia, August 2011) [text]

"Iraqi Refugees: Making the Urban Refugee Approach Context-specific," Humanitarian Exchange, no. 51 (July 2011) [text]

"Iraqi Refugees: Still There," Chapter in A Global Agenda: Issues Before the United Nations 2011-2012 (United Nations Association of the USA, 2011) [text]

Leaving Iraq? What about the Refugees? (The Cable, Oct. 2011) [text]

Migration Trends and Patterns in Jordan: The Human Rights Context (Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, Oct. 2011) [text]

Response Still Centred on Return Despite Increasing IDP Demands for Local Integration (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Oct. 2011) [text]

Statistical Report on UNHCR Registered Iraqis and Non-Iraqis: Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and the GCC Countries (UNHCR, Sept. 2011) [text]

Unlocking Protracted Displacement: An Iraqi Case Study, Working Paper, no. 78 (RSC et al., Aug. 2011) [text]

Tagged Publications.

23 October 2011

Focus on Statelessness


Statelessness and Gender Discrimination, Washington, DC, 25 October 2011 [info]
- "A panel discussion to highlight the impacts of gender discrimination in nationality laws and the specific impacts of statelessness on women."

Conference on Statelessness and the Right to Nationality in the Dominican Republic, Washington, DC, 26 October 2011 [info]
- "The conference will focus on the right to nationality in the Dominican Republic and will analyze the current complex legal situation facing different segments of the Dominican population of Haitian descent and highlight the impacts of deprivation of nationality rights."

Statelessness and UNHCR, Oxford, 26 October 2011 [info]
- The next seminar in the "Stateless Diasporas and Forced Migration" series. Recordings of past seminars in this series are available as podcasts.

No Country, No Identity, No Rights?, Tilburg, 3 November 2011 [info]
- Part of a week-long line-up of events to mark the official launch of the Statelessness Programme at Tilburg University. "This event offers a unique opportunity to better understand the problem of statelessness and how it affects people, both around the world and here in the Netherlands."


The 50th Anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness: What Progress? (Chatham House, July 2011) [text]
- Summary of a meeting held to commemorate the statelessness convention.

CEDAW Statement on the Anniversaries of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, 50th Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (19 Oct. 2011) [text via Refworld]

Dependent Identity: The MENA, Women and Citizenship (Oecumene Blog, Oct. 2011) [text]

Kuwait: Gender Discrimination Creates Statelessness and Endangers Families (Refugees International, Oct. 2011) [text]

War Criminals, Terrorists, and Deprivation of Nationality (Statelessness Blog, Oct. 2011) [text]

New Research Project:

"Statelessness in international law: which regime(s) for which right(s)?," Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies [info]
- "The project aims at producing a book-length work that will document and analyse the international legal regime governing statelessness."

[Photo credit: Refugees International]

21 October 2011

Events after the fact

A Common European Asylum System by 2012? Asylum and Resettlement, Brussels, 20 October 2011 [info] [programme]
- Scroll down to access background documents and videos of sessions. See also ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 21 Oct. 2011, for a brief summary.

Expert Meeting on International Cooperation to Share Burdens and Responsibilities, Amman, 27-28 June 2011 [concept note] [discussion paper] [summary conclusions]
- Visit this page for information on past UNHCR Expert Meetings.

Fifth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials, Sydney, 12 October 2011 [info]
- This group evolved out of the Bali Process and focuses on "irregular migration situations in the Asia-Pacific region." The link above provides access to presentations by IOM, UNHCR, UNODC, and the U.S. Government, as well as to the Final Co-Chairs Statement. See also related discussion note from Nov. 2010 entitled "Regional Cooperative Approach to Address Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Irregular Movement."

Landscapes of Removal: Deportation and Danish Return Operations, Copenhagen, 21 September 2011 [report]
- Part of a seminar series on deportation.

Measuring Settlement: Exploring New Research on Refugee Settlement Outcomes and its Implications for Settlement Services and Policy, Teleconference, 17 August 2011 [report]

Tagged Publications and Events & Opportunities.

New Publications on Detention, DNA Tests, FGM Cases, Housing, Protection in Egypt

DNA Tests: A Barrier to Speedy Family Reunification (Canadian Council for Refugees, Oct. 2011) [text]

Immigration Detention in Switzerland: A Global Detention Project Special Report (Global Detention Project, Oct. 2011) [text]

Matter of N-T- as Progeny of Matter of A-T-: A Teaching Tool for FGM Cases (ImmigrationProf Blog, Oct. 2011) [text]

Precarious Housing & Hidden Homelessness Among Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Immigrants: Bibliography and Review of Canadian Literature from 2005 to 2010, CERIS Working Paper No. 84 (CERIS, Aug. 2011) [text]

Shared Responsibility in a New Egypt: A Strategy for Refugee Protection (Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, Sept. 2011) [text]

Tagged Publications.

