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  • Refugees, exiles, and other forced migrants in the late Ottoman Empire

    3 September 2013

    Refugee studies rarely address historical matters; yet understanding ideas about sanctuary, refuge, and asylum have long roots in both Western and Eastern history and philosophy. Occasionally the Nansen era of the 1920s is examined or the opening years of, say, the Palestinian refugee crisis is addressed. But by and large the circumstances, experiences, and influences of refugees and exiles in modern history are ignored. This article attempts to contribute to an exploration of the past and to examine the responses of one State – the late Ottoman Empire – to the forced migration of millions of largely Muslim refugees and exiles from its contested borderland shared with Tzarist Russia into its southern provinces. The article focuses on one particular meta-ethnic group, the Circassians, and explores the humanitarian response to their movement both nationally and locally as well as their concerted drive for assisted self-settlement. The Circassians are one of many groups that were on the move at the end of the 19th century and their reception and eventual integration without assimilation in the region provide important lessons for contemporary humanitarianism.

  • The Kosovo crisis

    12 November 2013

    On 18 May 1998, the Refugee Studies Centre hosted a workshop titled ‘Preventing a Humanitarian Crisis in Kosovo’ which was funded by the Department for International Development and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The workshop provided a forum in which influential guests from the Balkans could exchange view on the current situation, and allowed participants to explore elements of possible political arrangements that take into account the human rights of the local Albanian population and the legitimate concerns of the Serb people and Yugoslav government. Two international principles guided most of the discussion throughout the day: the right to self-determination, and respect for the territorial integrity of states. Lastly, the workshop contributed to the launching of a research project at the Refugee Studies Centre to provide policymakers with analytical research that can contribute to attenuating the tensions in Kosovo and dealing with refugee outflows.

  • UNHCR and international refugee protection

    12 November 2013

    This paper was originally given as the opening and closing addresses of the Refugee Studies Centre’s Summer School in 1998. McNamara discusses fundamental policy dilemmas that UNHCR will confront in the twenty-first century and suggests possible directions for moving forward. Most of these issues became prominent during the post-Cold War period when UNHCR was expected to ensure reasonable standards of refugee protection in a context characterised by increased internal conflicts and difficulties with the state-centred institution of asylum. Goodwin-Gill follows on this theme with suggestions on how to make the ‘culture of protection’ relevant again. He offers his reflections on the possibility of adopting a principled and pragmatic approach to refugee protection.

  • Globalisation, humanitarianism and the erosion of refugee protection

    12 November 2013

    This paper was originally given as the first Harrell-Bond Lecture on 17 November 1999. It attempts to analyse the relationship between globalisation and humanitarianism to point to the underlying neo-liberal agenda and the selective concern with human rights. It examines the implications of new humanitarianism for the principles of refugee protection. It argues that the ideology of humanitarianism mobilises a range of meanings and practices to establish and sustain global relations of domination. In particular, humanitariansim manipulates the language of human rights to legitimise a range of dubious practices, including its selective defense. It concludes by offering some broad recommendations.

  • Sharing the security burden: towards the convergence of refugee protection and state security

    12 November 2013

    Efforts to ensure international protection for refugees have been repeatedly frustrated as states have expressed an increased reluctance to offer asylum. This paper proposes an approach premised both on the logic of burden sharing and on a more rigorous and comprehensive understanding of the relationship between refugees and security. Through the specific case of Tanzania, this paper argues that the broader goal of improving both the quality and quantity of protection afforded to victims of conflict-induced forced migration is best realised by recognising and addressing the legitimate security interests of states. Moreover, it illustrates that refugee protection cannot effectively take place in conditions of acute and protracted state insecurity.

  • Refugees on screen

    12 November 2013

    This paper examines the representation of refugees in the media, paying special regard to the visual image. It begins by considering some contemporary images of refugees in the press and looks for patterns and common elements in their construction and usage. It then identifies some historical archetypes that are used to portray the subject of forced migration and initially suggests that many ‘standard’ images of refugees conform to patterns already established in Christian iconography. It suggests that viewers find accord with such images and that they may evoke a familiar story-line. The paper then considers the ways that the refugee story has been structured in fiction film and the news media. The paper concludes with the identification of key topics for future research into media images of refugees.

  • Outside the protection of the law: the situation of irregular migrants in Europe

    12 November 2013

    The desire to understand the complex problem of irregular migration in Europe led the Jesuit Refugee Service in 1996 to commission three country studies on the issue from the UK, Germany and Spain. They were intended to provide a broad view of the problem of irregular migration across countries with diverse migration histories. This paper acts as a synthesis report, bringing together the findings of the three national reports to focus attention on the situation of migrants with irregular status in Europe as a whole. It aims to draw out common themes from the national studies that are applicable across all European Union countries. Moreover, it proffers a number of recommendations for policy responses towards irregular migrants at the European level. The policies advocated here are intended to form the basis of humane and rights-respecting responses by European governments to the phenomenon of irregular migration.

  • Children affected by armed conflict in South Asia: a review of trends and isues identified through secondary research

    12 November 2013

    This paper is a summary of the trends and issues identified through surveys of the impacts of conflict on children in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. This research was intended to identify existing information on war-affected and displaced children in these countries as well as the organisations that are working on these issues. It analyses both the macro conditions that contribute to political violence as well as the micro level impacts of these conflicts on children. Moreover, it points to knowledge gaps and methodological shortcoming. The findings will be used to establish priority areas for capacity-building and programmatic intervention, and key issues for policy and advocacy.

  • Toward local development and mitigating impoverishment in development-induced displacement and resettlement

    12 November 2013

    Why have guidelines failed to transform resettlement experiences? To answer this question, this study employs first-hand experience of resettlement at Manantali (Mali). It presents the most recent formulation of Cernea’s risks and reconstruction model and the World Bank guidelines, and looks at the ability of resettlement programs to address economic and power issues. This paper identifies places where improvements have occurred: social welfare, recognition of the importance of social capital as well as secure land access, attempts to make compensation more equitable and useful, and avoidance of unnecessary resettlement. Moreover, it examines areas where risks are known but resettlement practice remains problematic. This paper concludes with a discussion of the potential problems involved in moving from an economic approach to a more explicitly political-economic one.

  • Displacement, resistance and the critique of development: from the grass-roots to the global

    12 November 2013

    This paper explores the ways the rights, claims and visions of the development process that are expressed in the complex and multidimensional forms of resistance to development-induced displacement and resettlement become not only means to refuse relocation or claim compensation or better conditions, but also help to initiate and become part of a multi-level and multi-sectoral effort to critique and reconceptualise the development process.