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  • ‘We Need to Talk about Dublin’: responsibility under the Dublin System as a blockage to asylum burden-sharing in the European Union

    23 December 2014

    The possibility of burden-sharing in the distribution of responsibility for processing asylum claims across the European Union (EU) seems to come up against a blockage when weighed against the principles and institutional practice underlying the Dublin system, the EU mechanism laying down the criteria determining the Member State responsible for processing an asylum claim. Understanding that blockage invites one to critically engage with the reasons why Member States have been reluctant to question Dublin as a policy option throughout the evolution of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). This paper explores this question by evaluating the Dublin system as a carrier of embedded interests which make it less likely for Member States to allocate processing responsibility on the basis of burden-sharing. It examines the Dublin system’s objectives, and its appropriateness in delivering them, under three tenets: deflection, efficiency and control. The paper submits that the mechanism’s peculiar interpretation of processing responsibility accounts for its failure to deflect asylum claims by creating incentives for defection from the allocation criteria, as well as by prompting courts to halt transfers to external border Member States intended to receive the bulk of applications. The efficiency objectives of rapid processing of asylum claims and prevention of multiple applications and ‘asylum shopping’ are also not appropriately met, as the Dublin system causes significant delays in the processing of applications and provides asylum seekers with incentives to engage in irregular secondary movement. This built-in failure seems to reveal the symbolic objective of asserting control over entrants in their territory as the primary interest behind Member States’ support for Dublin.

  • Humanitarian innovation and refugee protection

    7 January 2016

    About the Book: This book seeks to think differently about what we recognize as "global institutions" and how they could work better for the people who need them most. By so doing, the contributions show that there is a group of institutions that influence enough people’s lives in significant enough ways through what they protect, provide or enable that they should be considered, together, as global institutions. The United Nations, the World Bank, the internet as well as private military and security companies leave a heavy footprint on the social, political and economic landscape of the planet. We are all aware in different ways of the existence of these global institutions but their importance in achieving change in the twenty-first century is often underestimated. In this book, contributors seek to explain what associations exist between change in global institutions and the reduction of poverty and inequality as well as the achievement of security and justice. The work makes sense of processes of change and identifies the most significant obstacles that exist, offering suggestions for future action that will be of interest to students and scholars of global institutions.

  • Open wallet, closed doors: exploring Japan’s low acceptance of asylum seekers

    7 January 2016

    Even as forced displacement has reached an unprecedented scale globally, with war in Syria, violence and political instability in parts of Africa and the Middle East, and persecution in Asia and South America sending millions fleeing within and beyond their countries, Japan has remained largely untouched. While Japan in 2014 witnessed a record number of asylum applications since its 1981 ratification of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the numbers remain small and the approval rate is extremely modest. Of the 5,000 individuals who filed for asylum in 2014, just 11 were granted refugee status—a 0.2 percent acceptance rate. In total, Japan was home to nearly 12,500 refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons as of December 2014, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Asylum seekers with pending applications for refugee status comprised the vast majority. While its acceptance of refugees and asylum seekers is very limited, Japan is one of the most generous countries in terms of financial contributions to support international humanitarian efforts. The world’s third largest economy, Japan in 2014 was the fourth largest donor to UNHCR, providing more than US $181 million. And Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged a further $1.6 billion at the UN General Assembly in September 2015 to fund new assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons in Syria and Iraq, as well as peace-building efforts in the Middle East and Africa. Despite its financial generosity, Japan has gained a reputation as a closed country to refugees….

  • Economic reintegration of returnees in Liberia

    7 January 2016

    Since the early 2000s, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization has been implementing economic recovery programmes for returnees in certain post-conflict countries. It remains uncertain, however, to what extent these training programmes have been instrumental in returnees’ economic reintegration. Liberia has gradually been recovering from the social and economic damage caused by fourteen years of brutal civil war, between 1989 and 2003, which forcibly displaced about 700,000 Liberians outside the country. A significant number of Liberians repatriated following the final ceasefire agreement in 2003; and in 2012, when the UN High Commissioner for Refugees invoked the Cessation Clause, tens of thousands of the remaining refugees returned. Liberia’s limited infrastructure and weak economic foundation, however, have caused concern about its capacity to successfully integrate the new arrivals.

