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  • 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.

  • Refugee economies in Kenya: preliminary study in Nairobi and Kakuma camp

    10 November 2016

    This working paper is based on preliminary fieldwork in Kenya conducted as part of ‘Refugee Economies’ research led by the Humanitarian Innovation Project based at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC). The research strand of refugee economies at the RSC is driven by an imminent need to better understand and support the economic lives of refugees. Given today’s daunting challenges, with more people displaced than at any time since the Second World War, it is imperative to rethink refugee assistance and to seek ways to promote refugees’ economic potential. Pioneering work has already taken place, drawing attention to and describing key aspects of the economies that exist in refugee camps and urban areas. However, more theoretical approaches are required. Against this backdrop, the concept of refugee economies has been developed to nurture a better understanding of refugees’ economic lives and to explain variation in economic outcomes for refugees (Betts et al., forthcoming 2016). Between 2013 and 2014, the Humanitarian Innovation Project completed a pilot case study across four research sites in Uganda. Although Uganda’s treatment of refugees is not perfect, it does offer refugees a relatively high level of socio-economic freedom through its Self-Reliance Strategy. For comparative purposes, we have selected Kenya as our second case study country, since it neighbours Uganda but has more stringent refugee policies that restrict socio-economic freedom. Through a comparative analysis of Uganda and Kenya, our ultimate aim is to deepen our understanding of the economic lives of refugees vis-à-vis different regulatory environments and to accumulate more data on variation in economic consequences for refugees. We conducted initial research in Kakuma refugee camp and Nairobi in March and April 2016. This initial fieldwork focused on the most prevalent nationalities of refugees in each site, namely Somali and Congolese refugees in Nairobi, and South Sudanese, Somali and Congolese refugees in Kakuma camp. Given the limited duration of the fieldwork, its focus was on gathering qualitative data primarily from Somali, Congolese and South Sudanese refugees, exploring the following two research questions: 1. What types of livelihoods strategies are employed by refugees living in Nairobi and Kakuma refugee camp? 2. What are the potential factors that differentiate refugees’ economic lives from local host communities and amongst different refugee populations?

  • Reflections on Reading Tarakhel

    21 January 2015

    Tarakhel v Switzerland is the latest Grand Chamber ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on Dublin returns. Its contribution to human rights protection is to reassert well-established principles, quite minimal ones the authors would suggest, which prevent states from returning asylum-seekers where there are substantial grounds to believe there is a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment. The contribution of the case is to reject erroneous approaches which developed under both ECHR and EU law, in particular in the wake of the NS/ME3 judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as to the significance of the reference to ‘systemic deficiencies’, and what sorts of evidence was required to rebut the presumption of safety accorded to Dublin states. The Tarakhel judgment of the ECtHR has put an end to that uncertainty. The ECtHR holds that there is no additional requirement of ‘systemic deficiencies’. Instead, we find reasserted the duty to do ‘thorough and individualised’ assessment, and suspend removal if there are substantial grounds to believe there is a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment. In addition, we argue for a fundamental rethink of the Dublin Regulation. Moving away from coercion in the allocation of responsibility for refugee claims is imperative.

  • Survival migration: a new protection framework

    16 September 2014

    Book description: Refugee law is both conceived as a response to the absence of human rights, and is one of the most powerful means by which human rights are restored. This comprehensive collection of leading scholarship examines the strengths of, and challenges faced by, international refugee law over its nearly century-long existence. Following an original introduction by Professor Hathaway, Volume I addresses the questions of the political and ethical reasons that states have agreed to implement refugee protection in international law; the conceptual boundaries of refugee status; and the systems and structures by which refugee rights are implemented. Volume II takes up the nature of contemporary challenges to the refugee law regime, and examines leading proposals to revitalize and reform international refugee law in order to sustain its vitality in modern circumstances. This topical volume will be of great interest to researchers and scholars in both law and related fields, as well as to lawyers and other practitioners working on asylum and related human rights issues.

  • The end of refugee life?

    16 September 2014

    Refugees are people who were forced to flee from their country of origin due to potential or imminent threats to their physical safety, security, liberty, or dignity. These displaced people seek international protection and are rendered refugee status to stay in exile because they are unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to such threats. Their refugee status, however, is not permanently granted. According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, when the circumstances under which they were recognized as refugees no longer exist, the “cessation clause” of the refugee status is invoked by the international refugee regime. For example, the cessation clause has been invoked for refugees from Angola, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda in recent years. Nevertheless, little is known about what actually happens to refugees and how they respond when their refugee status comes to an end.