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  • Innovation and refugees (supplement)

    16 September 2014

    Innovation around displacement is not new. Yet the imperfections of current approaches are obvious in the challenges that we continue to face. By looking at old problems in new ways and by seeking and fostering innovation itself, new products can be developed, new ways of working can be devised and new modalities and paradigms can emerge to make the lives of displaced people better, more sustainable and less risky. These 11 articles reflect some of the thinking behind humanitarian innovation for displaced people, and some of its current manifestations.

  • Animal reintroduction projects in the Middle East: conservation without a human face (In: Conservation and Mobile Indigenous Peoples: Displacement, Forced Settlement, and Sustainable Development)

    12 December 2013

    Conservation in the Arabian Peninsula, unlike Africa and elsewhere, does not have a long history. In other parts of the world, ideas and policies for the 'preservation of nature' and the conservation of plant and animal species were exported with the colonial administrations of, mainly, France and Great Britain. The Arabian Peninsula, however, was never a 'colony' of a Western power. Its neo-colonial period, which might have served to develop such an interest, was very short, and only lasted a few decades between the ends of the two World Wars. In addition, its mainly arid land mass was not suitable as a wooded reserve. Furthermore, it had few species of large mammals, making it unattractive for the development of wildlife reserves. Conservation and eco-tourism were therefore largely irrelevant in the Arabian Peninsula for most of the twentieth century. Only as the millennium began to draw to a close did a particular form of conservation - animal reintroduction - manifest itself in the region. Without the colonial baggage most other parts of the world had to carry, these conservation projects should have been able to avoid the mistakes and pitfalls that plagued similar efforts in other regions. That, sadly, has not been the case.

  • Introduction

    13 December 2013

    Book description: Refugees lie at the heart of world politics. The causes and consequences of, and responses to, human displacement are intertwined with many of the core concerns of International Relations. Yet, scholars of International Relations have generally bypassed the study of refugees, and Forced Migration Studies has generally bypassed insights from International Relations. This volume therefore represents an attempt to bridge the divide between these disciplines, and to place refugees within the mainstream of International Relations. Drawing together the work and ideas of a combination of the world's leading and emerging International Relations scholars, the volume considers what ideas from International Relations can offer our understanding of the international politics of forced migration. The insights draw from across the theoretical spectrum of International Relations from realism to critical theory to feminism, covering issues including international cooperation, security, and the international political economy. They engage with some of the most challenging political and practical questions in contemporary forced migration, including peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction, and statebuilding. The result is a set of highly original chapters, yielding not only new concepts of wider relevance to International Relations but also insights for academics, policy-makers, and practitioners working on forced migration in particular and humanitarianism in general.

  • Rethinking durable solutions

    13 December 2013

    Report description: The majority of today’s refugees have lived in exile for far too long, restricted to camps or eking out a meagre existence in urban centres throughout the developing world. Most subsist in a state of limbo, and are often dependent on others to find solutions to their plight. Their predicament is similar to that of the tens of thousands of refugees who stagnated in camps in Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. The High Commissioner for Refugees at the time, Gerrit van Heuven Goedhart, called those camps ‘black spots on the map of Europe’ that should ‘burn holes in the consciences of all those privileged to live in better conditions’. If the situation persisted, he said, the problems of refugees would fester and his office would be reduced to ‘simply administering human misery’. The issue of displaced persons in Europe was finally settled some 20 years after the end of the Second World War; today’s protracted refugee crises, however, show no signs of being resolved in the near future.

  • Towards a soft law framework for the protection of vulnerable irregular migrants

    13 December 2013

    Since the 1980s, an increasing number of people have crossed international borders outside of formal, regularised migration channels, whether by land, air or sea. Policy debates on these kinds of movements have generally focused on security and control, to the neglect of a focus on rights. In a range of situations, though, irregular migrants, who fall outside of the protection offered by international refugee law and UNHCR, may have protection needs and, in some cases, an entitlement to protection under international human rights law. Such protection needs may result from conditions in the country of origin or as a result of circumstances in the host or transit countries. However, this article argues that, despite the existence of international human rights norms that should, in theory, protect such people, there remains a fundamental normative and institutional gap in the international system. Rather than requiring new hard law treaties to fill the gap, the article argues that a ‘soft law’ framework should be developed to ensure the protection of vulnerable irregular migrants, based on two core elements: firstly, the consolidation and application of existing international human rights norms into sets of guiding principles for different groups; secondly, improved mechanisms for inter-agency collaboration to ensure implementation of these norms and principles. The article suggests that learning from the precedent of developing the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and its corresponding institutional framework, could be particularly instructive in this regard.

  • The international relations of the 'new' extra-territorial approaches to refugee protection

    13 December 2013

    During 2003 there was an immense amount of debate about the possibility of states adopting extraterritorial approaches to asylum processing and refugee protection, and about such policies’ compatibility with international refugee and human rights law. The debate has centred on two central policy initiatives: the so-called “UK Proposals” and UNHCR’s “Convention Plus.” It has so far focused primarily on the practical and legal consequences of these initiatives. What has been less clear is any explanation of the UK’s (and other supportive states’) motivation in aspiring to de-territorialize refugee protection and of UNHCR’s strategy in the evolving consultations. After clarifying the conceptual and political relationship between the two sets of proposals, the article explores the motivation and international relations underlying them, from the perspectives of the UK Government and UNHCR.

  • Asylum Policy

    13 December 2013

    This policy primer examines some of the key questions underlying the UK’s asylum policy, focusing on the challenges and tensions between protecting human rights and ensuring that immigration controls are not undermined.

  • Who should be included? Non-citizens, conflict and the constitution of the citizenry

    13 December 2013

    Book description: Violent conflict in multiethnic societies in the developing world is a pre-eminent problem of the twenty-first century. Drawing on original quantitative and qualitative research, this book shows that horizontal inequalities among religious or ethnic groups, in political, social, economic or cultural dimensions, are an important catalyst of such conflicts. The contributors identify policies to reduce horizontal inequalities and argue that such policies should now be routinely incorporated into the development agenda. Providing a major contribution to current debates on the prevention of conflict, this book will interest all those concerned with policy in multiethnic societies.

  • Introduction

    13 December 2013

    This special issue presents scholarly research which, in distinctive ways, explores the intersection of political theory, comparative politics, international relations and the study of forced migration. The outcome of an international workshop hosted by the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford in May 2007, this volume features individual research trajectories focused on a range of important issues, including asylum and deportation, migration control and regional cooperation, internal displacement and sovereignty, in productive encounters with theory and method. Read together, the scholarly articles collected here also span the traditional divide between ‘North’ and ‘South’, including case studies from Australia, Canada, and Europe, as well as from South Africa, Guatemala, and Malaysia.

  • Special Issue: Government and Opposition

    13 December 2013

    This special issue presents scholarly research which, in distinctive ways, explores the intersection of political theory, comparative politics, international relations and the study of forced migration. The outcome of an international workshop hosted by the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford in May 2007, this volume features individual research trajectories focused on a range of important issues, including asylum and deportation, migration control and regional cooperation, internal displacement and sovereignty, in productive encounters with theory and method. Read together, the scholarly articles collected here also span the traditional divide between ‘North’ and ‘South’, including case studies from Australia, Canada, and Europe, as well as from South Africa, Guatemala, and Malaysia.