  • Book Review: Displacement economies in Africa: paradoxes of crisis and creativity

    7 January 2016

    Given the scarcity of conceptual work on the economic lives of displaced populations, Displacement Economies in Africa: Paradoxes of Crisis and Creativity, edited by Amanda Hammar, is a welcome contribution. The main question of this collection is: What does displacement generate in terms of economies? As the subtitle of the book suggests, the concept of ‘paradox’ is key to unpacking this question. While displacement often dismantles people’s pre-existing capital, networks, and expertise, a range of new relationships, socio-economic spaces, and creative strategies can also emerge from experiences of dislocation. Drawing upon empirical studies across Sub-Saharan Africa, this book sheds light on these paradoxical simultaneities – destruction and creation, loss and gain, despair and hope, and confinement and mobility – that human displacement produces in different contexts.

  • The Migration–Displacement Nexus: Patterns, Processes, and Policies

    12 August 2014

    The “migration-displacement nexus” is a new concept intended to capture the complex and dynamic interactions between voluntary and forced migration, both internally and internationally. Besides elaborating a new concept, this volume has three main purposes: the first is to focus empirical attention on previously understudied topics, such as internal trafficking and the displacement of foreign nationals, using case studies including Afghanistan and Iraq; the second is to highlight new challenges, including urban displacement and the effects of climate change; and the third is to explore gaps in current policy responses and elaborate alternatives for the future.

  • Years of Conflict: Adolescence, Political Violence and Displacement

    12 August 2014

    Recent years have witnessed a significant growth of interest in the consequences of political violence and displacement for the young. However, when speaking of “children” commentators have often taken the situation of those in early and middle childhood as representative of all young people under eighteen years of age. As a consequence, the specific situation of adolescents negotiating the processes of transition towards social adulthood amidst conditions of violence and displacement is commonly overlooked. Years of Conflict provides a much-needed corrective. Drawing upon perspectives from anthropology, psychology, and media studies as well as the insights of those involved in programmatic interventions, it describes and analyses the experiences of older children facing the challenges of daily life in settings of conflict, post-conflict and refuge. Several authors also reflect upon methodological issues in pursuing research with young people in such settings. The accounts span the globe, taking in Liberia, Afghanistan, South Africa, Peru, Jordan, UK/Western Europe, Eastern Africa, Iran, USA, and Colombia.

  • (Re)constructing Armenia in Lebanon and Syria: Ethno-Cultural Diversity and the State in the Aftermath of a Refugee Crisis

    12 August 2014

    For almost nine decades, since their mass-resettlement to the Levant in the wake of the Genocide and First World War, the Armenian communities of Lebanon and Syria appear to have successfully maintained a distinct identity as an ethno-culturally diverse group, in spite of representing a small non-Arab and Christian minority within a very different, mostly Arab and Muslim environment. The author shows that, while in Lebanon the state has facilitated the development of an extensive and effective system of Armenian ethno-cultural preservation, in Syria the emergence of centralizing, authoritarian regimes in the 1950s and 1960s has severely damaged the autonomy and cultural diversity of the Armenian community. Since 1970, the coming to power of the Asad family has contributed to a partial recovery of Armenian ethno-cultural diversity, as the community seems to have developed some form of tacit arrangement with the regime. In Lebanon, on the other hand, the Armenian community suffered the consequences of the recurrent breakdown of the consociational arrangement that regulates public life. In both cases the survival of Armenian cultural distinctiveness seems to be connected, rather incidentally, with the continuing ‘search for legitimacy’ of the state.