20 October 2011

Promoting Refugee Protection

This blog post on IntLawGrrls provides one example of how UNHCR uses its "soft law power" to promote refugee protection. The focus is on the state pledging process that will take place during the Ministerial-level meeting scheduled for early December.

Here are a few other recent reports I have come across that examine various mechanisms used by the refugee agency to influence state practice.

The Making of UNHCR's Guidance and its Implementation in the National Jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden (Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, 2010) [text]

"The Persuasiveness of UNHCR's Eligibility Guidelines," The Researcher, vol. 6, no. 2 (July 2011) [full-text]

UNHCR's Role in Supervising International Protection Standards in the Context of its Mandate, Keynote Address at the International Conference on Forced Displacement, Protection Standards, Supervision of the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol and Other International Instruments, Toronto, 17-20 May 2010 (UNHCR, 2010) [text]

Tagged Publications.

19 October 2011

Refugee Law Courses: Last Minute Deadlines

The application deadline for both of the following courses is 21 October 2011:

ELENA Introductory Course, The International Protection of Refugees, Lisbon, 18-20 November 2011 [info]
- "[T]he course will cover the definition of a refugee, exclusion from refugee status, cessation of refugee status, non-refoulement and statelessness."

International Refugee Law Course (English), Sanremo, 21-25 November 2011 [info]
- Aims "to increase the knowledge and skills of government officials involved in the formulation and the application of legislation and policies affecting people in need of protection, and who have only a basic knowledge of International Refugee Law. [The course is] also open to those interested from civil society, particularly those in advocacy for the protection of forcibly uprooted people."

November Events & Opportunities

There is a lot to keep you busy this November!

An Italian Renaissance: Jewish Refugees in Postwar Europe, 4th Annual Howard Adelman Lecture, Toronto, 1 November 2011 [info]

Protecting Children's Rights Through Multidisciplinary Forensics, Chicago, 4 November 2011 [info]
- Apply by 1 November 2011 for continuing education credits.

Conference on Critical Refugee Studies, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 3-4 November 2011 [info]
- "This conference uses the 20th century invention of the category of refugee as a means to compare the experiences of displaced persons across time and space."

Protecting Refugee Rights: The Importance of Independence, CCR Fall Consultation, Montreal, 24-26 November 2011 [info]
- Register before 4 November 2011 for reduced rate.

Conflict Situations and Migration Flows in the Mediterranean Area, Sanremo, 4-5 November 2011 [info]
- Organized by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and IOM.

Asylum Division Quarterly Stakeholder Meeting, Washington, DC, 30 November 2011 [info]
- Register by 11 November 2011.

Beyond Asylum: Refugee Policy in Practice and How Refugees Experience It, 2011 East Asia Symposium, Hong Kong, 12 November 2011 [info]
- This symposium will bring "key actors from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau and Taiwan together to identify gaps and solutions, debate the key issues, and challenge misconceptions about the most vulnerable population in Asia: refugees."

CFP: Journal of Internal Displacement [info]
- Submit articles by 15 November 2011.

Vacancy: Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellowship in Development Studies (Refugees and Forced Migration), Oxford [info]
- Three-year fellowship beginning January 2012. Apply by 19 November 2011.

3rd Annual International Symposium on Preventing Human Trafficking: Integrating the European Knowledge, Brussels, 24 November 2011 [info]
- "[T]his annual Symposium provides a platform to bring together case studies and best practices with important contributions from EU policymakers, major international organizations and NGOs from across Europe."

The Role of Native Speakers in LADO, Colchester, UK, 26 November 2011 [info]
- LADO refers to "Language Analysis for Determination of Origins" as is used in the RSD process.

Focus on Palestinian Refugees


Coping with Conflict: Poverty and Inclusion in the West Bank and Gaza (World Bank, Oct. 2011) [text]
- See also related comment.

"Flexible Citizenship and the Inflexible Nation-State: New Framework for Appraising the Palestinian Refugees’ Movements," Journal of International Migration and Integration, OnlineFirst, 3 Aug. 2011 [abstract]

Migration Trends and Patterns in Jordan: The Human Rights Context (Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, Oct. 2011) [text]

Palestinian Refugees Consider a Model for Return (IPS, Oct. 2011) [text]

"Restricting Aid: Access and Movement Constraints in the Occupied Palestinian Territories," Humanitarian Exchange, no. 51 (July 2011) [full-text]


al-Majdal, no. 46 (Summer 2011) [full-text]
- Theme is "The Struggle for Palestinian Rights: New Strategies in a Changing Middle East." Includes "Reaching Palestine and kissing the Soil: Palestinian Refugees return home" and "BADIL-Zochrot Joint Action: Practical Approaches to Refugee Return."

