Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
  • From returnees to citizens? The case of minority repatriations to Bosnia and Herzegovina

    29 September 2016

    How can we explain the variation in reintegration outcomes of forced migrants at the local level after mass displacement? Examining the case of minority repatriations to Bosnia and Herzegovina, I argue that the loss of assets, such as land or housing, and some form of representation in local politics as a result of displacement are critical in answering this question. Large-scale displacement frequently entails seizing political and economic power from the displaced and concentrating it in the hands of a small elite. Based on field research in the municipality of Prijedor, I argue that reintegration thus essentially constitutes a process of redistributing political and economic power to the benefit of returnees. The key mechanisms of change facilitating reintegration that I identify in this study are intra-elite competition, international coercion, and an erosion of the dominating elite’s power base. The political-economy approach that I advance in this study has implications for both repatriation theory and policy. First, the introduction of a wider set of causal mechanisms furthers our understanding of the process of repatriation and why it takes place. Second, it cautions against assuming that eradicating the causes of flight and restoring some form of protection against their re-occurrence will suffice to facilitate reintegration after large-scale displacement.

  • The global governance of crisis migration

    13 February 2014

    There is no coherent or unified global governance framework for the different areas that have been subsumed under the umbrella of ‘crisis migration’. This is not to say that when new challenges or labels arise new institution-building is necessarily required. Addressing emerging protection gaps such as those related to crisis migration requires creativity in making existing institutions work better across implementation, institutionalisation and international agreements.

  • Civitas, polis, and urbs: reimagining the refugee camp as the city

    12 December 2013

    The refugee camp, positioned between formality and informality, mobility and immobility, permanence and impermanence, is a space of paradox. In the process of contextualizing this paradox, the academic literature often juxtaposes the “camp (as exception) and the city (as norm) in contradiction with one another” (Sanyal 2010:879). As these tent cities develop into urban environments, there is a need to evaluate the urbanity of the camp space by considering the ways in which refugee spaces come to take on a hybrid nature where “refugeeness and agency have worked simultaneously to create ‘spaces of exception’ that are able to transgress the boundaries of place and non-place” (880). Drawing on a Lefebvrian conceptualization of space, I establish an analytical approach to the refugee camp “in which the city [is] a political space for claiming rights for social groups” (Isin 2000:13). I argue that reimagining the refugee camp as an urban space allows for the possibility of thinking of it as a space in which particular rights, namely the right to the city, can be conceived and realized.

  • The duty to be generous (karam): Alternatives to rights-based asylum in the Middle East

    26 July 2017

    Abstract: The international standard of providing protection to a category of people who have crossed state borders and fit the legal definition of ‘refugee’ is a rights-based construction fashionable in public discourse at present. Middle Eastern constructions of duty-based obligations to the guest, stranger, and person-in-need are, however, less well understood. This article explores the disconnect between international rights-based protection approaches to refuge and duty-based asylum (karam) commonly accepted in Middle Eastern societies. Returning to an exploration of Marcel Mauss’ Essay on the Gift, it asks whether we are abrogating our moral responsibilities when we permit a ‘rights-based approach’ to asylum to prevail. In other words, when we mainstream ‘rights’ do we repress our human urge to provide refuge to those in need? Should we perhaps be looking for a more holistic engagement with humanitarian assistance and delivery that brings together a duty-based responsibility with a ‘rights-based’ approach?

  • A slightly better shelter?

    6 March 2018

    On January 26, 2017, the IKEA refugee shelter was declared the worldwide Design of the Year in a unanimous decision. When I interviewed one of the jurors about the process I was told that they’d chosen the “obvious winner”: the IKEA shelter was high profile, it had featured widely in the media, it was a positive story with a clear social purpose, and it offered a practical solution to the so-called “refugee crisis,” one of the most significant issues of the previous twelve months. The London Design Museum has been awarding the “Design of the Year” for a decade now, celebrating examples that “promote or deliver change, enable access, extend design practice, or capture the spirit of the year” (Beazley 2017). The IKEA refugee shelter seemed to match all of these aims, claiming to be modular, sustainable, long lasting, recyclable, easily assembled, affordable, and scalable. It was installed on the Greek islands to shelter newly arrived refugees in 2015, and it came with the backing of the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, who purchased 15,000 units for distribution around the world.

  • 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.

  • Sexual orientation and gender identity and the protection of forced migrants

    12 November 2013

    Around the world, people face abuse, arbitrary arrest, extortion, violence, severe discrimination and lack of official protection because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This latest issue of FMR includes 26 articles on the abuse of rights of forced migrants who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex. Authors discuss both the challenges faced and examples of good practice in securing protection for LGBTI forced migrants.

  • Preventing displacement

    12 November 2013

    Preventing displacement is obviously a worthwhile objective. Being displaced puts people at a higher risk of being both impoverished and unable to enjoy their human rights. Such a situation is worth preventing – but not at any cost. FMR 41 includes a major feature on ‘Preventing displacement’ plus a range of articles on other subjects such as North Koreans in China, East Africans adapting to the UK, the Rohingya, slum evictions in Tanzania, the Nansen Initiative and a new methodology for assessing the costs and impacts of displacement.