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  • Refugees and (Other) Migrants: Will the Global Compacts Ensure Safe Flight and Onward Mobility for Refugees?

    24 January 2019

    The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants is a unanimous United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution which was adopted by Heads of State and Government on 19 September 2016. It contains common provisions on both refugees and migrants, as well as sections dealing with these categories separately. The Declaration repeatedly reaffirms commitments to the human rights of refugees and migrants, confirms the centrality of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and emphasizes the importance of a humanitarian approach to both migrants and refugees. As it states in paragraph 5: The New York Declaration set up the process to create the two Global Compacts, with different processes and assumptions underpinning the Global Compact on...

  • Research in Brief: Refugees as Providers of Protection and Assistance

    27 November 2018

    Across low- and middle-income countries, protection and assistance is provided to refugees by United Nations organisations in collaboration with a network of NGO implementing partners (IPs). Whether in camps or urban areas, the dominant humanitarian model remains premised upon a provider/beneficiary relationship: international organisations are the protectors and refugees are the protected. In parallel to this model, however, is a largely neglected story: refugees themselves frequently mobilise to create community-based organisations or informal networks as alternative providers of social protection. They mobilise to provide sources of assistance to other refugees in areas as diverse as education, health, livelihoods, finance, and housing. Sometimes they create registered organisations, other times they mobilise through networks. They usually do so despite a lack of access to external funding or recognition. Sometimes, these informal sources of social protection may even be regarded by refugee recipients as more important than formal sources of assistance. Using a mixed methods approach based on ethnographic research and survey methods, we have examined four contrasting cases of refugee-led social protection in Kenya (Nairobi and Kakuma) and Uganda (Kampala and Nakivale). In our research, we explore what constrains and enables affected communities to be active providers of social protection. In this brief, we outline some of our findings and their implications for policy and practice. [PDF file 2.9MB]

  • Modern Pastoralism and Conservation: Old Problems, New Challenges

    30 July 2013

    Changing pastoral dynamics make knowledge of pastoralism vital to understanding landscapes, development and governance across dryland regions. Modern Pastoralism and Conservation: Old Problems, New Challenges presents new pastoral research from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The volume addresses the nature and viability of pastoralism in practice and examines current pastoral conditions in diverse locations. Pastoralists engage with changing climatic and environmental conditions whilst encountering policy, population and socio-economic challenges. Issues of transformation and sustainability are at the heart of the book, whose chapters highlight the contemporary practice of pastoralism in order to enhance understanding of this unique livelihood and lifestyle. The Commission on Nomadic Peoples (CNP), part of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Union Sciences (IUAES), unites researchers, practitioners, government and non-government organisations to further pastoral knowledge. As Commission members, the authors have had extensive interactions with and possess rich experience of diverse pastoral societies. This book’s chapters originate in papers presented at CNP sessions during the 2009 IUAES Congress in Kunming, China. Two perspectives were stressed: pastoralism in an international context and in the host nation, China. This approach identified both the impact of rapid development on nomadic practices and livelihoods in China and the country’s growing integration into the global pastoral research community. Modern Pastoralism and Conservation: Old Problems, New Challenges builds an international perspective on the wide-ranging approaches and challenges to traditional pastoralism in the twenty-first century.

  • Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East

    30 July 2013

    Dispossession and forced migration in the Middle East remain even today significant elements of contemporary life in the region. Dawn Chatty’s book traces the history of those who, as a reconstructed Middle East emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century, found themselves cut off from their homelands, refugees in a new world, with borders created out of the ashes of war and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. As an anthropologist, the author is particularly sensitive to individual experience and how these experiences have impacted on society as a whole from the political, social, and environmental perspectives. Through personal stories and interviews within different communities, she shows how some minorities, such as the Armenian and Circassian communities, have succeeded in integrating and creating new identities, whereas others, such as the Palestinians and the Kurds, have been left homeless within impermanent landscapes. The book is unusual in combining an ethnographic approach that analyzes the everyday experiences of refugees and migrants against the backdrop of the broad sweep of Mediterranean history. It is intended as an introduction for students in Middle East studies, history, political science, and anthropology and for anyone concerned with war and conflict in the region.

  • States of fragility

    3 September 2013

    Many states fail in their responsibilities to their citizens but those states which are fragile, failed or weak are particularly liable to render their citizens vulnerable. This latest issue of FMR includes 24 articles on fragile states and displacement, going behind the definitions, typologies and indicators to explore some of the concepts and realities, looking at a variety of cases and discussing some of the humanitarian and development responses. In addition this issue contains eight further articles on other aspects of displacement – Syrians in Lebanon, older displaced people, use of human rights treaties for asylum seekers, arts in refugee camps, and more.