Upcoming event:

"Waiting for Solutions in Uncertain Times: Palestine Refugees in the Middle East Context," Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture, Oxford, 16 November 2011 [info]
- The lecture will be given by Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Commissioner-General.

18 October 2011

Statistical Reports

Today, UNHCR released the companion to its annual Global Trends publication. The report, Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries: Statistical Overview of Asylum Applications Lodged in Europe and Selected non-European Countries, finds that industrialized countries experienced "a 17 per cent increase in asylum applications in the first half of this year, with most claimants coming from countries with long-standing displacement situations." The principal countries of origin were Afghanistan, China, Serbia, Kosovo, Iraq and Iran.

Eurostat circulated a report last month which also saw a similar upward trend in asylum applications in EU Member States. While more Tunisians sought asylum during this period, the largest groups overall were Afghans, Russians and Iraqis. For more information, see "Number of asylum applicants on rise during the first quarter of 2011," Statistics in Focus, no. 48/2011 (Sept. 2011).

[Image credit: UNHCR Italia Facebook]

Tagged Publications.

New Publications on Armed Conflicts, Counter-terrorism, Drought Emergencies, IGC, MSF

Agir à tout prix? Négociations humanitaires: l’expérience de Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Oct. 2011) [full-text]

Armed Conflicts Report 2011 (Project Ploughshares, 2011) [access]

Counter-terrorism and Humanitarian Action, HPG Policy Brief, no. 43 (ODI, Oct. 2011) [text]

Humanitarian Action in Drought-related Emergencies (ALNAP, Oct. 2011) [text]

"Informal Plurilateralism: The Impossibility of Multilateralism in the Steering of Migration," British Journal of Politics & International Relations, vol. 13, no. 1 (Feb. 2011) [free full-text]
- This article uses the Intergovernmental Consultations on Asylum, Refugee and Migration Policies in Europe, North America and Australia (IGC) as a case study "to show how informal plurilateralism has crept into policy-making in international fora on migration."

Tagged Publications.

17 October 2011

New Issues of Environment & Urbanization, Global Public Health, Plein Droit, Torture Journal

Environment and Urbanization, vol. 23, no. 2 (Oct. 2011) [contents]
- Focus is on "Community-Driven Disaster Risk Reduction."

Global Public Health, vol. 6, no. 5 (2011) [contents]
- Special issue on "Violent Conflict and Population Health in the Middle East." Includes "Conflict, displacement and health in the Middle East" and "Predictors of displacement behaviour during the 2006 Lebanon war."

Plein Droit, no. 90 (Oct. 2011) [contents]
- Theme is "Réfugiés clandestins." Includes one full-text article.

Torture: Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture, vol. 21, no. 3 (2011) [full-text]
- Mix of articles, including "Comparison of two methods of inquiry for torture with East African refugees: Single query versus checklist."

Tagged Periodicals.

14 October 2011

What is Persecution?

A paper entitled "Defining Persecution" was just archived in the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) repository. It seeks to provide a unified definition of the term "persecution," "through the prism of U.S. refugee law." After a lengthy analysis, the definition ultimately proposed in this paper is "the illegitimate infliction of sufficiently severe harm."

A July post on the IntLawGrrls blog, "Defining Persecution to Minimize Fraud," highlights a recent U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals case that defines persecution "in a way that reflects the real experiences of genuine refugees, rather than setting the bar for past harms so high that asylum applicants feel the need to bolster their stories to ensure their safety." Specifically, the judge writes on p. 9:
Persecution involves, we suggest, the use of significant physical force against a person’s body, or the infliction of comparable physical harm without direct application of force (locking a person in a cell and starving him would be an example), or nonphysical harm of equal gravity—that last qualification is important because refusing to allow a person to practice his religion is a common form of persecution even though the only harm it causes is psychological. Another example of persecution that does not involve actual physical contact is a credible threat to inflict grave physical harm, as in pointing a gun at a person’s head and pulling the trigger but unbeknownst to the victim the gun is not loaded.
The judge goes on to admonish the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for using an "I know it when I see it" approach to persecution.

Another recent paper, "The Concept of 'Persecution' in Refugee Law: Indeterminacy, Context-sensitivity, and the Quest for a Principled Approach," engages in a more wide-ranging discussion of "persecution." In it, the author analyzes some of the reasons why decision-makers may be ambivalent about the idea of adopting an unequivocal definition of persecution.

For interpretations of this concept by national jurisdictions, search in the Refugee Caselaw database on Hathaway number 4.0.

[Photo credit: "Dictionary," Wikipedia.org]

Tagged Publications and Web Sites/Tools.

New Publications on Health Care Costs, North Africans, QIPs in Mozambique, Right to Work, Urban Refugees in South Africa

"The Cost of War and the Cost of Health Care: An Epidemiological Study of Asylum Seekers," Swiss Medical Weekly 141:w13252 (Oct. 2011) [open access text]

Labor Market Arguments on Refugees' Right to Work: A Pragmatic Rebuttal (Refugees and the Right to Work, Oct. 2011) [text]

No Place to Go But Up: Urban Refugees in Johannesburg, South Africa (Women's Refugee Commission, Oct. 2011) [text via ReliefWeb]

Refugee Rights and Italy's Response to the Influx of North African Migrants (Human Rights Brief Blog, Oct. 2011) [text]

Speed and Sustainability: Reviewing the Long-term Outcomes of UNHCR's Quick Impact Projects in Mozambique, PDES/2011/11 (UNHCR, Oct. 2011) [text]

Tagged Publications.

Focus on Education


During the recent EXCOM meeting, reference was made to "a global review of the state of refugee education." While the study has not yet been published, this presentation [slides] [video] by Sarah Dryden-Peterson at an EXCOM side event provides a summary of its objectives, methodology, main findings, challenges, and recommendations.

Other recent education-related items include:

Access to Education in the Czech Republic for Refugees and Beneficiaries of Subsidiary Protection (Association of Citizens Working with Emigrants, Dec. 2010) [text]

Global Challenges for Education: Economics, Environment and Emergency, Oxford, 13-15 September 2011 [info]
- This conference included a number of papers on refugees, IDPs, and education in emergencies, many of which were presented under the themed section of "Education, conflict and emergencies." Check the programme for specific titles.

Improving Access to Education for Asylum-seeker, Refugee Children and Adolescents in Central Europe (UNHCR, July 2011) [text]

Left Behind: The Impact of Zimbabwe's Mass Forced Evictions on the Right to Education (Amnesty International, Oct. 2011) [text]

Moving towards Integration: Overcoming Segregated Education for IDPs - Case Study on Education and Displacement in Georgia (IDMC, Sept. 2011) [text via Refworld]

Tagged Publications.

13 October 2011

Focus on Human Trafficking

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a new database that provides access to human trafficking case law. Its purpose and target audience are described as follows:

The database contains details on the nationalities of victims and perpetrators, trafficking routes, verdicts and other information related to prosecuted cases from around the world. As such, it provides not only statistics on the number of prosecutions and convictions, but also the real-life stories of trafficked persons as documented by the courts. The database is aimed at assisting judges, prosecutors, policymakers, media researchers and other interested parties by making available details of real cases with examples of how the respective national laws in place can be used to prosecute human trafficking.

Currently, the database contains more than 150 cases from over 30 countries and two regional courts. Users can conduct a full-text search of the contents, or browse by country or by keyword under the following categories: "acts," "means," "purpose of exploitation," "form of trafficking," "section in which exploitation takes place," and "international cooperation."

A few other new publications:

Tackling the Demand that Fosters Human Trafficking: Final Report (USAID, Aug. 2011) [text via La Strada]

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean (U.S. Congressional Research Service, Sept. 2011) [text via Refworld]

Trends in Organized Crime, vol. 14, nos. 2-3 (Sept. 2011) [contents]
- Special issue on "Human Trafficking." The introductory chapter, "Expanding the Domain of Human Trafficking Research: Introduction to the Special Issue on Human Trafficking," is provided as an open access text.

12 October 2011

More on Cessation

Further to this post which reported on a campaign launched by the Fahamu Refugee Programme to advocate against the withdrawal of international protection for Rwandan refugees, UNHCR announced at EXCOM that it will recommend that States invoke the cessation clause for Rwandan refugees by 31 December 2011, to be effective by 30 June 2012. In addition, UNHCR and the Government of Rwanda plan to take steps to "achieve increased voluntary repatriation and find greater opportunities for local integration or alternative legal status for refugees in countries of asylum."

For some additional thoughts on this issue, see the latest Fahamu Refugee Legal Newsletter which includes a special focus on why invoking the cessation clause for Rwandans is problematic, as well as the following:

Cease and Desist in Rwanda? (The Mantle, Oct. 2011) [part 1] [part 2]

NGO Statement on International Protection, 62nd Meeting of EXCOM, Geneva, 3-7 October 2011 [text via ReliefWeb]
- See para. 1(d).

UNHCR Urged to Review Decision to Withdraw Refugee Status from Rwandan Refugees (Reporters without Borders, Oct. 2011) [text]

With regard to another group slated for possible cessation, see the following recently published report:

Resisting Repatriation: Burundian Refugees Struggling to Stay in Tanzania (International Refugee Rights Initiative, Oct. 2011) [text via ReliefWeb]

Tagged Publications.