  • Humanitarian innovation and refugee protection

    3 September 2013

    The global governance of humanitarianism has historically been state-centric but although a state-led and state-coordinated response is crucial and saves lives, by itself, it has limitations. In response to the challenges faced by the sector, this paper puts forward an alternative vision based on the role of ‘humanitarian innovation’. The paper explores the potential of humanitarian innovation to transform core elements of the global governance of humanitarianism in general and refugee protection in particular. It is structured in three broad sections. The first section provides a background to the work of UNHCR and the way in which the organisation is gradually incorporating a role for the private sector and innovation into its work. The second section explains what innovation is and how and why it is relevant to refugee protection. In the third section, the paper sets out a vision for humanitarian innovation within the refugee context based on integrating a ‘looking inwards’ approach that builds upon refugees own ideas and agency and a ‘looking outwards’ approach that seeks to identify outside partners and solution-holders whose products, processes and mentorship might nurture and incubate innovation emerging at the local and national levels.

  • Refugee livelihoods and the private sector: Ugandan case study

    3 September 2013

    Whilst the existing research highlights a number of important insights on refugees’ livelihood strategies, relatively few studies investigate the role of the private sector as a key instrument for enhancing refugees’ economic activities. Drawing from a case study of urban refugees in Uganda, this paper aims to understand their livelihood strategies as well as their engagement with the business sector. In addition, it attempts to identify relevant refugee livelihood opportunities in the private sector in Kampala. This paper is structured in eight sections. After the introduction, the second chapter provides contextual information about urban refugees in Uganda. The third chapter surveys the existing body of literature on refugee livelihoods, and the fourth chapter details the main findings on the livelihoods of self-settled refugees and their engagement with the business sector in Kampala. The fifth chapter outlines the livelihood challenges facing these refugees and the following chapter highlights potential business opportunities for refugees in the local private sector. The paper then draws some implications from this research and concludes by highlighting the potential of the private sector as a vehicle for improving refugee livelihoods.

  • Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement

    3 September 2013

    International treaties, conventions, and organizations to protect refugees were established in the aftermath of World War II to protect people escaping targeted persecution by their own governments. However, the nature of cross-border displacement has transformed dramatically since then. Such threats as environmental change, food insecurity, and generalized violence force massive numbers of people to flee states that are unable or unwilling to ensure their basic rights, as do conditions in failed and fragile states that make possible human rights deprivations. Because these reasons do not meet the legal understanding of persecution, the victims of these circumstances are not usually recognized as "refugees," preventing current institutions from ensuring their protection. In this book, Alexander Betts develops the concept of "survival migration" to highlight the crisis in which these people find themselves. Examining flight from three of the most fragile states in Africa—Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia—Betts explains variation in institutional responses across the neighboring host states. There is massive inconsistency. Some survival migrants are offered asylum as refugees; others are rounded up, detained, and deported, often in brutal conditions. The inadequacies of the current refugee regime are a disaster for human rights and gravely threaten international security. In Survival Migration, Betts outlines these failings, illustrates the enormous human suffering that results, and argues strongly for an expansion of protected categories.

  • The international refugee regime and issue linkage

    3 September 2013

    Book description: Global mobility refers to movements of people across international borders for any length of time or purpose. In addition to the world's 214 million migrants, there are more than two billion annual border crossings of tourists, students, business people and commuters who travel internationally for stays of less than a year. This volume considers "global mobility" as an alternative concept to "international migration" in order to gain insights into international cooperation on movements of people across international borders; examines a set of interacting global mobility regimes: the established international refugee regime, a latent but strengthening international travel regime and a non-existent but potential international labor migration regime; and explores the possibilities of increasing international cooperation, especially through linkages among these three issue areas.

  • Is deportation a form of forced migration?

    3 September 2013

    In this article I explore why, despite the fact that it seems to represent the epitome of forced migration, deportation (the quotidian practice of lawful expulsion) is generally ignored by forced migration scholars. My key claim is that deportation is implicitly deemed a legitimate form of forced migration. Forced migration is not simply a descriptive term; it is also typically an evaluative one. Deportation is treated differently because it does not violate the key principles of a liberal-statist world order. I begin this piece by explaining why deportation is a phenomenon of such significance as to warrant attention. I then examine the normative framework (liberal-statism) underlying (most) studies of forced migration. I conclude by arguing that, even if one accepts the moral validity of this framework, the boundaries between deportation and other types of forced migration are often blurred, challenging the assumption that deportation can safely be ignored by scholars.

  • Governance

    26 May 2016

    This theme examines normative and political perspectives on refugees and forced migration. Our research projects focus on the roles of NGOs, international institutions and governments in responding to disasters. The wider effects of refugee and forced migrant flows are also examined in relation to domestic, regional and world politics.

  • Drivers

    26 May 2016

    This theme examines the causes and consequences of forced migration. Our research projects aim to improve the ways in which the causes of forced migration are understood and addressed, and to minimise the negative consequences and maximise the positive opportunities arising from specific contexts of displacement.

  • Experiences

    26 May 2016

    This theme examines forced migration from the perspective of affected people. Our participatory research aims to improve response to humanitarian crises and protracted refugee situations by increasing understanding of the lived experiences of refugees and refugee communities.